Kyle McGowin has been here before. But never this early in the season.
For the second time in his baseball career, the Sag Harbor native reached the big leagues with the Washington Nationals after being called up from Triple-A Fresno on Thursday, May 16. McGowin, a righthanded pitcher who made his Major League Baseball debut last fall, had a series of strong outings before getting the news from his manager at the ballpark.
“I was in the locker room and my manager, Randy [Knorr], called me and gave me the news,” McGowin said from Washington last Friday. “I got on a flight at 7 p.m. Western time and arrived at 6 a.m. Eastern time.”
McGowin, 27, was on his way to Nationals Park for a game on May 17 against the Chicago Cubs. When reached at his hotel early that day, McGowin said he was unsure if he would pitch out of the bullpen or, eventually, in a starting role. “Everything has been going well, but I have no idea,” he said.
It turns out that Nationals manager Davey Martinez needed help out of the bullpen, and McGowin on Sunday made his 2019 Major League debut when he came on to pitch three innings, over which he gave up three hits, a walk and two earned runs. He threw 44 pitches and earned some praise from his new manager.
“McGowin pitched really well as well, he gave up a couple of broken-bat hits, but he pitched well,” Martinez was quoted as saying on federalbaseball.com, a site that follows the Nationals.
McGowin was 4-2 with Fresno this season with a 4.32 ERA in 41.2 innings pitched and a team-high 50 strikeouts.
The Nationals have been struggling in the early going with an 19-27 record in the National League East standings. The team opened a four-game series in New York City against the Mets on Monday.