CINCINNATI -- Austin Adams had begun wondering if he'd ever make it to the big leagues. More than six years bouncing around the Minors will do that to you. But Thursday, the reliever's doubts were erased as he found out he'd be making the trip with the Nationals to Cincinnati.Adams,
CINCINNATI -- Austin Adams had begun wondering if he'd ever make it to the big leagues. More than six years bouncing around the Minors will do that to you. But Thursday, the reliever's doubts were erased as he found out he'd be making the trip with the Nationals to Cincinnati.
Adams, 26, was a part of a string of moves Washington made Friday afternoon ahead of the first series after the All-Star break. Called up along with him was right-handed reliever Trevor Gott. The Nationals also optioned left-handed pitcher Sammy Solis to Triple-A Syracuse and placed starter Joe Ross on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow strain.
"I got drafted in 2012 and then the next year I didn't break camp, and so that was a struggle for me to see everyone in my Draft class go off, start their careers and be ready," Adams said. "And for me, I was back there in extended spring and I was just thinking to myself, 'Am I ever going to get out of here?'"
Adams -- who was traded to the Nationals from the Angels in December -- has made 28 appearances with Syracuse this season, posting a 4-1 record, three saves and a 2.50 ERA. He also racked up 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings and didn't give up a home run.
The right-hander has appeared in 193 Minor League games since he was drafted in the eighth round of the 2012 Draft. Opponents have hit a combined .188 against him over that span, and his 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings in his career rank in the top 15 of all Minor League players since his first season.
The Nationals hope Adams can somewhat help alleviate their bullpen struggles. Washington's bullpen enters the second half of the season last in the Major Leagues in ERA (5.20) and batting average allowed (.276) and is among the bottom 10 teams in blown saves and home runs allowed.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said he plans to ease Adams into the big league environment, considering it is his first time playing on this stage.
"He's kind of a high-strung guy," he said. "We'd like to put him in a situation that's a little less pressure in the beginning. It's his first big league experience. And he's a guy, they told me, that's extremely tough on right-handers. And so we just hope that he's not over-amped and able to find the strike zone."
Other things to note
• Ross -- who is 5-3 with a 5.01 ERA in 13 starts this season -- exited his July 9 start early after feeling some discomfort in his shoulder. He has undergone an MRI arthrogram on the elbow and is awaiting the results, but he hopes the injury isn't too serious.
"I'm definitely concerned," Ross said. "You never want to be hurt in general. I'd like to be out there pitching, staying in the rotation. So, whatever I can do, I guess to try and get back, but I guess it's not really up to me. We'll have to see where we're at and then figure it out."
• Baker said the team is re-evaluating its plans for Jayson Werth while the outfielder struggles to deal with an injured big toe. The team's plan is to wait until the injury fully heals before deciding what to do next.
"We had no idea that it was going to be this long or serious as it is," Baker said. "But I told you guys, the worst injury I ever had was to my big toe and my thumb. And those injuries, they take longer to heal than anything."
Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Nationals on Friday.