For now, Jason Marquis remains in the Nationals rotation
After another horrendous outing Saturday night, Jason Marquis will likely make his next start as scheduled and he will remain with the Nationals for the remainder of the season. Marquis allowed five earned runs in four innings Saturday, which actually lowered his to 14.33 after five starts.
The Nationals have several options, especially with an off day Monday, including giving Jordan Zimmermann his 2010 major league debut. But "when the dust settles, we'll probably run Jason out there again," Manager Jim Riggleman said.
Riggleman added later, "I'm a woman. I can change my mind. I'm not going to be locked into anything, but as I sit here right now I'm anticipating he'll make his next start."
The Nationals could use Craig Stammen or Miguel Batista, who are both currently long relievers. Riggleman also broached the idea of Zimmermann making his debut before September arrives.
Zimmermann will make his third start with Class AAA Syracuse today. Zimmermann's schedule calls for him to pitch five innings today and then another five innings five days from now. If his velocity remains the consistent in that start from today's, then the Nationals will call him up.
Riggleman, though, said it's possible that Zimmermann starts for the Nats sooner. "I think Jordan is champing at the bit to have been here last week," Riggleman said. "He feels like he's ready. I'm sure he feels like five days from now, he's ready to pitch. That's something we'll consider. The likelihood is he'll stay down there a little longer."
Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya could replace Marquis in the rotation eventually, but his ascension to the majors appears roughly two weeks away. Maya made his first competitive start Friday with the Nationals' Gulf Coast League affiliate, and he'll make another start at that level Wednesday. Maya will make at least one start at a higher level in the minors before joining the Nationals.
In the meantime, the Nationals hope Marquis can right himself. They also realize they can stand only so much damage to their bullpen and their chances at winning the games he starts.
"If he's progressing and getting more action on the ball, getting more groundballs, then certainly we see that things are moving in the right direction," Riggleman said. "We can't just let him be out there and get his brains beat out, either. He's got a lot of pride. He's working very hard. He doesn't like what's going on. Nobody is bothered by this more than he is. It's going to be up to him to pitch his way out of it."
If Marquis continues producing wretched results, then the Nationals will still keep Marquis in the majors. Since rosters expand Sept. 1, the Nationals will be able to move Marquis to the bullpen in an effort to salvage his season.
"That's certainly not what we want to do," Riggleman said. "We want to get this straightened out."
August 15, 2010; 1:25 PM ET
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