Manager Manny Acta said this afternoon the Nationals recently released left-hander Gustavo Chacin, the former Blue Jays pitcher they signed to a minor-league deal with the hope he could compete for a rotation spot. Chacin signed a minor-league contract with the Phillies yesterday, hoping the world champions have more time to wait for his velocity to rebound following August 2007 shoulder surgery than the Nationals did.
“We signed him on the hope that his velocity would come back to where it was when he was a 13-game winner (in 2005). He was in the low 80s, and we just didn’t have enough room for him when we sent down Bergmann and Mock, and we have Colome,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We just didn’t have room for him in our five starters. … We didn’t have time to wait for the velocity to get back, be it taking maybe a month or two.”
The news was first revealed in a discussion of the minor-league rotation during Acta’s afternoon press conference.
Other news items from the afternoon:
—Jordan Zimmermann will be the Opening Day starter for Syracuse on Thursday, which puts him on a five-day schedule that lines up with his first scheduled big-league start on April 19. Rizzo said Zimmermann won’t be on a pitch count. Because of Zimmermann being in Class AAA, Mike O’Connor is pitching at Class AA Harrisburg until Zimmermann is called up. He’ll then take the vacant spot in the Syracuse rotation.
—Dmitri Young is taking ground balls and batting practice at extended spring training, but isn’t playing games yet. Rizzo said the Nationals want Young to be able to play back-to-back games, offensively and defensively, before sending him on a rehab assignment. “Then we’ll start the clock,” Rizzo said.