Michael Taylor began the season as the Nationals’ starting center fielder, but once Denard Span returned from the disabled list they sent the 24-year-old prospect to Triple-A.
Taylor is back in the majors now but this time it’ll be in a part-time role, as the Nationals have recalled him from Triple-A to replace injured backup outfielder Reed Johnson on the roster.
Span, Bryce Harper, and Jayson Werth are all healthy, so it’ll be interesting to see what type of plan manager Matt Williams has for getting Taylor some playing time. It’s also possible that he’s only around for a short-term solution until the Nationals can find another veteran to take Johnson’s role.
Before being sent back to the minors Taylor hit .271 with two homers and an .814 OPS in 12 games for the Nationals and he went 10-for-26 (.385) with a homer in eight games at Triple-A.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.