Lannan and Maxwell recalled, Jordan Zimmermann making progress

Just because the trade deadline has passed doesn’t mean the Nationals aren’t making any moves.

With three starters in Stephen Strasburg, J.D. Martin, and Luis Atilano, as well as reliever Tyler Walker all on the disabled list, GM Mike Rizzo had recall left hander John Lannan from Class AA Harrisburg and outfielder Justin Maxwell from Class AAA Syracuse.

Lannan returned Sunday and started for the Nats in their game against Philadelphia going five innings allowing seven hits, two runs, and striking out three. The positive statistic to take out of this outing is that he only walked one batter. In 80 innings pitched this season, he has walked 36 batters and struck out 27, obviously that’s not the ratio Washington was expecting from their Opening Day starter.

If it were up to Rizzo he would have left Lannan in Class AA due to the fact that he hasn’t shown much improvement in the minors except for a better strikeout to walk ratio, but the injuries made gave him a change of plans. In seven starts for Harrisburg he posted a 1-4 record with a 4.20 ERA, struck out 28 and walked 10 in 40 2/3 innings pitched.

I think it’s a little early to say Lannan has got a case of the dreaded Steve Blass disease, despite his ugly record in the minors we have seen some improvement with his control. But now that more than half of the starting rotation is sidelined, expect to see Lannan on the mound for the Nats every fifth day.

As for the other recent call up, Justin Maxwell, he will look to give the regulars some relief in the outfield when necessary. The Maryland native is hitting just .105 in 2010 and has struck out 14 times in his 38 at bats on the season. Remarkably, he has also drawn 14 walks on the year giving him a .340 OBP.

Good news from the Jordan Zimmermann camp as the right-hander is ahead of schedule in his rehab from Tommy John surgery he underwent last August. Zimmermann is now with Class AAA Syracuse, continuing his rehab work by pitching on a five inning or 80-pitch limit. Zimmermann hopes to join the Nationals in early September for the final month of the season. He has said his goal during his assignment is to “put guys away faster” and to get a better feel for his pitches, such as his changeup and curveball.