Matt Chico will start Saturday
The Nationals will call up Matt Chico from Class AA Harrisburg to replace John Lannan in their rotation Saturday, completing Chico's long road back to the major leagues after undergoing ligament replacement surgery.
This spring, Chico hoped to compete for a spot in the Nationals' rotation. But the Nationals optioned him not to Class AAA Syracuse, but all the way to Class AA Harrisburg. In five starts, Chico convinced the Nationals he deserved the chance to fill in for Lannan, shelved for at least one start with swelling in his left elbow. Chico went 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.
Chico, a staple in the Nationals' rotation in 2007 at age 24, began the 2008 season as the team's No. 2 starter. He went 0-6 in 11 starts, at which it became clear he needed Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow. Chico missed the rest of the 2008 season and made it back last season only in time to make 15 minor league starts.
The Nationals did not announce Chico's promotion, but he is listed as the probable starter for tomorrow in the Marlins' game notes. The Nationals are likely to send down an outfielder. Willy Taveras, who hasn't started since April 26 and has a .386 OPS, seems a likely candidate.
Lannan and the Nationals expect him to return Thursday and start against the Colorado Rockies. Lannan said he has regained full range of motion in his left elbow and he will throw tomorrow for the first time since Sunday, his last start. As long as all goes well, Lannan will approach the rest of the week as he typically would, going for a long-distance run and lifting weights Sunday.
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