WASHINGTON — Lucas Giolito’s time in the spotlight will be put on hold, it seems.
Giolito, who started two games for the Nationals and put together one strong outing and one subpar outing, will remain in the minor leagues for the time being. In his place, 22-year-old Reynaldo Lopez will start for the big-league squad on Tuesday, Nationals manager Dusty Baker announced Sunday.
“Giolito needs some work, especially with his breaking ball and his location,” Baker said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic.
Lopez has spent the majority of the season at AA Harrisburg, where he went 3-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 76.1 innings. He struck out 100 batters while walking 25, and his WHIP was 1.231. More recently, he’s pitched 11.0 innings over two starts at AAA Syracuse, managing a 3.27 ERA while striking out nine and walking six.
He is the No. 5 prospect in the Nationals system, per MLB.com, behind Giolito, Trea Turner, Victor Robles and Erick Fedde. His fastball, considered his best pitch, threatens triple digits, and scouts also like his curveball.
As for Giolito, Baker says he’ll get another chance, again per CSN Mid-Atlantic.
“He’s pitching on the same day as Lopez and that’s by design. If things don’t work out or if Joe Ross isn’t ready, then we’ll go back to Giolito after he gets some work,” Baker said.
To make room for Lopez on the roster, reliever Sammy Solis was sent to the 15-day DL with a sore right knee. Because Lopez is not on the 40-man roster, another move will need to be made for him to fit. In all likelihood, Trea Turner or Michael A. Taylor will be sent down to the minors.