Aug 25, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT
With Denard Span ready to rejoin the team after an extended stint on the disabled list, the Nationals have optioned reliever Tanner Roark to Single-A Potomac.
While that may seem like a demotion for Roark, the three-year veteran will have a rewarding goal to work towards. The Nats plan to transition Roark back to starting and have him come back to Washington on Sept. 1 when rosters expand.
If all goes well, Roark will take the rotation spot of rookie Joe Ross, who is in uncharted territory in terms of innings pitched. Ross has thrown 136 2/3 innings this season, up from his total of 121 2/3 in 2014. The most he’s ever pitched in one season is 122 1/3, a personal-high he set in 2013.
The Nationals are vague about exactly how many innings Ross will be allowed to throw, but will admit he’s nearing his team-imposed limit.
“That’s a decision that we’ll have to make if and when we have to make it. But, he’s in uncharted territory. So, it’s a start-to-start, day to day, if you will,” Matt Williams said. “And we’ll have to see where he goes from here, but we want to be prepared if in fact that time come. Where it’s time to shut him down, then we have somebody that is stretched out and ready to go.”
Roark, according to Williams, will begin by throwing around 60 pitches in a start with Potomac. From there he will go to 80 pitches in his second outing, and then possibly be ready to come back to Washington.
“I would not anticipate him being down there for more than 10 days, more than the minimum,” Williams said.
Roark goes to the minor leagues for the first time this season and for the first time since his first MLB call-up on Aug. 6 of 2013. He has bounced back and forth within the Nats’ pitching staff this year, beginning as a reliever, then moving to starter, and then back to the bullpen.
Through all of it he has experienced some inconsistent results and holds a 4.54 ERA in 34 total games. Going back to starting is likely good news to him, but Williams explained that it is never fun for a big leaguer to go back down to the minors.
“It’s still not easy. The guy won 15 games last year. It’s not easy to do that at any time, but often times those decisions have to be made and we have to prepare. We have to make sure that if in fact Joe is at his limit in sometime in September, then we have somebody that’s prepared to do it,” Williams said.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Trea Turner has a career game as Nats clobber Reds
- Harper's 10th-inning single lifts Nationals past Reds 6-5
- Max Scherzer's bid for third no-hitter ends in heartbreak
- The Nats got hot Tuesday in Miami with 12-3 win over Marlins
- Tanner Roark unable to preserve six-run lead before Marlins walk off Nationals in ninth
- Jacob DeGrom denies Nationals sweep of Mets on Father's Day
- Nationals hit three homers to win third straight game against Mets
- Nationals look to win series against Mets behind Stephen Strasburg
- Scherzer strikes out 10, leads Nationals over Mets 7-2
- Gio Gonzalez and Daniel Murphy dominated in Nationals' 8-3 win over the Mets