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Nationals still sticking with struggling Trevor Rosenthal

April 8, 2019
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Washington Nationals relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal (44) reacts during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Washington. The Mets won 11-8. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez plans to use struggling reliever Trevor Rosenthal in “lower pressure situations” until the former All-Star closer has some success.

Rosenthal is the first pitcher since 1995 to fail to retire any of the first nine batters he faced in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Former Pirates right-hander John Hope was the previous pitcher with a season-opening streak as long as Rosenthal’s.

“We’re going to try to keep him in lower pressure situations, absolutely,” Martinez said before the Nationals opened a three-game series in Philadelphia on Monday. “For him, it’s just about throwing strikes. I think once he gets that first out, he’s going to be OK.”

Rosenthal hit a batter, threw two wild pitches and issued a walk in the eighth inning of a 12-9 win over the Mets on Sunday. Rosenthal had 93 saves for the Cardinals in 2015-16. He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss the 2018 season.

“If it happens that we get a chance to put him in like we did yesterday, he’s going to pitch,” Martinez said. “He’s part of the eight. He’s got to pitch but he also understands that he has to throw strikes. We’ll see what happens in the next few days. Hopefully we got a big lead today and we can try to get him out there again see what happens.”

The Nationals gave Rosenthal a one-year, $8 million contract with a mutual option for 2020.

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