WASHINGTON — Righthanded pitcher and Southampton product Kyle McGowin is back in the major leagues with the Nationals.
This time it is under more dire circumstances than when he made his big-league debut last September with Washington, and the trek was a lot longer than the route he took after playing with Triple-A Syracuse last season.
A graduate of Pierson High School in Sag Harbor, McGowin, 27, arrived in the nation’s capital Friday after righthander Anibal Sanchez was placed on the injured list with a hamstring issue. Sanchez left his start in the second inning against the Mets on Thursday and the Nationals summoned McGowin from Triple-A Fresno of the Pacific Coast League.
“He has been pitching well, really well,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said Friday. “His slider has been very good. He has been getting ahead of the hitters.”
Martinez, a Brooklyn native, said McGowin will be used as a reliever for now. He didn’t rule out using him as a starter at some point.
The Savannah State product was 4-2 with a 4.32 ERA in eight games (all starts) for Fresno this season. In 41 2⁄3 innings, he allowed 42 hits, including six homers, and 12 walks with 50 strikeouts.
“Kyle is off to a solid start this year and continues to command his fastball down in the zone to both sides of the plate,” Mark Scialabba, the Nationals’ director of player development, wrote in a text Friday. “He recently showed improved feel for his changeup and his slider continues to be a weapon vs. hitters from both sides of the plate.”
His last outing for Fresno came on May 12, when he went 5 2⁄3 innings and gave up no runs, one hit and one walk with 11 strikeouts.
He learned Thursday he was headed back to Washington.
“I got into D.C. at 6 a.m. and talked to Davey around 2 p.m.,” McGowin said Friday afternoon. “I just walked in and said what’s up? There was not a lot to talk about. He said to be ready to pitch and that was about it.”
Adding some intrigue to the promotion: McGowin recently was suspended 10 games by the PCL for having a foreign substance (pine tar) on his glove, according to Fresno pitching coach Brad Holman.
Martinez was asked Friday about the suspension. “Don’t really know much,” he said. McGowin was not available to the media after Martinez spoke to reporters.
The Nationals will end a three-game home series against the Cubs on Sunday before beginning a four-game series against the Mets at Citi Field on Monday. If the Nationals’ pitching rotation stays on schedule, they will need a starter on Tuesday to take Sanchez’s spot.
Last season with Washington, McGowin was 0-0 with a 5.87 ERA in five September games, including one start. He made his MLB debut Sept. 5 against St. Louis and made his only start Sept. 26 against the Marlins, pitching four scoreless innings. His ERA dropped to 2.70 after that game but shot up to 5.87 when the Rockies scored three runs in one inning in the last game of the Nationals’ season.
With Washington’s top farm team in California for the first time this year, it’s not as quick getting call-ups to the East Coast. In fact, the club has put several Triple-A pitchers and catchers with Double-A Harrisburg in Pennsylvania because that city is less than three hours from the nation’s capital.
McGowin enjoyed playing last season for Martinez, who was 82-80 as a rookie manager in 2018.
“He is awesome,” McGowin said. “It’s a nice, relaxing environment. He doesn’t put a lot of pressure on you, so it is easy to do your job.”