Cole was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday. Tanner Roark remains the leader in the competition for the fifth starter spot, with Bronson Arroyo serving as his only competition. Cole's upside is similar to Roark's, but he has some more refining to do at Triple-A. Look for Cole to provide organizational rotation depth this season, potentially amassing five or 10 big league starts throughout the campaign.
Cole added 15 pounds to his lanky frame this offseason after changing his diet, the Washington Post reports. His velocity dipped last season and he struggled in his major league debut, but Cole said he made a mechanical adjustment late in the year at Triple-A that boosted his fastball, and the added muscle could add some mph as well. The Nationals' rotation is full at the moment and Lucas Giolito looms, but Cole could still get another look at some point in 2016 if injuries open up a spot.
Nationals first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore (ankle) was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday. Washington also recalled A.J. Cole from Triple-A Syracuse.
Nationals pitching prospect A.J. Cole was removed from his start Monday for Triple-A Syracuse with groin tightness, per the Washington Post. He pitched just two innings. Any absence would be coming at an inopportune time for the 23-year-old Cole, who had rebounded from a terrible stretch to throw eight shutout innings in his last two outings.
The Nationals purchased the contract of right-hander Joe Ross, optioned right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole to Triple-A Syracuse, and moved right-handed pitcher Craig Stammen to the 60-day disabled list on Saturday, per the team's official website. Ross will make his big-league debut on Saturday against the Cubs. He went 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 54:12 K:BB ratio over nine starts (51 1/3 innings) in the minors. Cole made three appearances -- including one start -- for the Nationals, notching one save in 9 1/3 innings of work.
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