With Ross Ohlendorf landing on the 15-day disabled list and Taylor Jordan approaching his innings limit for the season, the Nationals had very few options to promote from the minor league system. The list included Nate Karns, who had a cup of coffee with the Nats earlier this season, Danny Rosenbaum, and yes, even Yunesky Maya.
Turns out, the Nats had other plans. On Tuesday afternoon, they added Ross Detwiler, who is dealing with herniated disks in his back, to the 60-day disabled list, which freed up a spot on the 40-man roster so they could add right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark to the big club. They demoted lefty Xavier Cedeño to make room on the 25-man roster.
This is an interesting move by the Nats. Roark has only started in about one-third of his appearances with Triple-A Syracuse this season. He's spent the majority of his time in the Chiefs bullpen, so he has the ability to relieve and start, which is right in the Nats wheelhouse right now. Davey Johnson likes to have two long relievers in his bullpen, and right now, Craig Stammen is the only one. Roark also would be available for a spot start, if and when necessary.
The Nats will need someone to start for Taylor Jordan after three or four more starts, so if Ross Ohlendorf isn't ready to come off of the disabled list before then, Roark would be a likely candidate.
In the International League this season, Roark has put up career numbers. He has a 3.15 ERA, 3.00 FIP, and 0.994 WHIP in 105.2 innings. His strikeout to walk ratio is a bit high (4.20), but he's kept his walks per nine innings at a very managable 1.7. Opponents in the IL are hitting an extraordinarily low .215 against him, but his .258 BABIP seems to indicate he may be getting a little lucky with those numbers, especially considering his 7.15 K/9 ratio.
Roark was acquired in 2010 from the Texas Rangers, along with Ryan Tatusko, for Cristian Guzman. While Roark won't show up on any top prospect lists, he hopes to come up to the big league level to find the same under-the-radar success he was able to produce in Syracuse. Not much goes under-the-radar in the majors, though.
#Nationals select RHP Tanner Roark from Syracuse, option LHP Xavier Cedeno to Syracuse & transfer LHP Ross Detwiler to 60-Day DL.
— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 6, 2013