The Washington Nationals appear to be making yet another change to their pitching rotation. Righty Tanner Roark faced live batters today at Nationals Park and appears set to be making his first start of 2015 next Tuesday against the against the upstart Chicago Cubs, as reported by James Wagner of the Washington Post.
Roark hasn’t made a pitching appearance in five days and hasn’t made a start in the rotation at all since the season opened. After the Nats signed ace Max Scherzer to a monster contract in the offseason, Roark was moved to the bullpen to make move for the righty. With right-hander Doug Fister on the shelf due to a flexor strain in his right forearm, the Nats appeared to be ready to hand over his spot to right-handed youngster AJ Cole. It appears now that they have changed track and decided to give the vacant spot in the rotation back to Roark.
Roark has appeared in only three games this season and owns a 2.66 ERA across 20.1 innings of relief. He is not unaccustomed to being a starting pitcher as he was in the Nats’ rotation for much of the 2014 season. He had a quiet yet spectacular 2014 season as he pitched to a 2.85 ERA clip across 198.2 innings of work and proved himself as a steady workhorse. He showed himself to be a solid and capable starter in the Nats’ rotation but unfortunately has seen his work limited this year. It is unclear at this point whether this is just a spot start or him taking over for the injured Fister until he’s able to make it back from the disabled list. That being said, Fister’s spot in the rotation is being taken over by a reliable set of hands.
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