Nats Trim Roster As Opening Day Approaches

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, April 03, 2009 | , , , , , , | 0 comments »

In addition to the news that the team reassigned Alex Cintron to minor league camp last night, the Washington Nationals just announced that INF Kory Casto and LHP Mike O'Connor both cleared waivers and have been outrighted to triple-A Syracuse.

Also, Rule 5 draftee Terrell Young was placed on the 15-Day Disabled List, retroactive to March 27 with right should inflammation.

The moves means that the Nats, barring injury over the weekend, will bring three catchers north for opening day: starter Jesus Flores, Wil Nieves and Josh Bard.

Nieves and Bard both bring different strengths to the team. Nieves, last year's backup, has familiarity with the pitching staff, having worked extensively last year at the end of the season when Flores was injured. Bard brings years of experience and a left-handed bat.

Should Flores prove completely healthy from the sore elbow he battled in spring training, it could be a short stay for one of the catchers, as the team will eventually have to make room for fifth starter Jordan Zimmermann and 1B Dmitri Young, should the latter show in extended spring training that he can contribute to the major league team.

In today's Post, Chico Harlan wrote a great piece about Casto's efforts to win the 25th spot on the Nats roster. It's a story that gets played out every spring with every team, but Harlan treated the story with dignity and Casto approached his task with determination. It's worth a read, regardless of the outcome.

In other news, Jorge Sosa, formerly of the Mets, finally received his work visa and can begin training to compete for a spot in the bullpen. He was assigned to extended spring training and will work quickly to get into game shape.

Photo (c) C. Nichols 2009. All rights reserved.