The Washington Nationals added Ryan Mattheus back to the active roster about an hour before Tuesday night’s game, calling the right-hander back from Triple-A Syracuse and optioning left-hander Xavier Cedeno back there.
Mattheus’ season hasn’t gone exactly the way the right-hander had hoped, as he spent the better parts of May, June and July on the disabled list with a self-inflicted broken hand. When he returned, he was not pitching with the same effectiveness the Nationals had come to expect from him.
Mattheus was optioned to Triple-A on Aug. 15, clearing the way for Drew Storen to return to the major league team. He allowed just one earned run with three strikeouts and no walks in 5 1/3 innings of work with Syracuse. Mattheus has a 6.26 ERA in 23 games with the Nationals this season.
“You’re not going to be happy about getting sent down, whatever level you’re at,” Mattheus said late Tuesday night, after learning around 11 a.m. he’d been promoted and arriving at the ballpark just before gametime.
“Once you’re over the initial shock of it, the initial fact that it can happen, you go down there and figure out what you need to do to get back. I had to fix some things. This team needs to win, and they need everyone able to contribute.”
Mattheus said Triple-A pitching coach Greg Booker noticed a small mechanical flaw in his delivery involving his head moving to an improper place. It was affecting his follow-through. That, in addition to renewed focus on doing what he does best: using his sinker to get ahead and throw strikes, allowed Mattheus to feel he’d righted himself some.
“That’s what Davey (Johnson) really stressed to me,” Mattheus said. “‘You’ve been successful when you come in, you attack, you get ahead early.’ So I went down there with that focus.
“I got (the mechanical issue) ironed out really quick. It was minor. It wasn’t any mechanical overhaul. When you’re up here, you don’t realize those things, because you’re trying to get guys out. You go down there, you can take a step back. It was good for me.”
Cedeno has been called up several times this season but all of his stints have been short, and he’s appeared only twice, in 1 1/3 scoreless innings pitched.