A calf strain cost Matt Belisle six weeks in the middle of the season, but when he was healthy he was sharp in his first campaign with the Nationals, posting the best walk rate and ERA of his career in a middle relief role. The 35-year-old doesn't have the overpowering arsenal to work in higher-leverage situations, but he should be able to secure a major league job once again in 2017, especially on a rebuilding Twins squad.
Belisle signed a one-year contract with the Twins on Thursday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. During his age 36 season with the Nationals, Belisle put together what may have been one of the best seasons of his career. Over 40 games (46 innings) he compiled a 1.76 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. However, while these marks are fantastic, his fantasy appeal is rather limited. He owned a K-rate of just 17.2 percent in 2016 and didn't see many high-leverage situations, as he picked up just four holds all season.
Belisle has allowed four runs with 13 strikeouts over 14.2 innings during July. The 12-year vet has been extremely efficient this year, owning a career best in ERA (1.98) and second-best WHIP (1.10). Even with his stellar play in middle relief, Belisle has no save chances this season, and if there was any previous path to that role, it just closed down with the Nationals' acquisition of former Pirates closer Mark Melancon.
Belisle (calf) was reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday. Belisle hasn't pitched in the majors since he suffered a calf strain in late April, but he did have a rather lengthy rehab assignment, suggesting health shouldn't be an issue. Even with Jonathan Papelbon (intercostal strain) taking his place on the disabled list, Belisle doesn't figure to get much work in high-leverage spots.
Belisle (calf) gave up two hits and one earned run in one inning Sunday for Double-A Harrisburg. This was Belisle's third rehab game with Harrisburg after injuring his calf during a Nationals game in late April. He has allowed two earned runs in four innings of work at Harrisburg and is expected to rejoin the Nationals' bullpen soon.
Belisle (calf) will likely have his rehab assignment moved to Double-A Harrisburg, Chase Hughes of CSN Maryland reports. Belisle began a rehab assignment Monday for High-A Potomac, and through three appearances, has allowed two earned runs over a total of four innings. The right-hander believes he is ready to return to the majors at any point, though the Nationals appear more inclined to take it slowly with his rehab.