WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals designated struggling reliever Brad Lidge for assignment Sunday and activated reliever Ryan Mattheus.
Lidge signed a $1 million, one-year contract as a free agent in the offseason to add veteran bullpen depth behind closer Drew Storen and All-Star Tyler Clippard, but the 35-year-old right-hander couldn’t find the form that made him a two-time All-Star with Houston and Philadelphia. He went 0-1 with two saves and a 9.64 ERA in 11 appearances with the Nationals, and opponents were batting .308 against him.
Lidge allowed three runs in Washington’s 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday and was the losing pitcher against New York on Saturday, giving up two runs in the 14th inning of a 5-3 defeat.
When Storen had elbow surgery early in the season, Lidge began sharing the closing duties with Henry Rodriguez, but an abdominal strain sent Lidge to the disabled list in late April. He was reinstated on June 7.
Lidge debuted with the Astros in 2002. He has 225 career saves, and helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series by going the entire regular season and postseason without blowing a save.
Mattheus missed the last 24 games with a plantar fascia strain in his left foot. The 28-year-old right-hander went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three rehab appearances with Double-A Harrisburg and Single-A Potomac.
In 19 relief appearances with Washington this season, Mattheus is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA.