Cabrera sent to 'pen by Nats

Updated: May 20, 2009, 11:11 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Winless starter Daniel Cabrera is out of the rotation for the Washington Nationals, who will add yet another rookie to the staff with the worst ERA in the majors.

Cabrera, 0-5 with 5.95 ERA, was in the bullpen Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He allowed seven runs and eight hits in five innings in his last start, a rain-shortened 7-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.

"It's been terrible," Cabrera said Wednesday. "Nothing good happens every time I go out there."

Cabrera will be replaced by Craig Stammen, who will be brought up from Triple-A Syracuse to make his major league debut Thursday against the Pirates. The move will means Washington will have a rotation with four rookies -- Shairon Martis, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and Stammen -- along with second-year player John Lannan. They are supported by a bullpen that entered Wednesday's game with a 1-14 record.

"We're hoping that the rookies come of age sooner that probably expected," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said.

Rizzo said Stammen and Detwiler will stay in the rotation on a start-by-start basis. Detwiler, who made his first major league start Monday, was promoted after Scott Olsen was placed on the disabled list with an ailing shoulder.

To make room for Stamman on the roster, the Nationals announced late Wednesday that reliever Garrett Mock will be optioned to Syracuse. Mock is 0-2 with a 6.92 ERA in 13 appearances.

The Nationals are going back to basics with Cabrera, who signed a $2.6 million, one-year contract after Baltimore failed to offer a deal in December and allowed him to become a free agent. Manager Manny Acta said Cabrera has never learned how to properly toe the rubber, placing his spikes on top of it instead of in front of it.

"I've been pitching that way all my life," Cabrera said. "It's wrong. You never can pitch from the top of the rubber. I've been doing it; I didn't know I was doing it. [Pitching coach Randy St. Claire] told me if I can put my feet where everybody puts it I can do better, so that's what I'm trying to do."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press