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Pipeline preview: Nats' Giolito returns to mound

Top prospect back in action after break due to innings limit

On May 11, Nationals No. 1 prospect Lucas Giolito made his best start of the season. Pitching for Class A Hagerstown, he struck out seven batters in six innings and held Kannapolis to one hit and one walk. Only a blown save denied him his third victory of the season.

But since that start, Giolito hasn't pitched in a game. The Nationals want to limit his innings this season, as he is still less than two years removed from his Tommy John surgery.

Giolito's respite will end Tuesday when Hagerstown continues its series against Delmarva. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. ET, and he is slated to face right-hander Luc Rennie.

Giolito, ranked No. 36 on's Top 100 Prospects list, has made seven starts this season. He is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA and has struck out 36 batters in 32 1/3 innings.

Hagerstown won the first game of the three-game series Monday, 4-2. The victory pushed the Suns' lead in the South Atlantic League Northern Division to four games over Delmarva. Facing Giolito, the Shorebirds will have their work cut out for them as they try to keep pace in the playoff race.

Outfielder Josh Hart, the Orioles' No. 4 prospect, remains on the disabled list, but catcher Chance Sisco (No. 8) and third baseman Drew Dosch (No. 19) give the Shorebirds offense some teeth. Sisco enters the day with a .287 batting average and a .741 OPS. Dosch is hitting .316 with a .789 OPS.

In addition to Giolito, several other pitchers ranked in the Top 100 are scheduled to start Tuesday, including Taijuan Walker (No. 5), Zach Lee (No. 54), Eduardo Rodriguez (No. 58), Justin Nicolino (No. 68), Rafael Montero (No. 72) and Trey Ball (No. 83). Fans can watch all of them on MiLB.TV, beginning with Lee and Triple-A Albuquerque hosting Salt Lake at 2:05 p.m. ET.

Another notable pitcher scheduled to start Tuesday is Triple-A Memphis left-hander Tim Cooney, the Cardinals' No. 9 prospect. He will be making his first start since coming within an out of a no-hitter against Iowa last Thursday. Cooney and the Redbirds are set to face Oklahoma City at 8:05 p.m. ET in a game that can be seen on MiLB.TV.

Top prospect probables:
Jason Adam (Royals' No. 8), Northwest Arkansas vs. Tulsa
Miguel Almonte (Royals' No. 5), Wilmington vs. Potomac
Trey Ball (Red Sox's No. 7), Greenville vs. Lexington
Tim Cooney (Cardinals' No. 9), Memphis at Oklahoma City
Manny Banuelos (Yankees' No. 11), Trenton vs. Richmond
Tyler Danish (White Sox No. 4), Winston-Salem at Carolina
Lucas Giolito (Nationals' No. 1), Hagerstown vs. Delmarva
Marco Gonazles (Cardinals' No. 4), Springfield at Arkansas
Nate Karns (Rays' No. 7), Durham vs. Pawtucket
Zach Lee (Dodgers' No. 4), Albuquerque vs. Salt Lake
Rafael Montero (Mets' No. 2), Las Vegas vs. Reno
Justin Nicolino (Marlins' No. 4), Jacksonville at Pensacola
Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles' No. 3), Bowie at New Hampshire
Keyvius Sampson (Padres' No. 14), El Paso vs. Tacoma
Victor Sanchez (Mariners' No. 6), Jackson vs. Huntsville
Chris Stratton (Giants' No. 7), San Jose vs. High Desert
Domingo Tapia (Mets' No. 13), St. Lucie vs. Daytona
Taijuan Walker (Mariners' No. 1), Tacoma at El Paso

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill.
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