Josiah Gray Lands on 15-Day Injured List with Right Forearm Strain; Joan Adon recalled from AAA Rochester

In what has been a storm of arm injuries for pitchers in the last few days, the Nationals couldn't avoid the injury bug, with young SP Josiah Gray landing on the 15-Day IL
Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals
Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages

Nationals fans were met with some bad news Tuesday afternoon when the team announced that SP Josiah Gray had been placed on the 15-day injured list with a right elbow/forearm flexor strain. This comes after a very rough start to the season for Gray, going 0-2 with a 14.04 ERA in just 8.1 innings in two starts.

This adds some much needed context, as Gray did not look anything like his 2023 All Star self through his first two starts this season. His velocity was down to the low 90s on his fastball and while he has historically struggled with command, he was especially struggling this year.

In somewhat comforting news, Gray said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday at Oracle Park that he has a muscular strain and that there is no structural damage, which was confirmed by an MRI. Gray reported discomfort in his elbow after his start against the Pirates on April 4th, which hopefully keeps him from sustaining a more serious injury. Seeing the increase in elbow injuries in the last week or so raised concerns with the team and fans alike, but the lack of structural damage will hopefully eliminate the need for Tommy John Surgery or any other operation.

RHP Joan Adon was called up to replace Gray's roster spot and will slot into the rotation for the time being. Adon made 12 appearances (10 starts) for the Nationals last season, posting a 2-4 record with a 6.45 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 51.2 innings. He made one start in Triple-A Rochester this season prior to joining the Nationals, throwing 2.1 innings with 2 strikeouts while allowing 4 runs (2 earned).

Adon is a bit of a sacrificial lamb, as this won't be the first time he is thrown into the thick of it. He has flashed at times, but has struggled more often than not. Maybe now with another year under his belt he can iron out some of the inconsistencies. He ended up pitching well enough last night in a spot start, going 4 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits with 3 walks and 2 strikeouts. He did not get the win, or even qualify, but he did enough to put the Nats in a position to win as they were able to secure their first series win of the season with a 5-3 victory in the second game of the series against the Giants.

The Nationals do not have much pitching depth in their organization and that depth is already being tested early. It might be prudent for the Nationals to go out and add a couple of veterans on minor league deals just to have as insurance. They still have Jackson Rutledge, but beyond his arm there is no starting pitcher with real Major League experience.