When Is Victor Arano Coming Back for the Washington Nationals?

Houston Astros v Washington Nationals
Houston Astros v Washington Nationals / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Just when you thought it was safe to bet on the Washington Nationals, somehow they get even worse. The last thing that any 23-40 team needs is to lose its most-used relief pitcher, but that is exactly what happened to the Nats and pitcher Victor Arano.

Arano was placed on the 15-day IL on Monday with inflammation in his left (plant) knee. This is a big blow to a team that was already in a tailspin as Arano led the team with 24 appearances out of the bullpen this season.

Now, Arano does have an ERA north of 5.00 with just one save. But, with 25 strikeouts in 23 ⅓ frames, he eats innings in the middle of games and has become a big part of this team despite some iffy metrics. 

Arano actually started the season off in phenomenal shape with a 1.64 ERA in 11 appearances in April. Word on the street is Arano made some changes to mechanics and mixed up his pitches. These changes worked right up until they didn’t. Arano posted a 6.52 ERA in May and a 13.50 in June before getting shelved. 

Latest Victor Arano Injury Update

Now that he’s on the 15-day IL, there are two main questions I have that need answering. When is he coming back and are the Nationals better off without him?

Arano is eligible to be re-activated from the IL on June 21 but is expected to miss more than the minimum. There is no clear timetable for recovery and I would be surprised to see him before July at the earliest, so why rush him back? It’s not as if he was contributing much and there is no need to risk further injury by rushing him back. Best to let him get back up to speed and try to find that groove he was in early in the year.

As far as whether or not the Nationals are better off without him, I think the answer is an obvious yes. But, with a catch.

Most teams would be better without Arano the way he looks. But, the Nationals are so bad they don't have anyone better to fill his spot. That is why he’s there in the first place with 24 relief appearances for Washington.

It will be interesting to see how this affects the bullpen over the next month or so while Arano remains out. My guess is that the Nats are going from bad to worse in a hurry.