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Glover rejoins Nats' bullpen; Madson to close

Herrera placed on DL; Doolittle throws from flat ground without boot
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Koda Glover meditated and prayed almost every day, hoping he could recover from his right shoulder tendinitis and escape the Nationals' Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he was rehabbing for more than a year.

Glover led all rookies with eight saves and offered scoreless relief in 18 of his 23 appearances in 2017. But the right-hander hasn't played in a Major League game since June 10, 2017, due to his setback.

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WASHINGTON -- Koda Glover meditated and prayed almost every day, hoping he could recover from his right shoulder tendinitis and escape the Nationals' Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he was rehabbing for more than a year.

Glover led all rookies with eight saves and offered scoreless relief in 18 of his 23 appearances in 2017. But the right-hander hasn't played in a Major League game since June 10, 2017, due to his setback.

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After pitching in the Minor Leagues for about a month, Glover returned to the Nationals on Wednesday, when he was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. Kelvin Herrera, who was closing in place of Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation), went to the 10-day disabled list with a right rotator cuff impingement. Herrera walked off the mound in the ninth inning Tuesday night after permitting the game-winning triple to the Braves.

"Mentally and physically, it's like you get this anxiousness," Glover said. "I'm not made to just be stuck somewhere, so it was a grind. But I'm out of it, and I'm glad to be back."

With Herrera and Doolittle sidelined, Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Ryan Madson will close. Madson has recorded a 4.32 ERA and four saves in six opportunities this season. While Madson has notched 91 career saves, the right-hander has mainly pitched the seventh or eighth innings.

Doolittle, an All-Star who's been on the DL since July 10 with a stress reaction in his left foot, threw on flat ground without a walking boot for the first time Wednesday.

With Madson closing, the Nationals will likely lean on former All-Star closer Greg Holland -- who was signed Tuesday -- Justin Miller, Wander Suero and Sammy Solis as setup men. The Nationals traded relievers Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley over the past nine days.

Video: ATL@WSH: Holland fans the side in Nationals debut

Washington entered Wednesday six games behind the first-place Phillies in the National League East and 4 1/2 games behind the Braves for the second National League Wild Card spot.

Herrera has a 4.76 ERA over 17 innings since Washington acquired him from the Royals on June 18. The right-hander recorded a 1.05 ERA over 25 2/3 innings before the trade.

Martinez said Herrera will rest for three or four days before strengthening his shoulder. Martinez hopes Herrera is throwing by the end of next week.

"For the most part, last night I sat around thinking about the guys we have," Martinez said. "It's just a matter of picking situations where we think they're going to succeed and get them in the game. I've got confidence in all those guys."

During eight rehab games with Syracuse, Glover was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and two saves. The 25-year-old struck out 10 and walked two.

Glover, who impressed in '17 with a mid-90s slider, said he changed his warmup routine but didn't adjust his mechanics. Glover underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, but he said this recovery process was more difficult.

Glover pitched through his shoulder pain last season, which Martinez addressed when speaking with him.

"I told him: 'I know you're high energy. We need to bottle that energy and focus on whatever you were doing at Triple-A, do the same thing here. I don't want you to come up here and try to throw 105 mph. Just throw strikes and get outs,'" Martinez said.

Strasburg and Fedde throw bullpens
Stephen Strasburg and Erick Fedde, both on the disabled list, threw bullpen sessions at Nationals Park on Wednesday afternoon. Martinez said they'll each toss another bullpen before a decision is made on their next steps.

Strasburg missed more than a month earlier this season with right shoulder inflammation. The right-hander returned July 20 and allowed six runs over 4 2/3 innings against the Braves before he went back to the disabled list with a cervical nerve impingement.

Fedde, who was originally called up from Syracuse to replace Strasburg, landed on the DL with right shoulder inflammation July 5.

Without Strasburg and Fedde, Jefry Rodriguez and Tommy Milone are in the rotation. Rodriguez put together his first solid start Tuesday against the Braves, while Milone had a 3.00 ERA in two starts entering Wednesday night's matchup with the Braves.

Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.

Washington Nationals, Koda Glover, Ryan Madson