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A sharp Rosenthal: 'It was a good night'

@JamalCollier
June 13, 2019

WASHINGTON -- Following a 1-hour, 3-minute rain delay and a quick bottom of the eighth inning, Trevor Rosenthal emerged from the bullpen in right field Thursday night at Nationals Park, ready to pitch the ninth inning, his first game in this stadium in nearly two months. On a night when

WASHINGTON -- Following a 1-hour, 3-minute rain delay and a quick bottom of the eighth inning, Trevor Rosenthal emerged from the bullpen in right field Thursday night at Nationals Park, ready to pitch the ninth inning, his first game in this stadium in nearly two months.

On a night when not much went right for the Nationals, who dropped the game 5-0 to the D-backs, Rosenthal was a bright spot, tossing what was by far his best outing of the year, a 1-2-3 inning with a pair of strikeouts.

Sure, it was another low-leverage spot, the ninth inning of a game the Nats couldn’t even tie with one swing. But this represented a huge step forward for Rosenthal, who spent a month on the injured list rebuilding his mechanics to return to this stage.

“It was a good night,” Rosenthal said. “I felt good with my command and trying to pitch an inning. I'm definitely happy with how it went tonight.”

This was Rosenthal’s second outing since being activated from the injured list, after he tossed a scoreless ninth inning in a 12-1 loss Tuesday night in Chicago. But that outing also involved a four-pitch leadoff walk, and if not for a subsequent double play started by Trea Turner, it could have gotten out of hand.

Rosenthal was in total command Thursday. He threw 12 of his 14 pitches for strikes. His fastball touched 97.6 mph, and he spotted his slider in and out of the zone. For the first time this season, and really the first time since before his Tommy John surgery in August 2017, Rosenthal looked like a pitcher capable of pitching in the high-leverage situations that the Nationals signed him this winter to do.

“That was very encouraging,” manager Dave Martinez said. “And he looked, even in his warmups, he looked very relaxed. Really nice, the ball was coming out really, really nice. Man, he was pumping strikes today, and it was great to see.”

Rosenthal still might have some work to do before he finds himself pitching in high-leverage roles, but this outing was a gigantic step toward him eventually doing so.

“I’m always confident in myself, and I'll do whatever is asked of me to go out there and compete for the team,” Rosenthal said. “That's what I love to do. Obviously it'll take time and situations that'll arise in the future, but we know we got a good group of guys, and to get where we want to be, it's going to take every last one of us. I'm just hoping to be a part of that.”

Glover has setback in rehab
Nationals reliever Koda Glover, who has not pitched this season after sustaining a right forearm strain in Spring Training, experienced another setback while rehabbing at the team’s complex in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Glover has been shut down for a few weeks after feeling some pain in his elbow, Martinez revealed Thursday. Glover visited orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., normally a forbidding sign for a pitcher, but he received a platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) injection that could help him avoid surgery.

“He’s going to miss probably another six weeks or so before he can do anything,” Martinez said.

Glover, 26, entered Spring Training encouraged by how healthy he felt, and how revitalized after altering his offseason routine to avoid the plethora of injuries that have hampered his career. But in his first game action of the spring, he faced just four batters before leaving. He never appeared in another Grapefruit League game.

Glover had been playing catch and long toss in extended camp. Once considered a potential closer of the future, he has been limited to 44 games in the big leagues since 2017.

Zimmerman continues to run on treadmill
The Nationals have been hopeful that Ryan Zimmerman will feel well enough to start running on the field during the homestand that runs through June 23. He has not played since April 27, a day before plantar fasciitis in his right foot put him on the injured list.

Zimmerman traveled with the team on its recent road trip to San Diego and Chicago and was scheduled to run on the treadmill Thursday. But Martinez did not want to commit to any timeline for when Zimmerman would take the next step, a crucial one before he is ready to play in a Minor League rehab game.

“Everything else is really good, he spent the week with us doing all baseball activities,” Martinez said. “He hit a lot. He fielded a lot, he threw, he did everything. The next hurdle is just the running portion. Hopefully, if he progresses, he should be pretty much ready to go out on a rehab out here soon, but the running’s going to be key.”

Worth noting
• First baseman Matt Adams (left oblique) took batting practice prior to Thursday’s game, and it looks like he'll be able to avoid a stint on the injured list.

• Reliever Justin Miller returned from a Minor League rehab assignment feeling stiffness in his right shoulder again and has been shut down. He threw a scoreless inning with a pair of strikeouts in his lone appearance for Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday. Miller was scheduled to meet with a team doctor Thursday.

• Reliever Austen Williams began a throwing program in recent days as he begins the slow process toward returning from a sprained right AC joint.

• The Nats announced they have agreed to terms with 20 players from the MLB Draft. The highest picks among them were fifth-round right-hander Tyler Dyson (Florida); sixth-round shortstop Jackson Cluff (BYU); ninth-round right-hander Hunter McMahon (Texas State); and 10th-round catcher Andrew Pratt (Lubbock Christian).

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.