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Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle was going through his usual routine Monday Authentic Riley Sutter Jersey , preparing if needed for a save, when general manager Mike Rizzo sought him out.
Rizzo wanted to discuss two things: The Nationals were trading for two-time All-Star reliever Kelvin Herrera, and Doolittle was going to keep his ninth-inning job.
Getting a jump on the trade deadline, the Nationals picked up right-hander Herrera from the Kansas City Royals for three minor leaguers, adding him to a back end of the bullpen that already includes the lefty Doolittle and righties Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler.
”It’s almost their way of saying, `Here’s some help. Here’s some reinforcements.’ I think it’s one of those situations where you can’t have too many options down there,” Doolittle said. ”You get a guy who’s pitched in every high-leverage role from the seventh inning on. He’s won a World Series. … We’re planning on playing some really meaningful games down the stretch and making a run into the playoffs. We’re gonna need some help. I think it’s awesome.”
As for the effect on his role, which the Nationals say won’t change, Doolittle called it ”definitely a confidence boost” to hear that it’s ”still my job.”
”You want to add some stuff, but you don’t want to have too many cooks in the kitchen,” Doolittle said. ”It’s not necessarily that guys are super-attached to their roles, but they like to know what to expect – when they’re going to pitch in a game, when to get ready, that sort of stuff.”
The Nationals sent infielder Kelvin Gutierrez Authentic Kody Clark Jersey , outfielder Blake Perkins and 17-year-old pitcher Yohanse Morel to Kansas City in the deal announced during Washington’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees. Gutierrez heads to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Perkins will be assigned to Class A Wilmington, and Morel goes to rookie ball.
Herrera has 14 saves and a 1.05 ERA this season. He’s allowed three earned runs in 25 2/3 innings while striking out 22 batters and walking two.
”It’s just a moment you don’t want to see,” Herrera said about leaving his only major league home. ”It’s always hard. I was born and raised (as) a player here.”
The 28-year-old helped Kansas City win the 2015 World Series – and is among the last players left from that title team. He is 23-27 with 57 saves and a 2.75 ERA across 442 games in relief over eight seasons in the majors.
”We’ve known Kelvin since he signed with us when he was 16 years old. He’s one of the very best competitors that I’ve ever been around, probably that this organization has seen,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. ”Without him, there is no way we can ever make it to the World Series, win a World Series.”
Kintzler, the usual seventh-inning man for Washington, went on the disabled list June 10 with a right forearm flexor strain, and Madson spent time on the DL earlier this season.
Madson was a teammate of Herrera’s on the 2015 champions.
”He’s a bulldog,” Madson said. ”I take it with welcoming arms. Let the old horse rest a little bit.”
Instead of waiting to make moves at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, the Nationals opted to strike now. They are the two-time reigning NL East champions but have never won a postseason series. Washington also currently stands in second place in the division, entering Monday 3 games behind the Atlanta Braves.
The Royals Blake Comeau Jersey , meanwhile, are way out of contention in the AL Central in last place and 22-49 going into the day. They already shipped Jon Jay to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a pair of minor leaguers earlier in June.
”We’d like to be holding onto our players longer,” Moore said, ”but where we are in the standings and what we’re faced with and how we’re playing, if we can get the right move, it’s important to move.”
AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta and freelancer Alan Eskew in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.
The Texas Rangers welcomed back shortstop Elvis Andrus to their lineup, while the Kansas City Royals said goodbye to closer Kelvin Herrera.
Manager Jeff Banister faces a juggling act with getting all his infielders sufficient playing time with Andrus off the disabled list as the Rangers continue a three-game series with the Royals Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Royals manager Ned Yost faces a problem of who will close games with Herrera dealt to the Washington Nationals for three minor league prospects third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, outfielder Blake Perkins and 17-year-old Dominican right-hander Yohanse Morel.
Andrus was activated Monday after missing 59 games with a fractured right elbow after being hit by a pitch on April 11.
Banister said Andrus will start all three games against the Royals. He went 0-for-3, walked twice and scored a run in his first game back as Texas opened the series with a 6-3 victory
Jurickson Profar, who started 56 games at shortstop while Andrus was on the disabled list, started at second in the series opener, will play third base Tuesday and DH Wednesday.
Banister met with Andrus. Profar Carl Soderberg Jersey , Rougned Odor and Adrian Beltre Monday with a goal to play all four in about five games a week.
“It’s going to be really hard,” Banister said of rearranging the playing time to keep all four sharp and healthy. “Profar has made a case to be one of the everyday players. And everything we’ve challenged (Odor) to do, he’s progressively gotten better. He’s been a significant player on this team and will continue to be one.”
Beltre, who belted a three-run homer Monday, will probably be the designated hitter more than he has in the past.
Andrus had never been on the disabled list before this season.
“A guy that has played 10 consecutive years you don’t replace,” Banister said. “You miss everything he does and what he was able to do. He was our three-hole hitter and one of the better centerpieces of the offense. He did a lot of things for us offensively. Obviously, he was one of the leaders with Beltre on defense.”
Herrera was 14 for 16 in save situations this season. Herrera, Greg Holland and Wade Davis were part of Royals’ feared bullpens that helped them win the 2015 World Series and the 2014 American League championship. Herrera can be a free agent after the season and the Nationals needed bullpen help.
“Without him, there is no way we can ever make it to the World Series, win a World Series,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “He’s simply family. He knows he has relationships here that are special.”
The Rangers won their third straight and will seek a season high fourth straight win as Cole Hamels starts against Jason Hammel.
Hamels is 3-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 14 starts this season. The Rangers are 4-10 in his starts this season. He is 3-2 with a 3.51 ERA in six career starts against Kansas City.
Hammel is 0-4 with a 4.26 ERA in six home starts this season and winless in his past eight home starts.
Hammel is 2-3 with a 4.07 ERA in nine career outings against the Rangers. He tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings on May 27 to win at Texas. The losing pitcher was Hamels.
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