Nats recall Giolito to start finale vs. Rockies

Utility infielder Difo sent down to Double-A Harrisburg

Nats recall Giolito to start finale vs. Rockies

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals recalled top prospect Lucas Giolito on Sunday, optioning infielder Wilmer Difo to Double-A Harrisburg in a corresponding move.

Giolito, the No. 4 overall prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com, got the call for his fourth big league start Sunday against the Rockies at Nationals Park. The righty had a 4.91 ERA over 11 innings in his three previous outings.

"I'm hoping he throws up a gem against a very tough lineup," manager Dusty Baker said Saturday.

The Nationals' starting rotation has been hampered by injures to Joe Ross, who has been out with right shoulder inflammation since early July, and Stephen Strasburg, who has missed two starts since being placed on the disabled list with right elbow soreness. Rookies Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and A.J. Cole have combined to fill in for the injured hurlers, with mixed results.

Difo hit .257/.297/.314 in 37 plate appearances for the Nats this season while filling in at shortstop, second base and third base. He will likely be recalled once rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Alex Putterman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.