On Tuesday afternoon, Bill Ladson of MLB.com broke some interesting news that greatly affects the Washington Nationals’ battle for the fifth pitching spot. One of the three candidates for that spot, Taylor Jordan, broke his ankle over the offseason.
Jordan is expected to be in competition with Ross Detwiler and Tanner Roark to be the fifth starting pitcher. Detwiler is the obvious favorite to win the spot, but Jordan was shaping up to be his biggest competition. In nine starts at the major league level last season, Jordan went 1-3, but posted a 3.66 ERA and struck out 29. Opponents bat just .268 against the 25-year-old.
According to the report, Jordan spent a month in a boot after after breaking his ankle in a freak accident while trying to exit a pool. He told Ladson that he’s coming in lighter than he had hoped to as he was unable to workout due to his injury. Manager Matt Williams said they’ll be monitoring him closely.
With this recent news, this about locks up the battle for Ross Detwiler before it even begins. Detwiler has gone through the full offseason program and is 100-percent healed from the back injury that sat him down last season. He was the obvious favorite, but now he’s definitively the guy.
Jordan has many good years ahead of him and the Nationals don’t need to rush him back. If his pitching fails and it’s obvious that he’s in discomfort during Spring Training, then they should slow him down or possibly shut him down. He’s a great young talent and he needs to be protected. There’s a bright future for him at the major league level, and there’s no need to rush.
While competition at Spring Training is great, there’s no need to force one. With Jordan coming in without going through a full offseason program, he’ll be at a severe disadvantage to Detwiler and Roark. There is absolutely no need for this young talent to be pushed in Spring Training and risk further injury. Don’t try to be a hero if it doesn’t feel right.