Saturday, May 28, 2011

Maya likely to start Sunday

Something unusual will occur Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park: A pitcher who wasn't on the Opening Day roster will start against the Padres, the first time that's happened this season.

With Tom Gorzelanny going on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation, the Nationals finally find themselves needing to promote a starter from their farm system. Though a formal announcement wasn't made Saturday, right-hander Yunesky Maya is expected to be recalled from Class AAA Syracuse.

The Nationals had been the majors' lone remaining club to use only five starting pitchers so far this season, a rare display of consistency from a franchise that has seen plenty of rotation turnover through the years.

Never before had the Nationals made it this deep into a season needing only five starters. In fact, they've never made it through a season using less than 11 starters and last season used 14. The fact Livan Hernandez, John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Jordan Zimmermann and Gorzelanny all made it this far without missing a start hasn't been lost on team officials.

"That's big," manager Jim Riggleman said. "That doesn't happen anymore in today's world, unfortunately. Very few teams go weeks, never mind we've gone a couple months, with the same five guys making every start, and going pretty deep in the game every time."

There were no shortage of candidates at Syracuse to replace Gorzelanny in the rotation. Maya (1-4, 3.79 ERA in nine starts) would beat out left-handers Ross Detwiler (3-4, 5.77) and Tom Milone (3-3, 3.78) and right-hander Brad Meyers (6-2, 2.72, 57-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 10 combined starts between Syracuse and Class AA Harrisburg).

Ultimately, Maya makes the most sense because of his past big-league experience, current spot on the 40-man roster and the fact he can start Sunday on five days' rest.

The Nationals don't expect Gorzelanny's DL stint to be a long one. The left-hander said he experienced no arm issues until Tuesday, when he tried to play catch the day after starting in Milwaukee.

"Just felt more like I hyper-extended my elbow, or one of those things," he said. "Every time I hit the extension point, it was a little sore."

Gorzelanny did throw again Thursday, and though his arm felt better than the previous time, it still wasn't 100 percent. An enhanced MRI revealed no structural damage, only inflammation of the elbow, but the Nationals decided to take the cautious route and put the left-hander on the shelf for two weeks.

Riggleman said the club was planning to give Gorzelanny a break at some point this season, as they did with Zimmermann in skipping over his turn once earlier this month.

"We try to do it with just about everyone anyways," the manager said. "So while he's got a little tenderness, this is the time to do it."

Gorzelanny has dealt with elbow pain before. After a breakthrough 2007 season in which he won 14 games for the Pirates, he returned the following spring having gained weight and reporting soreness in his elbow. He wound up on the DL during spring training with what was termed "minor inflammation" and struggled the entire season.

"I just hid it and said, 'I'm fine, I'll throw,'" he said. "It was a bad decision on my part, and I paid for it for a couple years -- physically for that year, but mentally for the next couple years. It happened again, but I'm a little bit smarter now, a little more of an adult now, just want to take care of it."

14 comments:

Anonymous8 said...

When will they use a sixth starting pitcher for the first time?
Dave Sheinin -- April 22 at Pirates
Pete Kerzel -- April 23 at Pirates
Adam Kilgore -- April 30 vs. Giants
Craig Heist -- May 1 vs. Giants
Ben Goessling -- May 5 at Phillies
Mark Zuckerman -- May 8 at Marlins
Bill Ladson -- May 15 vs. Marlins
Amanda Comak -- June 1 vs. Phillies

Anonymous said...

"We try to do it with just about everyone anyways," the manager said. "So while he's got a little tenderness, this is the time to do it."

Everyone? Really?

Anonymous said...

Looks like Amanda Comak wins this one.

Rabbit said...

After Saturday's loss, look at the BIRGHT SIDE....in a few more losses we may have another one game winning streak!! O...M...G...are they bad. And I have tickets for Monday. (a gift!?)

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

He may be wooly. Young arms do get wooly, because of all the stress.

Anonymous said...

@sec3: wolly bully. Prolly another Ladson bad-ass-tune.

slade said...

My 4 year old asked me why Matt Stairs is still on the team....you would guess if a 4 year old could figure it out then......oh well you know the rest

Get Some Players said...

In the meantime, one of the best pitchers in the minors (Meyers) is not given the call. And why? I bet it has something to do with money.

Grandstander said...

Meyers isn't getting the call because:

A) He's made only 4 starts at AAA this year.

B) 2 of those starts weren't all that great

C) He's not on the 40-man roster

D) He pitched 2 days ago

LAC has nothing to do with this. Maya makes perfect sense because he's already on the 40-man, has ML experience and it's his turn in the rotation anyway.

