PHOENIX — Shawn Hill’s return from the disabled list will have a domino effect on the rest of the Washington Nationals’ pitching staff.
With Hill due to start tomorrow night against the Philadelphia Phillies after three months on the DL with injuries to his right elbow and left shoulder, left-hander Mike Bacsik will be bumped from the Nationals’ rotation and moved to the bullpen.
“It’s not a big adjustment for me. I’ve done it before,” Bacsik said. “It’ll be a new challenge. I’m excited to join those guys. Everybody down there is throwing the ball great, and hopefully it will rub off on me.”
Though Bacsik, a 29-year-old journeyman, pitched well at times during his three-month stint in the Washington rotation, he showed signs of faltering recently. He gave up five runs in only four innings yesterday after surrendering five runs in five innings Tuesday in San Francisco.
Bacsik made more headlines in that game for serving up Barry Bonds‘ 756th career homer, an event that made him a popular man over the last week. He conducted dozens of interviews and was constantly asked about the pitch, perhaps interfering with his preparation for yesterday’s start.
“I was tired with it, but that’s no excuse,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys that have to go through it all the time. Was it a first for me? Yeah. But when today came and I got out on the mound, it was all gone away. It was just bad pitching by me.”
Batista comes through
Tony Batista started in Young’s place yesterday and continued his recent hot streak at the plate with a seventh-inning single. The veteran infielder has six hits in 12 at-bats this month, raising his season average from .214 to .265.
Batista has proved even more valuable to the Nationals off the bench with a team-high 10 hits and eight RBI as a pinch-hitter. That success rate has earned him his manager’s trust in pressure situations.
“He’s done a tremendous job coming off the bench as of late,” Acta said. “Righty, lefty, it doesn’t matter. … When we need our best hitter in the best situation, he’ll be the guy off the bench. That’s what he has shown the last month or so.”
Jesus Colome threw one perfect inning yesterday in his first rehab appearance for the Nationals’ Gulf Coast League rookie team. Colome, out since June 24 with an infection on his right buttock that required surgery, struck out one and threw 14 pitches. …
Yesterday’s come-from-behind win kept Washington from getting swept by the Diamondbacks this season. Arizona had won the two clubs’ first six meetings.
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