Nationals place Justin Miller on IL, call up Tanner Rainey

Todd Dybas
NBC Sports Washington
Washington navigates the fallout from yet another injury by summoning Rainey to the big leagues.
Washington navigates the fallout from yet another injury by summoning Rainey to the big leagues.

Nationals place Justin Miller on IL, call up Tanner Rainey originally appeared on nbcsportswashington.com

WASHINGTON -- More injuries, more moves.

Right-handed reliever Justin Miller was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday because of a rotator cuff strain. Taking his place in the maligned Washington bullpen is Tanner Rainey, who arrived Saturday from Fresno.

Rainey arrived in the offseason as the other side of the Tanner Roark trade, which is playing out as a mistake. Roark has a 129 ERA-plus this season. Jeremy Hellickson and Anibal Sanchez are at 74 and 87, respectively. The trade was largely a cost-cutting move. Roark makes $10 million this season. Hellickson and Sanchez makes $9.3 million in base salary combined.

Rainey throws hard. He also has command issues.

Rainey threw 18 innings for Triple-A Fresno this year. He walked 12 and struck out 32. Rainey's ERA was 4.00. He pitched seven major-league innings in 2018 for Cincinnati, allowed four home runs, walked 12 and earned a 24.43 ERA for the effort.

Why is Rainey here? The Nationals have limited options in the minor leagues. They designated Jimmy Cordero for assignment already this year. They did the same with Austin Adams before trading him. Austen Williams remains on the injured list. Kyle McGowin, now the long man in the bullpen because Erick Fedde has entered the rotation, was already up. Only Austin Voth, a starter in Triple-A, and James Bourque, a reliever for Double-A Harrisburg, are on the 40-man roster but not in the majors or on the injured list.

Victor Robles was not in the starting lineup Saturday a day after being hit by a pitch on the left wrist. He's sore and was available to pinch-run. The Nationals are labeling him day-to-day.

Michael A. Taylor took Robles' spot in the outfield. Adam Eaton returned to the lineup following a day off. Trea Turner remained atop the lineup Saturday despite Eaton's return.

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