WASHINGTON -- In need of another pitcher in the bullpen, the Nationals acquired left-hander Marc Rzepczynski and cash in a trade with the A's for Minor League infielder Max Schrock on Thursday.
Rzepczynski was activated before Thursday's 4-0 win over the Orioles, while the Nationals optioned right-hander Reynaldo Lopez to Triple-A Syracuse. Rzepczynski did not see action with Max Scherzer picking up most of the load with eight dominant innings.
"I feel excited," Rzepczynski said. "I was a little in shock. I was traded five times, three at the [non-waiver Trade Deadline]. But this one got to me a little bit. … I was quite shocked yesterday. I was taking a nap when all this happened. I was just relaxing.
"I am happy to be here. I go from a team that is struggling a little to a team that is in first place. What else can you ask for this time of year?"
Washington is going through a 20-game stretch without a day off, and its bullpen has been overworked. In fact, in its last 10 games, the bullpen had allowed 20 earned runs in 37 innings before Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth Thursday.
To make matters worse, the team didn't have a quality left-hander in the bullpen. Oliver Perez was the only lefty prior to Thursday, but he has been dealing with back issues and has been hit hard. Since Aug. 6, Perez has allowed eight runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Enter Rzepczynski, who posted a 3.00 ERA in 56 relief appearances for the A's this season and struck out 37 batters in 36 innings. His 70.5 percent ground-ball rate in 2016 is the second best in the Major Leagues behind Orioles closer Zach Britton.
"It's a necessary move because we have only one left-hander, especially with [Sammy] Solis down," manager Dusty Baker said. "We were hoping we would get some reinforcements, especially from the left side. Rzepczynski's stats and his track record looks very good. He can help us."
Lopez made five starts for Washington and had a 5.33 ERA. His best game was last Thursday, when he pitched seven innings and struck out 11 batters in an 8-2 victory over the Braves.
As for Schrock, he was drafted by the Nationals in the 13th round of the 2015 Draft and ranked by MLBPipeline.com as Washington's No. 17 prospect. He had spent the 2016 season with Class A Hagerstown and Class A Advanced Potomac. In 121 games, Schrock hit a combined .333 with nine home runs and 68 RBIs.
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.