The Nationals have announced the release of veteran righty Vance Worley. With several other pitchers re-assigned to minor-league camp, fellow righty Jeremy Guthrie is left as the only non-roster hurler in MLB camp, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post notes (Twitter links).
Clearly, Worley won’t make the club as a long man, though perhaps he could still be re-signed to serve as depth. Also missing on the Opening Day roster are veteran minor-league signees Jacob Turner and Neal Cotts, while young 40-man righties Trevor Gott and A.J. Cole have officially been optioned to Triple-A.
That seemingly leaves Guthrie as the team’s long reliever of choice — if, that is, the Nats decide to carry one. Alternatives include carrying a third lefty (the out-of-options Enny Romero) or an additional bench player (Wilmer Difo or Michael Taylor).
Worley, who’s still just 29, received a long look this spring, throwing 15 frames for the Nationals. But he allowed nine earned runs on 16 hits while recording as many walks as strikeouts (six apiece). Though Worley got results last year, compiling a 3.53 ERA over 86 2/3 frames in a swingman capacity for the Orioles, he’ll have to return to the open market in search of a better opportunity.
As for Guthrie, who didn’t pitch last season, reports of a resurgence were borne out in his spring stat line. Over 18 2/3 innings, he allowed just five earned runs on a meager ten hits while racking up 15 punchouts to go with five walks. Whether or not he can carry that success into the regular season in his age-38 campaign remains to be seen, but it could be interesting to see how the longtime starter fares in a relief role.