Tanner Roark Earns Invite To Nats' Camp With Big Winter

WASHINGTON—Righthander Tanner Roark was about to work out, in preparation for another minor league spring training, when he received news he didn't even think was possible. Farm director Doug Harris called to extend an invitation to major league camp.

The 26-year-old Roark will be making his first trip to the major league side after going 1-1, 3.60 in six starts for Margarita in the Venezuela League.

That solid showing came after he had a 2.70 ERA in 37 innings in August and September with Triple-A Syracuse.

Getting Harris' call was "a big surprise because I thought all the roster spots had filled up," Roark said. "I thought everyone who needed to know already knew. It sure gave an extra boost to my workout."

Other non-roster invitees who were in the system in 2012 are third baseman Matt Skole, shortstop Zach Walters, catcher Carlos Maldonado and lefthander Patrick McCoy.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Roark went 0-5 during his otherwise strong finish with the Chiefs, contributing to him led the International League in losses. He went 6-17, 4.39 with 130 strikeouts in 148 innings while allowing 47 walks and 161 hits.

Roark and righthander Ryan Tatusko, Double-A Frisco teammates at the time, came over from the Rangers for veteran middle infielder Cristian Guzman in July 2010.

Texas drafted Roark in the 25th round in 2008 after he pitched in three games for independent Southern Illinois. He had been a second-team all-Big Ten Conference performer as an Illinois sophomore before leaving the team for academic reasons.

According to Roark, he has seen a positive change since a midseason meeting with Harris and his Syracuse manager and pitching coach, Tony Beasley and Greg Booker.

"I'm finally realizing I can only control what I can control," Roark said. "I feel like I've matured and grown up. I had the stuff all along. It was just the mental aspect I needed."

Roark's four-seam fastball is usually in the range of 90-92 mph, and he has a two-seamer, curveball, changeup and slider.


• Washington sacrificed its first-round pick (29th overall) when it signed free agent closer Rafael Soriano. The only other time the club lacked a first-round selection was 1982, following the Montreal Expos' signing of catcher Tim Blackwell.

• Righthander A.J. Cole, who signed for $2 million as a Nats fourth-round pick in 2010, rejoined the organization as part of the three-team deal that sent outfielder Michael Morse to the Mariners.