Baker views versatile Turner as starter

Baker views versatile Turner as starter

WASHINGTON -- Dusty Baker isn't a fan of labels. Not when it comes to his pitching staff, anyway. The Nationals' manager quickly dismissed the notion that right-hander Jacob Turner was a "swingman" after Turner came in in relief to pitch four scoreless innings in Washington's 2-1 victory over the D-backs on Wednesday.

"In my mind, he's a starter," Baker said of Turner, who has come out of the bullpen in his two most recent Major League outings.

Turner was viewed as a possible to candidate to fill Joe Ross' spot in the starting rotation after Ross was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse on Monday. Turner made a spot start April 24, hurling six innings of three-run ball before tossing one inning against the Mets last week.

Baker said there was nothing different to Ross' approach Wednesday. The decision to turn to Turner underscores Washington's inability to get consistent outings out of its bullpen, which is further depleted with A.J. Cole serving the final three games of the five-game suspension he earned toward the end of last season for throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang.

Josh Needelman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.