My only issue is i hope they release Stairs to get him up here and keep BallyStar as an extra arm in the pen.

Doc said...

@ Get Some Players said: Yeah money, not talent.
Otherwise it would be Meyers.

If Detweiler's stuff hadn't gone south, he'd have been ahead any SP at 'Scuse.

I also think that Steve McCatty deserves some credit for the pitching staff this year.

Anonymous said...

Craig Stammen is 5-2 as a starter for Syracuse this season. In his last 4 starts, he has won each time. He has shown consistency all season, unlike Detwiler or Maya, and certainly has major-league experience. Maya should not have been called up over Stammen when he can only boast one win and an overall lack of consistency.

Section 222 said...

The Nats starting pitching has been a nice surprise this year. It probably can't last, but imagine what our record would be if it had been as bad as most expected it would be. I for one am excited to see Maya get another shot. He has the potential to be a decent 4 or 5 starter.

I've been catching up on Mark's posts and have a few thoughts that I'll leave here. First, whether or not Werth was being truthful in explaining his comments about changes being needed (doubtful), I'll be glad if his explanation makes the controversy he stoked go away. His original comments certainly didn't help the team, even if Reid's column in the Post was an overreaction. Best move for Werth was to back off. If he had to dump on the media to make his escape, so be it. They're just doing their jobs. Now let's hope he concentrates on doing his and does it better.

He's right though about Teddy needing to win. The Prez race is tired and boring. If the Entertainment Committee gets the message from Werth after ignoring the obvious for several years, then good for him.

LaRoche. Oh my. Readers of my comments are probably tired of hearing that I've had labrum surgery and it's a bear to recover from. Has anyone ever heard of someone coming back from that surgery in under a year? Nope, didn't think so. If LaRoche thinks he can play through this season, have the surgery in October and be back for spring training he is smoking something. If he wants to be recovered by ST in '12, he needs to have that surgery yesterday and pray. It won't work, but still. The Nats medical staff is once again falling down on the job (what else is new, see FJB's recent post) if they've told him he can wait a few more weeks before deciding whether he'll do the surgery. Adam, we hardly knew ya.

Finally, yesterday's game. It's time for Stairs to go. If Riggleman really had confidence "that Matt would get it done," he was the only one in Nats Park or watching on TV that did. I don't think even Stairs had confidence. He's lost at the plate, always swinging late if he's swinging at all. Sending him up in that situation was almost an admission of defeat. As is keeping him on the roster.

Anonymous said...

New pitcher today?? Well unless he throws a no hitter and SD makes 3 errors should be another loss for the Expos. Hey, I heard Matt Stairs is leading off and playing centerfield today.

Anonymous said...

Umm, Anon 8:55, what is this lack of consistency with Maya you speak of? Here are his lines from his starts.

Apr 7 - 4.2 inn, 8 hits, 5er, 2bb, 2k
Apr 14 - 5.2 inn, 4 hits, 2er, 1bb, 5k
Apr 19 - 6.0 inn, 7 hits, 3er, 3bb, 4k
Apr 24 - 7.0 inn, 3 hits, 3er. 0bb, 9k
Apr 30 - 8.0 inn, 3 hits, 0er, 0bb, 6k
May 7 - 6.2 inn, 5 hits, 2er. 1bb, 7k
May 12 - 7.1 inn, 7 hits, 3er, 1bb, 2k
May 18 - 6.1 inn, 4 hits, 3 er, 1bb, 2k
May 23 - 7.2 inn, 6 hits, 4er, 2bb, 7k

That to me looks like 7 starts where if his team had scored any runs he should have one and only 2 he deserved to lose. The Cheif's offense is actually as bad as the Nats or worse so people need to lay off the win lose record crap and looks at some other stats. Batters are hitting a lowly .214 against Maya, his whip on the year is .99 (better than Craig Stammen), he is on the 40 man roster and he i due to pitch today. Stop trying to make it a conspiracy theory. This is actually the proper move.

Your rotation savior, Craig Stammen, has almost identical numbers down at AAA to Maya other than win lose record. Not to mention we've all seen that Stammen can't get through 5 innings on a regular basis at the major league level. I like the guy but he should have been in our bullpen at the beginning of the year, not Chad Gaudin.

Section 222, it is the same injury that Adrian Gonzalez had last season, he had offseason surgery and he is back in the lineup for the Red Sox and last I saw he was hitting .340, with 8 homers and 37rbis. I think he is doing just fine. Gonzalez didn't have it until October last season and was back in ST.

-pdowdy83

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