The Nationals have swapped out right-handed relievers, per a club announcement. Shawn Kelley has returned from a long run on the disabled list, replacing Ryan Madson on the active roster. Madson is headed for his own DL stint.
Kelley has been out since the middle of June with a trap strain. Before that, though, it was already clear something wasn’t right. Through his first 18 innings on the year, Kelley posted a 7.00 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and an uncharacteristic 4.5 BB/9. He also allowed nine long balls — averaging one in every other inning of work.
Curiously, those pronounced struggles went on even as Kelly maintained not only a fairly typical average fastball velocity (92.7 mph), but also a typically outstanding swinging-strike (15.0%). That seemingly gives cause for some optimism that Kelley can rediscover his usual form down the stretch. At this point, though, he’ll have to earn back his place among the team’s late-inning options.
The hope is that Madson won’t require nearly so lengthy a layoff. Madson has been diagnosed with a sprained right finger, per the organization. But manager Dusty Baker suggested that it may only require the minimum ten days (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com, on Twitter). Surely, the Nats will be focused on ensuring Madson is healthy come October.
Madson, acquired along with lefty Sean Doolittle back in July, was turning in quality results in Oakland but has been utterly dominant since. In nine scoreless frames since coming to D.C., Madson has allowed just five hits and a walk while racking up 13 strikeouts.