Does Washington Nationals general manager, Mike Rizzo, have a type? A type of pitcher he wants on his team, that is? Surely not. One thing is for sure, he doesn’t shy away from pitchers who have been under the knife before, however.
Whether it’s draft day, a reclamation project, or one of his own, Rizzo seems to love those who have a Tommy John surgery (or two) on their resume. The latest example, is Josh Rogers, a lengthy left-hander who was kicked to the curb earlier in the year by the Baltimore Orioles. Three days later, Rogers was on his way to Rochester, signed to a minor league contract by the Nationals.
A career ERA over eight, and two-plus years since last appearing in the big leagues, Rogers found himself on the bump at Nationals Park in the second game of a double header against a fast charging New York Mets team.
You wouldn’t have thought the name Josh Rogers would appear as a starting pitcher for the 2021 Nationals. You would’t have thought Paolo Espino and Sean Nolin would be stalwarts in the 2021 Nationals rotation either.
Josh Rogers pitched well enough to get the win against the Mets, and may have earned himself a longer stay in the bigs with the Nationals.
Rogers pitched into the sixth, keeping the Mets at bay for most of the night before giving way to the bullpen. He walked a few, gave up a long home run to Kevin Pillar, and pitched in and out of trouble in half the innings he pitched. By no means did he look like Cy Young, or even Gio Gonzalez, but he pitched well enough to earn his first win since 2018.
Aside from what he accomplished on the mound, Rogers brought a lot of energy. Rocking back and forth on the mound prior to delivering, propping his hat on his head as if he was a school boy, and smiling every chance he got, Rogers was a breath of fresh air for a team mired in a losing streak.
Nationals fans need something to keep their interest as the calendar turns to September, and the L’s pile up. Sure Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz are the future, though they are going through the normal growing pains at the moment. Juan Soto is the Childish Bambino, on the rare occasions opposing pitchers actually give him something to hit. There is not much else.
Now, there is Josh Rogers, a reclamation project in his own right. For one night he captivated fans, maybe more with his presentation than pitching, but his pitching nonetheless. Here’s hoping he’s earned another chance to throw on a big league mound.