Nationals prospect A.J. Cole will make his MLB debut in place of injured Max Scherzer

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Nationals right-hander and top-100 prospect A.J. Cole will be called up today to make his MLB debut starting in place of the injured Max Scherzer.

Cole was originally the Nationals’ fourth-round draft pick in 2010, but Washington traded him to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez deal only to reacquire him in the three-team swap that sent Michael Morse to Seattle.

In calling up Cole for his debut the Nationals bypassed Tanner Roark, who started 32 games with a 2.85 ERA last season before being bumped to the bullpen by Scherzer’s arrival. For now the team is hoping that Scherzer will only miss one start with a thumb injury and Roark likely would have been limited to fewer than 75 pitches, so manager Matt Williams opted for the hard-throwing 23-year-old Cole versus Atlanta.

Cole has a 3.23 ERA and 60/18 K/BB ratio in 78 innings at Triple-A, including 11 starts there last season and three starts there this year.

Padres sign Jordan Lyles

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The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.

Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.

Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.