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Nationals send Sean Doolittle to injured list

washington nationalsThe Washington Nationals have placed former closer Sean Doolittle on the injured list, retroactive to Aug. 11, and called up 2017 first-round pick Seth Romero to take his place in the bullpen.

Doolittle, a UVA Baseball alum, has struggled mightily in 2020, giving up five runs in five appearances, including three homers.

His velocity has been noticeably off from past years. According to FanGraphs, Doolittle’s fastball is averaging 90.8 mph, down from 93.8 mph in 2019.

For a guy who relies on the high fastball – FanGraphs has him throwing it 87.9 percent of the time over his career, though down a bit in 2020, at 81.9 percent – the dropoff has been significant.

Romero, 24, will be the only lefty in the Nats’ pen, with the losses of Doolittle and Sam Freeman, who left a relief appearance on Wednesday with a flexor strain in his left arm, and was also placed on the IL on Thursday.

Romero has pitched a total of 47.1 professional innings since being taken in the 2017 MLB draft, none above the low-A level.

He had been working out at the team’s alternate training site before being added to the taxi squad for the big-league team ahead of the current road trip.

Story by Chris Graham