Though manager Dave Martinez has maintained that he will regain his closer’s role when he returns from the injured list, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle isn’t taking anything for granted, as shown in a profile from the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty. “I mean that’s awesome to get that vote of confidence from your manager. But I have to pitch better if I want to stay in that role,” Doolittle told Dougherty on Monday. Of course, it’s probably the proper attitude for the veteran lefty to assume after a recent run of poor play–outlined by a 7.36 ERA in his last 15 appearances–culminated in his placement on the injured list on Sunday with right knee tendinitis. While watching video of his last outing, a three-homer drubbing at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, Doolittle says he has identified several mechanical concerns that could be the cause of his struggles, including a low release point and shortened extension.
More hurler notes to keep handy this Tuesday…
- Jacob Nix of the Padres is grinding his way back from an elbow issue that has sidelined him for the entirety of the 2019 season, as noted in a column from Jeff Sanders of the Union-Tribune. After opting for rest and rehab in recovery from a UCL tear, Nix has climbed back up to Triple-A El Paso, where, on Monday, he struck out six hitters in five shutout innings. The 23-year-old Nix, a third-round draft pick of GM AJ Preller’s in 2015, debuted last year with 7.02 ERA, 4.46 K/9, and 2.76 BB/9 numbers across 42.1 innings. As you might expect regarding someone with such a shaky big league resumé, manager Andy Green indicates to Sanders that Nix’s return will be, in the writer’s words, “predicated on his results”.
- You would be forgiven for not recognizing the name of one Josh Lindblom, but that exact name is drawing a great deal of attention in Korea–and, increasingly, in MLB circles. As The Athletic’s Sung Min Kim points out (link), MLB scouts have been attending the KBO starts of Lindblom in droves as the former big league reliever makes a historic foreign run. A veteran of 114 MLB games, the 32-year-old Lindblom is trouncing KBO hitters in his quest for the all-time record for wins by a foreign pitcher (22) in one season. In 24 starts for the Doosan Bears, Lindblom is 19-1 with a 2.03 ERA–truly intriguing numbers for a pitcher operating in such a hitter-friendly environment. Lindblom hasn’t appeared stateside since pitching for a stint with the Pirates in 2017.