Nats' Taylor Jordan Ends Bumpy 2012 On High Note





WASHINGTON—Before righthander Taylor Jordan could pitch well at low Class A Hagerstown and in instructional league, he had to struggle at short-season Auburn.

Coming off Tommy John surgery, Jordan's ugly numbers in the New York-Penn League were well worth the trouble.

The day before he left for Auburn, his fastball topped out at 89 mph. When healthy, he usually throws in the low- to mid-90s with a sinker, slider and self-taught circle changeup.

In June and July, though, Jordan's velocity was off and he was leaving pitches in the middle of the zone.

"I was kind of upset about only throwing 89, but after seven months of rehab, that was what I had," said Jordan, who had the elbow surgery on Sept. 7, 2011. "My control wasn't there either."

No wonder the 23-year-old went 0-3, 8.16 in six starts for the Doubledays. For the 2009 ninth-rounder from Brevard (Fla.) CC, the start of the summer was a challenge.

"My arm was still tight and all that, so I was kind of surprised they moved me up," Jordan said. "But I'm happy they put me up there."

The Nationals advanced Jordan one more time, sending him to low Class A Hagerstown, where he went 3-4, 4.05 in nine starts, striking out 28 and walking nine in 40 innings. He had consecutive five-inning, no-run outings, and By the end of instructional league, his fastball was hitting 94 mph.  

The 6-foot-3 Jordan weighs 205 pounds, 15 more than when he signed with Washington. The Reds failed to sign him as an 18th-round pick in 2007 out of Merritt Island High, which is in Brevard County along with his junior college and the Nationals' spring training site in Viera.

"I basically just wanted to get drafted and take my shot," Jordan said.

When it's time to leave Florida in April, Jordan would like to continue making up for lost time.

"I'm in great shape right now, working my butt off," Jordan said, "I wouldn't be happy with anything other than Double-A. Wherever they send me, I'm ready."

CAPITAL GAINS

Mark Harris, who had been the hitting coach at Hagerstown, will serve the same role at high Class A Potomac this season. Brian Rupp, formerly the manager at Potomac, will serve as Hagerstown hitting coach.

• According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Chiefs ownership has been given a two-year extension through the end of the 2015 season to exercise its option to buy Alliance Bank Stadium.