The badly-slumping Cardinals have dropped three straight games and five of their last eight. And now they’ve also lost a member of their starting rotation for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time.
According to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, right-hander Jake Westbrook suffered a strained right oblique during his start Saturday night against the Brewers. He has been ruled out for his next turn and there’s a chance he won’t pitch again in the regular season, pending the results of an upcoming exam.
Westbrook has registered a 3.97 ERA and 1.39 WHIP across 174 2/3 innings (28 starts) for second-place St. Louis. The 34-year-old sinkerballer landed a one-year contract extension earlier this summer.
Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Lance Lynn are all candidates to take the vacant rotation spot.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.