Glover trip to DL re­opens closer search

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TODD DYBAS

The Na­tion­als thought they had found their closer, end­ing, at least tem­po­rar­ily, a wob­bling search for some­one to ef­fec­tively pitch the ninth in­ning.

Koda Glover had wanted the role in spring train­ing. He was pro­vided a chance by the poor pitch­ing of oth­ers, then be­gan to ex­cel. He put to­gether four saves in a five-day pe­riod, had a bad out­ing, then was right back at it.

That was un­til Satur­day. Glover gave up two runs in the ninth that squared the game against the Texas Rangers. After­ward, he re­vealed that he had tweaked his back when show­er­ing ear­lier in the day. He did not tell Na­tion­als man­age­ment. In­stead, he tried to pitch through it.

The ex­tra ef­fort made things worse. Sun­day, Glover was placed on the 10-day dis­abled list be­cause of lower back stiff­ness. Joe Blan­ton (right shoul­der in­flam­ma­tion) was re­in­stated from his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as­sign­ment to take Glover’s spot on the ros­ter. He pitched a score­less in­ning Sun­day.

“It doesn’t make any­thing eas­ier,” Na­tion­als man­ager Dusty Baker said of Glover’s in­jury. “It hadn’t been easy so far. Why ex­pect it to be easy now? It’s been very dif­fi­cult. But, got to do what we got to do. Mix and match and hope the guys we bring in do the job.”

Try­ing to pitch through pain also caused Glover’s prior prob­lems. Last sea­son, he felt pain in his hip but did not in­form the team right away. It turned out that he had a labrum tear in his hip. He opted to re­ha­bil­i­tate the in­jury dur­ing the off­sea­son with phys­i­cal ther­apy in­stead of surgery. The prob­lem crept back up ear­lier this sea­son and pushed Glover onto the dis­abled list April 26 be cause of a “left hip im­pinge­ment.”

Who the closer will be now is any­one’s guess. When Baker looked at his bullpen Sun­day af­ter­noon, he saw Shawn Kel­ley, who pitched Satur­day and has a 7.47 ERA. Erst­while closer Blake Treinen came into the game with a 6.15 ERA, though had cob­bled to­gether score­less ap­pear­ances in four of his last five out­ings. But, again Sun­day, he let the game slip away. A high-bound­ing ground ball turned into a triple in the eighth in­ning against Treinen. The hit put a run on his ledger, one on Oliver Perez’s line and again turned a game in the op­po­nent’s fa­vor.

“How many times can you say, ‘Stick with it or keep your head up or be con­fi­dent,’” Baker said. “We’ve said a lot of things that are nec­es­sary to say. Then, af­ter a while, you’re just kind of blow­ing smoke by say­ing it. We got to hug ‘em and love ‘em. Some­times when they don’t do what they’re sup­posed to do, you chas­tise them. But, you don’t kick peo­ple while they’re down. That’s what ev­ery­body wants you to do.”

The Na­tion­als’ most ef­fec­tive re­liever has been Matt Al­bers. Two score­less in­nings Satur­day pulled his ERA down 1.08. They meant he was un­avail­able Sun­day.

The bullpen’s in­ef­fec­tive­ness it has the Na­tional League’s sec­ond-worst ERA — has been nag­ging the first-place Na­tion­als since the sea­son be­gan. In the off­sea­son, Wash­ing­ton at­tempted to sign high-end free agent closers like Mark Me­lan­con and Ken­ley Jansen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.