Nats flip Goodwin, will miss Doolittle longer

Brian Tinsman
July 23, 2018 - 12:08 am
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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At the end of Game 98, the Washington Nationals look the same as they did at the beginning of Game 1 this season: an equal number of wins and losses.

Sitting at .500 with the non-waiver trade deadline just eight days away, the Washington Nationals are entering a stretch where they have to play up to their potential in order to survive.

No longer is it a foregone conclusion that this team will rally to carry the National League East, much less by double-digit margins. Now, the team has to start the process of chasing down both the Phillies (six games back) and Braves (five games back), who have built a healthy lead in the division. On the Wild Card side of things, the Nats are five games back of the second selection.

Credit the Nats with starting to make tough moves, as well, including trading Brian Goodwin away to clear the logjam in the outfield. The former first-round pick in 2011 was dealt to the Kansas City Royals, where he will not have to compete for scraps behind the entrenched foursome of Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Michael A. Taylor and Juan Soto.

The Nationals got an intriguing prospect in return, a minor league right-hander in Jacob Condra-Bogan, who can touch 100 mph on the radar guns. He is raw, however, and will report to Potomac to continue his ascent to Washington. More importantly, Goodwin's departure clears a spot for much-needed reliever Sammy Solis to contribute right away out of the Nats' bullpen.

It's a triumphant return for Solis, who did not mince words when the team used his remaining contract option in order to send him to AAA earlier this season. He had already appeared in 40 of the team's 80 games, but skipper Dave Martinez couched the demotion as an opportunity to improve.

"He’s worked on some stuff down in Triple-A," Martinez told the media on Sunday. "I’m excited to stick him out there and see what we’ve got."

The Solis news helps to buffer the bigger news that Nats closer Sean Doolittle will be out longer than expected with a stress reaction in his foot arch, suffered right before the All-Star break. It kept Doolittle from appearing in the Midsummer Classic and could keep him off the mound at Nats Park for several more weeks.

"It’s a good thing we got another (MRI), because if it develops into a stress fracture, that’s a lot of time (required to heal)," Doolittle said. "That’s something you really want to try to avoid. I guess that’s a silver lining: We were able to catch it before it became something serious."

Another bit of good news is the Koda Glover got one step closer to his return from the disabled list for shoulder surgery, which has sidelined him all year. Moved off the 60-day disabled list as a sign of his progress in rehabilitation, Glover pitched in his fifth rehab game, second for AAA, on Friday. He finished with a clean inning and a strikeout.

Martinez has said that he expects Glover to take eight or nine rehab starts before returning to the Nats.

 

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