Let the Washington Nationals’ Great Bullpen Shuffle of 2009 continue.
The Nationals designated right-hander Julian Tavarez for assignment after the 36-year-old gave up a run and three hits in 2/3 of an inning on Sunday. They called up Logan Kensing - another in-season addition - to take Tavarez’s place, making Joe Beimel the only member of the Nationals’ Opening Day bullpen still on the team.
“They made the right decision,” Tavarez said. “I just wish I would have done a better job - that we would have done a better job. I’m a professional. I just didn’t do my job.”
In a way, Tavarez was the ultimate chewing-gum-and-baling-wire addition, signed by Rizzo in spring training for the same reasons that have landed him jobs with 10 other teams: his versatility and willingness to accept different roles.
The move worked for a while - the 36-year-old had a 2.79 ERA in his first 12 appearances with the Nationals, even sliding briefly into the closer’s role and earning a save against the Phillies on April 29.
That night was practically the nadir of his time in Washington, though; he walked 24 batters in 25 1/3 innings after that, losing six games and, eventually, his spot on the roster.
“It’s tough to say (what didn’t work),” Tavarez said. “I don’t have the right answer for you at this time, and I don’t think I will have it tomorrow, either. All I can tell you is that I’m really healthy, I’m hungry to play ball, and I will take the ball at any time. I can’t say that I’m going to go out there and try, because anybody can try. You’ve got to go out there and do it.”
He wouldn’t rule out the possibility of accepting an assignment to the minor leagues, but said several times that he’s hopeful another team will give him a call. The guess here is he elects free agency. And given the list of ex-Nationals relievers who have been signed by other clubs this season — Steven Shell, Mike Hinckley, Kip Wells — don’t be surprised if Tavarez gets another shot somewhere.
Not much else to say about the game. Garrett Mock was disappointing in his first start, giving up seven runs in 3 1/3 innings, most of the damage coming in the Cubs’ seven-run fourth. But only four of the runs Mock allowed were earned. The Nationals made a pair of errors in the fourth inning that allowed three runs to score.
“We came out of the All-Star break trying to refocus, send a lot of messages and get some things organized,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “Today was a step backwards - just a breakdown all the way around on the ballclub.”
So that’s a sweep for the Cubs. Maybe the Mets will be more forgiving — they come into town for a three-game series starting tomorrow. Their lineup is banged up, and their rotation for the series doesn’t include Johan Santana. But the Nationals are a mess.
That’s it for tonight. Talk to you tomorrow.