MILWAUKEE -- The Nationals are planning to utilize a six-man rotation at some point during the month of September to give their starters an extra day of rest before they gear up for the postseason.Washington initially toyed with the idea of using an extra starter this turn through the rotation
MILWAUKEE -- The Nationals are planning to utilize a six-man rotation at some point during the month of September to give their starters an extra day of rest before they gear up for the postseason.
Washington initially toyed with the idea of using an extra starter this turn through the rotation and had left Saturday's starter to be announced, but manager Dusty Baker said the team decided to keep everyone on regular rest for now.
"We'll give them an extra day at a different time," Baker said.
Nationals starting pitchers have carried a heavy workload this season. Three members of their rotation -- Max Scherzer (102.5), Giovany Gonzalez (105.8) and Tanner Roark (106.6) -- are averaging more than 100 pitches per start while Edwin Jackson (99.6, although he has only made eight starts) and Stephen Strasburg (98.7) are just a shade shy. Washington's starting pitchers have thrown the second-most innings in baseball, a sign of their performance as a unit.
Baker has acknowledged he leaned on his starters, especially early in the season when the Nats' bullpen struggled mightily, and a short September break could refresh the rotation down the stretch.
Romero among September call-ups
Most of the players the Nationals will recall when rosters expand Friday will be players who have contributed to the team at some point this season with the number of injuries the Major League team has endured.
One notable member of that group will be left-hander Enny Romero, who is set to return from the disabled list for the first time since he was sidelined Aug. 4 with left forearm tightness. He has been on a Minor League rehab assignment since Aug. 17.
At times Romero has been electric if inconsistent during his first season in Washington, with a 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings ratio and a career low 3.8 walks per nine, but his ERA is 3.99 and he has allowed 49 hits in 47 1/3 innings. Still, he has about a month to prove that he is healthy to see if he can contribute to a potential postseason roster.
Right-hander Ryan Madson is also scheduled to join the team this weekend in Milwaukee, the first time since he left about a week ago to see a hand specialist in Arizona to evaluate his right finger sprain. The team remains confident Madson will be activated from the DL in time for the postseason.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.