Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chico going back to Harrisburg

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Matt Chico allowed two runs over five innings but still was demoted.
Despite his strong start this afternoon, Matt Chico is headed back to the minors.

The Nationals informed the left-hander he'll be optioned back to Class AA Harrisburg following today's 5-4 victory over the Marlins. Chico, who was formally called up this morning to take John Lannan's spot in the rotation, allowed just two runs on six hits in five innings in his spot start.

He wasn't surprised to learn of his fate after the game and said he arrived at Nationals Park today figuring he'd only get this one outing.

"I figured there was a 95 percent chance that was it," he said. "I tried not to think about it. I know I'll be pitching again in five days somewhere."

The Nationals haven't announced a corresponding roster move, but they're likely to add another reliever, perhaps left-hander Jesse English.

Chico still could, in theory, return to start Thursday against the Rockies. If Lannan feels any discomfort during his bullpen side session Monday, manager Jim Riggleman said the club will shut him down. If Lannan goes on the DL, the organization is allowed to recall Chico less than 10 days after his demotion.

Chico's return to the majors nearly two years since his last appearance got off to a rough start. He plunked Marlins leadoff hitter Cameron Maybin with his first pitch of the game. But he bounced back to retire the side and wound up carrying a shutout into the sixth inning before allowing two runs.

"That first pitch, all the nerves started coming back," he said. "I felt like my first big-league game again."

Said manager Jim Riggleman: "To hit the first hitter and get himself composed and pitch as good as he did for the next five innings was pretty impressive."

Chico led the Nationals' pitching staff with 31 starts as a rookie in 2007, but he was demoted after opening the 2008 season 0-6 and then learned he needed Tommy Johnn surgery on his left elbow. He returned to pitch last summer, making three starts at Class A Hagerstown and 12 starts at Harrisburg. He opened this season back at Harrisburg, making six starts before today's promotion.

"It seems like forever since I've been up here," he said. "To get back up here, it's kind of a milestone for me."

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Poor Chico. One start and gone.

ckstevenson said...

Good for Matt, hope he dominates at AA, is quickly sent up to Rochester and makes himself a viable candidate to be called up. He's a fighter, so there's a good chance we'll see him in DC again...

Anonymous said...

why would he be sent to Rochester?

greg said...

i think he meant syracuse.

Mr. Doggett said...

is Jesse English really the only answer we have to help the bullpen?

Aeoliano said...

No, it looks like its Doug Slaten, 17 K's, 1 BB, in 17 innings and 11 games. 0.00 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. Four HLD's, 2 GF.

Aeoliano said...

I think Chico was returned to Harrisburg?

Grandstander said...

English is on the 40-man, but Slaten has been so utterly dominant, he has to be worth consideration here. There are definitely a few guys I wouldn't mind see knocked off the 40-man to make room for Slaten *cough*balester*cough*

Souldrummer said...

Slaten's right handed, though correct? The issue is that they are using Burnett as a LOOGY because he's their only lefty when they would like to try to expand his role in middle relief. They're going to call Jesse English to try to be the LOOGY basically.

Anonymous8 said...

Matt Chico, thanks for today!

The Nats certainly need 2 Lefties in the 'pen when they face the Phillies and not sure it is a priority today.

I was thinking MC was sent back to bring back the Morse Code!

Souldrummer said...

@all
Just saw somewhere that it likely is going to be Slaten getting called up and that he's lefthanded. Sorry about my earlier post.

David said...

With apologizes to Jose Feliciano

Chico, don't be discouraged,
The Nats ain't so hard to understand.
Chico, if you try now,
I know that you can lend a helping lefty hand.

Because there's good in everyone
And a new day has begun
You can see the morning sun if you try.

And I know, things will be better
Oh yes they will for Chico and the Nats
Yes they will for Chico and the Nats.

Anonymous said...

Why just apologize to Jose while insulting all of us with that dreck?

Anonymous said...

Does Lannan have pictures of Rizzo in dress or something? Why is he still here, he is terrible this year!

Anonymous said...

If Lannan makes the start Thursday, let's endure it. After the loss, maybe that will get rid of him. We will blame Riggleman for that loss though but that's Ok. Riggleman will be "taking one for the team".

Sunderland said...

Anon 12:27 & Anon 8:31
I'm glad you guys aren't building a baseball club. You'd run out of players by June!
Lannan has been the best we had for 2 years, and during that time was certainly good enough to start for any club in MLB.
Elbow discomfort, a few bad starts, and you're done with him?
You're the same guys that wanted to cut Olsen in late March, who thought it was crazy that Livan was being given a chance, who thought Guzman should get cut his arm didn't let him play much defense in mid-March.

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