WASHINGTON -- When left-hander Tim Collins found out he was coming back to the Majors for the first time since 2014, he admitted his reaction was not what he expected. The feeling was surreal, even arriving in the Nationals' clubhouse for Monday's 10-2 win over the Padres.Washington called Collins up
WASHINGTON -- When left-hander Tim Collins found out he was coming back to the Majors for the first time since 2014, he admitted his reaction was not what he expected. The feeling was surreal, even arriving in the Nationals' clubhouse for Monday's 10-2 win over the Padres.
Washington called Collins up from Triple-A Syracuse to fill the roster spot vacated when right-hander Ryan Madson landed on the disabled list with a strained right pectoral muscle. It's Collins' first stint in the Majors since 2014, having undergone two Tommy John surgeries and about three years of rehab.
"I had put in so much work after having surgery to get to this point," Collins said. "It's kind of fighting an uphill battle compared to being completely healthy and young going into that Spring Training and making the team [in 2011]. It was a dream come true making the team out of Spring Training that year, but this was more just kind of seeing everything come together after two surgeries and years of rehabbing. That was something special that I'll never forget."
Collins returned to a Major League mound on Monday night, as well. He threw a scoreless eighth inning against the Padres, allowing one hit and striking out two.
"I think it was good," Collins said. "The anticipation is what kills me the most, so it was nice to get into the first game and get that out of the way. It's kind of like your debut. You don't ever want to wait. The anticipation for me is what gets me. I'm obviously happy with the results today and I look forward to tomorrow."
Although he acknowledged his arm will never feel entirely the same, Collins said he feels about as normal as he ever has at this point. He has gone back-to-back days and thrown multiple innings during his 17 appearances at Triple-A Syracuse, where he recorded 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings and held opposing batters to a .190 batting average.
Now, after a series of injuries to Nationals' relievers, Collins has a chance he thought would never come again during his rehab: to pitch in the Majors.
"There were a lot of times where it seems it's going to be never-ending," Collins said. "The last probably eight months have probably been the longest eight months of my life."
• Daniel Murphy has still not started playing extended spring training games at the team's complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., thanks to a combination of an illness he developed upon arrival and inclement weather in the area.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.