March 6, 2021

Washington Nationals to call up Nathan Karns to start vs. Orioles Tuesday

In a surprise move, the Washington Nationals announced Monday after their 6-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles they will call up RHP Nathan Karns for his Major League debut Tuesday against the O’s. Ross Detwiler, whose rotation spot Karns will take for the moment, was placed on the 15-day DL over the weekend with a  strained lat muscle.

Karns, 25, is currently 4-2 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.311 WHIP at Double-A Harrisburg. He strikes out 11.0 batters per nine innings while walking 3.6. Last year, at High-A Potomac, Karns went 8-4 with a 2.26 ERA and 1.019 WHIP with remarkably similar K/9 (10.9) and BB/9 (3.3).

Karns leapflogs three pitchers at AAA with Major League experience to earn the spot start; Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Young and Ryan Perry, none of whom is having a particularly good season. The team recently DFA’d Yunesky Maya in order to promote Jeff Kobernus last week.

Karns is big (6’3″, 230) and has always had good strikeout numbers in the minor leagues, but as a pitcher drafted out of college, he’s also always been old for his level, so he’s an interesting case study.

This move also speaks to the lack of organizational depth the Nats have at starting pitcher, as they reach into Double-A for a pitcher with an ERA over four instead of three pitchers at Triple-A with big league experience.

Karns will face the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft, who made his first start last week for Baltimore.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP


  1. […] the game, Johnson announced that the Nats optioned Xavier Cedeno to make room for right-hander Nathan Karns direct from Double-A Harrisburg. Karns will start Tuesday’s game against the […]

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