Woodbridge, Va - The Potomac Nationals announced a major overhaul in their active roster today, as team-saves leader Atahualpa Severino and team-wins leader Jeff Mandel have been promoted to the Double-A Harrisburg Senators while Washington Nationals 2009 first-round pick Drew Storen will be joining the team from the Low-A Hagerstown Suns.
Also being added to the Potomac roster from Hagerstown are pitchers Hassan Pena and Patrick McCoy. Potomac right-handed reliever Chris Rivera has also been optioned to the Suns.
Severino had been a lights-out option for manager Trent Jewett in the back end of his bullpen in 2009. His 13 saves were good for second in the Carolina League and he sported a 4-0 record with a sparkling 2.54 ERA. The hard-throwing lefty won the Potomac Reliever of the Month award for June when he posted a 2-0 record with a 0.82 earned run average. On the season, "Wahpah" held lefties to a .172 batting average against and just a .211 mark overall. He will join former teammates Clint Everts and Carlos Martinez in the Harrisburg bullpen.
Mandel is the team leader in wins (8), innings pitched (99 2/3), starts (17) and double plays induced (13). A workhorse on the mound, Mandel had pitched at least five innings in 16 of his 17 starts, culminating in his seven-inning, one-run performance in Sunday's win against Kinston from Pfitzner Stadium. From April 23-May 24, the Baylor product won six consecutive starts en route to a 4-1 record in the month of May and a Potomac Pitcher of the Month award. The Senators rotation will now consist of three-fifths of the P-Nats' Opening Day rotation in Erik Arnesen, Brad Meyers, and now Mandel.
It will be difficult to replace pitchers like Severino and Mandel, but the Nationals believe that Storen can do more than pull his weight. The Nationals second first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2009 draft, Storen made his debut for the Suns back on June 18. After initial hiccups in June, Storen has sizzled in July, compiling a 1.86 ERA in seven appearances. In 11 games for the Suns, spanning 14 2/3 innings, Storen had struck out an astounding 26 batters without walking a single opposing hitter. The Stanford product has held South Atlantic League batters to a .193 average including a .108 mark (4-37) against right-handers.
A potential closer-of-the-future for the Nationals, Storen will likely be asked to fill the void left by Severino late in ballgames.
Pena has pitched in Potomac before, going 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA in eight starts with the team. In 2009 with the Suns, Pena had been dazzling going 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in three starts. His last outing with the Suns came on July 17 when he held Asheville scoreless on just two hits while striking out five. Pena, Washington's 13th round pick in the 2006 Draft out of Cuba, is a starter by trade who could be able to replace Mandel in the Potomac rotation.
McCoy, a left-handed pitcher taken in the 10th round by the Nationals in 2007, has had an up-and-down season with the Suns, but has excelled when coming out of the bullpen. As a starter in four appearances, McCoy is 0-3 with an ERA of 11.51, but as a reliever, the southpaw out of Tucson, Arizona is 2-0 with a minuscule 0.78 earned run average. He has struck out 24 in 23.0 innings while walking just three batters out of the bullpen. McCoy will replace Severino as the southpaw in the Potomac 'pen.
The sidewinding Rivera enjoyed success against right-handed hitters with the Nationals, holding them to a .190 average. He had begun to pitch better in the month of July, compiling a 2.57 ERA in seven appearances. After joining the team out of the Independent Frontier League at the end of May, Rivera had made 16 appearances out of the bullpen with a 3.94 ERA to his credit.
The new P-Nats will join their teammates before the squad heads to Lynchburg on Tuesday morning to begin a three-game series with the Hillcats. The six-game road trip will also take the team through Salem for three games against the first-place Red Sox.
Tuesday's opener with Lynchburg is set for 7:05 p.m. and you can hear all the action with Dan McGinn and Anthony Masterson beginning at 6:45 with the Potomac Nationals pre-game show only at www.potomacnationals.com.
For more information on tickets, daily promotions, and all things P-Nats, call (703) 590-2311 or log onto www.potomacnationals.com to join the party!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.