Rosenthal decision looms for Nationals

May 19th, 2019

WASHINGTON -- was back at Nationals Park on Sunday, on the field with the team for workouts prior to its series finale with the Cubs. Earlier in the day, he tossed a bullpen session in front of the Nationals’ coaching staff as he continues to try to perfect his mechanics.

Soon, Rosenthal is going to get a chance to prove himself once again in the big leagues. He is scheduled to pitch in another Minor League rehab game for Double-A Harrisburg on Monday, which is likely to be his final appearance before he is ready to return to Washington.

“The biggest thing is he was able to repeat his delivery, which was kind of nice,” manager Dave Martinez said. “His misses are up and down, which is the norm, but he’s doing a lot better. I watch video and his mechanics are pretty good right now.”

Rosenthal is not on the injured list for his mechanical issues, but instead for a viral infection that kept him out for a few days and resulted in him dropping about 10 pounds. But while he has been on the sidelines since April 26, the Nationals have used this chance for him to work through all the mechanical and confidence issues that led to this nightmare 2019 season.

He appeared in seven games, recorded nine outs, gave up 12 earned runs with nine walks, just three strikeouts and five wild pitches. Rosenthal's fastball velocity has remained in the upper 90s, sometimes touching triple digits, but his command has been shaky and his confidence shot.

The Nats hoped a rehab assignment could help him overcome those issues. He has made four appearances with Harrisburg, allowing a run in 3 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and three walks, but he has also uncorked a few pitches toward the back stop.

Washington cannot keep Rosenthal in the Minors forever, however, and soon the Nats are going to have to figure out whether they can find a role for the pitcher they signed during the offseason to be their setup man ahead of closer Sean Doolittle.

Rendon serves as Nats' rep for Taylor Hooton Foundation

One of the memories that stands out to from his childhood, before he was old enough to truly grasp what was going on, is a visit to the Astrodome, cheering on the Killer B’s -- Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Sean Berry and Derek Bell -- and waiting for autographs from some of his favorite players. How that small moment can have a lasting impact on a kid is what drives Rendon to get involved with helping children off the field as often as possible.

For the fourth straight season, Major League Baseball has formed an advisory board with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, including a record 42 members and an active player from all 30 Major League teams. It’s also the fourth year in a row Rendon has been involved with the foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about the dangers of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.

It’s a chance for Rendon to help educate children, as he does frequently with the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, but he also strives to keep things as light as possible.

“I remember being at that age. I didn’t ever want to be like upset or mad at being outside or at the field, that was my opportunity to get out and run free,” Rendon said. “To be a kid, basically.”

So, Rendon attempts to teach kids about baseball and life. In between fielding grounders or hitting with the kids, he may take a moment to bring up a story about the dangers of steroids or about taking care of your body.

“I always try to relate to them,” Rendon said. “You’ve got to read the kids' situation, all kids they’re gonna have bad days they’re gonna have good days. There’s gonna be a shy kid, there’s gonna be an outgoing kid, so I think you’re just trying to get a read or feel for the kid before you approach them.”

Worth noting

is likely to be activated from the injured list on Monday in New York after tossing a scoreless inning during a Minor League rehab outing for Class A Advanced Potomac on Saturday.