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.