JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals optioned right-hander A.J. Cole to Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday morning.
Cole appeared in three games this spring, pitching seven innings and allowing three runs on eight hits. He last pitched for Washington on Tuesday against the Tigers, when he threw three innings, allowing one run on two hits during the 6-4 victory.
Manager Matt Williams was impressed with Cole, but the skipper couldn't find any more innings for him during Spring Training. With the Nationals' rotation already set, Williams felt it was time for Cole to get ready for the season with Syracuse.
"I thought he pitched really well," Williams said of Cole's spring. "We have to get him back down to his normal routine. He is working on secondary pitches and that's the key for him. He runs the fastball in there in the mid-90s. As a starter, he can do that for extended innings. The key for him is the breaking ball and the changeup."
Cole had arguably his best season in professional baseball in 2014, going a combined 13-3 with a 3.16 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. He pitched 134 innings and struck out 111 batters. No wonder Cole is considered Washington's No. 2 prospect, according to MLB.com.