Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that the Nationals have acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Cubs for a player to be named later.
Washington is 60-63 and 9.5 games out of a playoff spot, so the pickup obviously isn’t for this season. DeJesus’ contract includes a $6.5 million team option (or $1.5 million buyout) for next year, which isn’t a crazy price to pay for a decent regular like DeJesus, but the Nationals already have Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Denard Span seemingly locked in as their 2014 outfield.
DeJesus is a left-handed hitter, so he doesn’t really fit as a platoon partner for Span, and $6.5 million would be awfully expensive for a fourth outfielder. Since signing a two-year, $10 million deal with the Cubs last offseason the 33-year-old DeJesus has hit .258 with 15 homers and a .746 OPS in 232 games while seeing time in all three outfield spots.
To make room for DeJesus’ arrival the Nationals released Roger Bernadina, who had been serving as their left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder. He’s hit just .178 in 85 games this season, but came into the year as a career .252 hitter with a .692 OPS.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”
Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.
Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.
Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.
So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.