Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle plans to continue his playing career in 2023, he old Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post earlier this week. Doolittle, a veteran of eleven big league seasons and a free agent at the conclusion of the 2022 season, expressed his hope he can return to the Nationals.
“I really would like a do-over,” said Doolitte, who only appeared in six games in 2022 before being shut down with an elbow sprain that would lead him to undergo an internal brace procedure in July. “I realize that there’s a lot that I have to do on my end to even have that be a possibility. But hopefully January or ahead of camp in February, I can show them that I’m healthy and come in and compete for a spot.”
Doolittle first became a member of the Nationals in 2017 when he was dealt from Oakland to Washington at the deadline. He departed via free agency in 2021 but returned last offseason on a new free agent deal. In parts of five years as a National, Doolittle has appeared in 153 games, compiled a 2.92 ERA, has struck out 28.5% of batters faced, and appeared as an All-Star in 2018.
Though he only threw 5 1/3 innings in 2022, he allowed merely one of the seventeen batters he faced to reach base. He told Dougherty that if his recovery goes according to plan, he will throw bullpen sessions in January in order to amass data that he intends to use to solicit interest from teams, including the Nationals.
It is unclear whether the Nationals, who are currently in no position to compete but should have ample opportunity in their bullpen, would be interested in a reunion. Doolittle, on the other hand, was very clear with Dougherty about where he would like to play. “That would be amazing,” Doolittle said of a potential sixth season in Washington. “That would be best-case scenario, for sure, for so many different reasons.”
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