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A quick trip for Matt Chico

Matt Chico didn't have much time to revel in his return to the major leagues after nearly two years. He instead had to pack his belongings and get back to Class AA Harrisburg, where he had been pitching this season before the Nationals called him up yesterday morning as a fill-in for starter John Lannan.

Chico went five innings in his first start since May 21, 2008, allowing six hits and two runs while yielding no walks and striking out three in the Nationals' 5-4 win over Florida. He threw 79 pitches, including 57 for strikes, and left the game with a 3-0 lead, although the Marlins made it 3-2, with both of those runs charged to Chico.

Chico's day got off to a bad start when he hit Florida leadoff batter Cameron Maybin with his first pitch. But he regained his composure and managed to stay out of trouble until the sixth, when the Marlins scored their first run, prompting Manager Jim Riggleman to go to the bullpen.

"That first pitch, all the nerves started coming back," Chico said. "It felt like my first big league game again, but just try to brush it back and go after the next guy."

Still, he pitched well enough to win despite the no decision, and while Chico said he hoped he proved he belongs in the majors with yesterday's outing, he was under no illusions that this assignment was anything more than a one-day gig.

That's because the Nationals did not send Lannan to the disabled list, and Riggleman said the team is preparing as if he would be ready for his turn on Thursday. Lannan missed his scheduled start yesterday because of swelling and discomfort in his left elbow.

Although the Nationals did not officially send Chico back down following yesterday's 5-4 win, he said he was heading back to join Harrisburg, where he is scheduled to make his next start on Thursday. The team thus will designate Chico for assignment this morning.

By Gene Wang  |  May 9, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Matt Chico , Pitching rotation  
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Next: Today's lineups, Doug Slaten called up

Comments

Gotta make way for Jason Marquis, I guess. (gag!)

Posted by: JohnRDC | May 9, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand this and the Jesse English demotion. These guys pitch well and get sent down. Meanwhile, Batista, Bruney and Walker are literally stinking up the joint with 6+ ERAs and they get to stay. Now Chico will be DFA'd and taken off the 40 man roster for his trouble. Disgusting.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | May 9, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Designate him for assignment?

Really?

In other words, take him off the 40-man?

WHY???? That doesn't make any sense.

Posted by: Barney001 | May 9, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

There was mention yesterday that Slaten would be coming up from Syracuse.

This makes little sense, as he is not on the 40 man roster. Why bring him up, and be forced to DFA someone, when you have other guys in Syracuse pitching well enough to come up? (Jesse English, Atahualpa Severino)

Until the Nats confirm anything, I'm just not believing that Chico is getting DFA'd.

What's more likely?
The Nat's DFA Chico or Gene Wang / WaPost used the term "designate for assignment" out of context?

Posted by: Sunderland | May 9, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't get why Chico isn't immediately sent to the bullpen, and Bruney sent down. For one, Chico is more effective than Bruney. Secondly, it would give us another lefty in the bullpen.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 9, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

usmc - Bruney is out of options.
Sending him down requires that he clear waivers.

((Not saying that waiving him is a bad idea.
But it is why he is not being sent down.)

Posted by: Sunderland | May 9, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Since we sent Maxwell down to make room for Chico, and Lannan was never deactivated, who are we going to activate or call up to fill the resulting empty roster slot, Marquis? Wouldn't that give us one too many starters? Maxwell? How many options does he have left? Morse? That guy is a major leaguer but we've got logjams at every position he plays (well, except first base, and the way Dunn is going I might give him a chance).

My suggestion would be Jesse English.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | May 9, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I would waive Walker, give Chico a shot in the bullpen and as a spot starter, and bring up English or Severino. Bruney has good stuff so I think he has some value. Batista should stick around as the bullpen's rubber arm long reliever until the cavalry arrives later this summer.

Posted by: Jeff_Jackson | May 9, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Gene: Either you missed the real story or should do some basic fact finding regarding baseball. Either way, poorly written article.

Posted by: thom202 | May 9, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Mark Zuckerman, (an actual baseball reporter), wrote yesterday at Nats Insider than the Nats were optioning Chico back to Harrisburg, and that the Nat's also have the ability to recall him to take Lannan's turn again next Thursday.
www.natsinsider.com

Posted by: Sunderland | May 9, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

FergusonFoont - Options are managed on a yearly basis, so Maxwell is able to be "placed on optional assignment" (aka optioned to a Nats farm team) anytime, all year, as often as the Nats want to.

But you're right, Chico being optioned leaves a spot available.
I also am guessing Jesse English.
Some have suggested Doug Slaten, who has pitched great but is not on the 40 man roster (and would therefore require us making room for him).

It's almost certainly going to be a relief pitcher.

Posted by: Sunderland | May 9, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Great explanation of option status and who on the team has "options" left.
http://natsfarm.com/2010/03/06/option-status/

Posted by: wrw0601 | May 9, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Chico gave the Nationals what I had hoped for yesterday - 5IP, 2ER, then turned it over to the bullpen. MLB.com has him being optioned back to HAR, with Slaten being called up & added to the 40-man roster; I think this move is covered by one of the extra slots from players on the 60-DL.

Posted by: BinM | May 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Why all the Tyler Walker hate? His ERA looks rought, but his WHIP is at 1.16, he has a 17:2 strikeout to walk ratio, and is averaging over a strikeout per inning...

He isn't a world beater, but after Capps and Clippard, he has been the best dude in the bullpen this year...

Burnett has been solid in his role, too...

Now Bruney and Batista, they are a different story... Bruney especially is hard to watch pitch... he has such a heavy, strong fastball... but, man, he has no idea where that thing is going...

3 weeks to Drew Storen???

Posted by: Ghost7 | May 9, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Why all the Tyler Walker hate? His ERA looks rought, but his WHIP is at 1.16, he has a 17:2 strikeout to walk ratio, and is averaging over a strikeout per inning...

He isn't a world beater, but after Capps and Clippard, he has been the best dude in the bullpen this year...

Burnett has been solid in his role, too...

Now Bruney and Batista, they are a different story... Bruney especially is hard to watch pitch... he has such a heavy, hard fastball... but, man, he has no idea where that thing is going...

3 weeks to Drew Storen???

Posted by: Ghost7 | May 9, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Gene-

I do not second the apparent need to get on your case for this entry. Please don't be deterred.

As for Chico, I do not see what he did to earn another look. His appearance played out like all his others- he made it through 5 innings, and then was predictable to the 3rd time through in the order.

The encouraging signs for the Nats are those that make it difficult to imagine Chico returning unless people get hurt. With Strasburg, Wang, Marquis and Detwiler all ready to make their claims for spots in the rotation later in the year, it already will be hard to decide what to do with Livo, Stammen, Olsen and Atilano. All 4 have made a good case, but something's gotta give.

We could see some trades this year.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | May 9, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

+1/2St.:

Good point on the starters, but "You can never have enough pitching". At this time, I think that Strasburg may be the only given for the starting five, and that will be early June. The time-table for the others (Detwiler, Marquis, Wang, JZimm) still looks sketchy; Maybe after the All-Star game, maybe later than that.

As long as the current starters can avoid the inevitible 'tired arm' at the same time, the team should hover around .500 & be create real problems for the rest of the league.

Posted by: BinM | May 9, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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