Where Doug Slaten fits in
The addition of Doug Slaten gives the Nationals some new options in their bullpen. A second left-handed pitcher allows Manager Jim Riggleman the freedom to use Sean Burnett as a seventh-inning set-up man. Riggleman could not previously commit Burnett to the seventh because Burnett may have been needed situationally against a left-handed hitter.
Slaten could also serve as a semi-long reliever. He pitched 17 innings in 11 appearances with Class AAA Syracuse, meaning he's stretched out sufficiently to pitch two or more innings. In his major league career, lefties have hit .261 against Slaten, and righties have hit .278. As of now, the Nationals aren't sure how they'll use Slaten.
"We'll just have to see how it evolves," Riggleman said. "He can fill a couple holes for us."
The Nationals can only hope Slaten will be as effective here as he was with Syracuse. Slaten did not allow an earned run in 17 innings, walking one and allowing 12 hits while striking out 17.
"He's been outstanding down in Triple A," General Manager Mike Rizzo said. "He earned his way up here. We try to reward success down there, and certainly he's pitched well."
Slaten credited a consistent, aggressive approach for his recent success.He also made a slight tweak to his delivery, getting more extension before his release. "I'm throwing the same pitches I always have," Slaten said. "Just a little more extension, and just trying to go right at them."
Slaten has some familiarity with Rizzo. As scouting director of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Rizzo drafted Slaten in 17th round of the 2000 draft.
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