NL East Notes: Pivetta, Brinson, Jennings, Arano

Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta sat down with The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro for a candid interview about the difficulty of being optioned to Triple-A and the path he knows he needs to take back to the Majors (subscription required). The 26-year-old expressed disappointment in what he felt was “an early send-down,” though he made clear he respects the decision and understands what he has to improve upon to return. The Phils made no promises about the length of his minor league stay, Montemurro notes, suggesting that Pivetta’s fate is largely in his own hands. Perhaps most interestingly, Pivetta spoke about the emotional conflict of being sent to the minors and having his job taken by close friend Jerad Eickhoff“That’s the brutality of what is baseball,” Pivetta explained. “Your best friends and guys that have really helped you out, they come up and they take your jobs and you can’t feel hardship against those guys because they’re your friends. … The road he had to come back is extraordinary and it’s a feat and it’s a great thing for him. So I’m not ever going to feel down about that.” The interview serves as a good reminder of the oft-overlooked human component of roster transactions we see on a daily basis.

Here’s more from the NL East…

  • A demotion to Triple-A New Orleans could be looming for Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson if he’s not able to quickly right the ship at the plate, writes Joe Frisaro of The former top prospect struggled through much of the 2018 season but gave Marlins fans hope with a huge Spring Training performance. However, he’s now mired in a disastrous 1-for-27 tailspin over his past 11 games, having punched out 16 times in that span. Even more troubling, as Frisaro points out, is the fact that Brinson has just one hit against a breaking pitch all season.
  • The Nationals have assigned just-inked southpaw Dan Jennings to the club’s Double-A affiliate, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post tweets. Heading to the penultimate stop of the minors doesn’t mean that the 32-year-old is far from the majors; to the contrary, it puts him much closer to Nationals Park — in Harrisburg, PA instead of the club’s Triple-A outpost in Fresno, CA. Jennings owns a 2.96 ERA over 344 career innings in the majors; given the present state of the Nats’ pen, he figures to be called up in fairly short order.
  • It still isn’t clear what’s going on in the inflamed elbow of Phillies righty Victor Arano. He’s due soon for an MRI, but first needs an ultrasound to assess what precise type of imaging to pursue, manager Gabe Kapler tells reporters including Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The 24-year-old Arano had been off to an interesting start to the season, racking up seven strikeouts against two walks in 4 2/3 innings with an eye-popping 25.0% swinging-strike rate. It’s a small sample, to be sure, but nevertheless a promising development for a young reliever who already showed ample promise last year. He and the Phillies will obviously hope that the elbow issue turns out to be minor.

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