WASHINGTON -- Tanner Roark knew on Sunday that he would soon be leaving Triple-A Syracuse to join the Nationals, but he was told to keep the news quiet. He told his parents and his fiancee, but otherwise was forced to wait until the move was officially announced.
That moment came on Tuesday, when the team optioned reliever Xavier Cedeno to Syracuse and transferred Ross Detwiler to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Roark on the 40-man roster. The 26-year-old right-hander said the news is only just beginning to sink in.
"It's so surreal," he said before Tuesday's game against the Braves. "At first when I got the call and [Syracuse manager] Tony Beasley told me, I was like, 'Wow. OK, this is what I dreamed for.' And then it started to sink in."
Roark, who was acquired from the Rangers in exchange for Cristian Guzman in 2010, was 9-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 33 appearances (11 starts) at Triple-A this season.
Manager Davey Johnson views Roark as a replacement for Ross Ohlendorf, who went on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. Johnson said that Roark will also be a candidate to start when Taylor Jordan is shut down for the season if Ohlendorf and Detwiler are both still on the disabled list.
"[We] just need some more innings," Johnson quipped.
Roark acknowledged that coming out of the bullpen takes a different mentality, but he doesn't have a preference between starting and relieving.
"As long as I'm up on the mound and I can compete and pitch, that's all I worry about," he said.
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.