MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Newly called up Glover perfect in debut

Newly called up Glover perfect in debut

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals on Wednesday made their second roster move in as many days, selecting the contract of reliever Koda Glover from Triple-A Syracuse and optioning right-hander Reynaldo Lopez to Syracuse. In addition, the Nationals designated left-hander Nick Lee for assignment.

The Nationals needed an extra reliever after using most of their bullpen in an 18-inning affair against the Pirates on Sunday. Enter Glover, who made his debut during Wednesday's 8-1 victory over the Dodgers.

It took only four pitches for Glover to retire the side in the ninth. Justin Turner flied out to Bryce Harper in right field, Andrew Toles grounded out to Glover and Scott Van Slyke lined out to left fielder Jayson Werth to end the game.

"For the first time, I was actually nervous. I can actually admit that. I don't normally get nervous. It got the blood pumping," Glover said. "After the first pitch, the nerves went away."

Before he entered, Glover was in the bullpen, absorbing knowledge from his fellow relievers, watching the game and observing the hitter's swings.

"Everybody is giving me what they know and stuff," he said. "The majority of it is, 'Don't change a thing.' Go out there and do what I do. That's what I tried to do."

Glover was taken in the eighth round of the 2015 Draft and rose quickly through the Minor League system. Glover, the 19th-best prospect in the Nationals' system according to MLBPipeline.com, started the season with Class A Potomac, then went to Double-A Harrisburg before being promoted to Syracuse. He had a combined 2.18 ERA and struck out 52 batters in 45 1/3 innings. His fastball has been clocked between 93 mph and 99 mph.

"[Glover] is a high-velocity guy. He is very aggressive with his fastball," assistant general manager Doug Harris said. "He has two breaking balls. One could be better than the other. He is a relentless attack guy. He shot through the system because he has a well-above-average pitch he has thrown for strikes. He has done it with a great deal of aggression. It kind of fits the role that he is in, and he has done a good job with it."

Glover, who received the call at 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday, said he barely slept a wink afterward. He becomes just the second member of the 2015 Draft class to make the big leagues, following the White Sox first-round pick, right-hander Carson Fulmer, who made his Major League debut on July 17.

"I'm running on fumes right now, but it's all good," Glover said. "Luckily, I've been blessed with opportunities the Nationals have given me. ... It's been a fantastic journey. I couldn't be happier about it."

As for Lopez, the Nationals' fifth-ranked prospect, he made his Major League debut on Tuesday and was hit hard in an 8-4 loss to the Dodgers.

Lopez fans nine in MLB debut

The problems started in the first inning, with Chase Utley hitting a leadoff home run as part of a three-RBI night. The next two hitters -- Howie Kendrick and Justin Turner -- reached base on a single and a double, respectively. Lopez got the next two outs, but Kendrick and Turner scored on a single by Joc Pederson.

Lopez acknowledged that he was nervous when the game started.

After the Dodgers scored another run in the second to make it 4-0, Lopez settled down and retired the next eight hitters. He finished with nine strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits.

"He was obviously throwing too many fastballs down the middle. In the big leagues, you can't do that," said Johnny DiPuglia, vice president of international operations. "He eventually went to his pitching repertoire. You saw the effect when he put his changeup and curveball in the mix. He is mature beyond his years, and I strongly believe in his next start, you will see a greater improvement."

Lee went 1-1 with one save and a 4.54 ERA in 32 games for Double-A Harrisburg in 2016. He was added to Washington's 40-man roster following the 2015 season.

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.