Jason Marquis will start Sunday
Jason Marquis, the Nationals' No. 2 starter at the outset of the season and premiere free agent acquisition, joined the team in Arizona today and will start Sunday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Marquis, finished recovering from surgery he underwent in May to remove bone chips from his right elbow, will make his fourth start of the year and first since April 18.
The Nationals did not announce how they will reshape their roster to make room for Marquis. While Marquis will take Scott Olsen's scheduled day to start Sunday, Manager Jim Riggleman said Olsen will remain in the rotation. Olsen, based on incentives in his contract, will make $250,000 for making each of his next two starts.
In the final third of the season, Marquis will try to salvage a season that began with a three-start, injury-aided train wreck. In his first three appearances as a National, Marquis allowed 20 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings, losing all three starts. Marquis tried to return without surgery, but those plans were quickly dashed.
Now, feeling full strength for the first time this year, Marquis will try to prove he's the pitcher the Nationals thought they signed for $15 million over two years this offseason.
"I've always been a self-motivator," Marquis said. "Whatever I put my mind, I want to do it 110 percent. There's let up. They showed faith in me giving me the two-year deal. It didn't turn out the way I wanted the first four months with the injury. I'm excited to get the ball again and show the organization and my teammates, the coaching staff and the city of D.C. that you have a team that can win here, and I want to be a part of it."
Once Marquis could begin throwing off a mound, he opted for an aggresive recovery, throwing as hard as he could right away. "I always want to know where I stand," Marquis said.
Marquis felt a turning point in a bullpen session following a rehab start in Portland, Maine with Class AAA Harrisburg. The day after he started, Harrisburg pitching coach Randy Tomlin noticed Marquis throwing better than in the actual game. Marquis was getting his front foot sooner in his delivery, giving him "something to post up on" and allowing for more late action on his pitches.
"That was a big adjustment," Marquis said. "It just made a world of difference."
In his last start, Marquis threw 78 pitches in six inning and then threw 20 more in the bullpen to reach his full allotment. He will not be restricted Tuesday against the Dodgers.
Marquis's return will contribute to a logjam in the Nationals rotation. Stephen Strasburg will return Tuesday, meaning a pair of starters will have to either head to the bullpen or the minor leagues. "We're going to have a lot of changes to our rotation here in the next 10 days," Riggleman said.
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