Bernadina and Bergmann sent down, Maxwell and Olsen up

ph2009093005342Yesterday, Washington Nationals’ outfielder Roger Bernadina was optioned to AAA Syracuse. Bernadina, a left-handed hitter, was sent down in large part because of the rash of left-handed pitchers the Nationals stand to face.

In addition, Nationals’ right-handed relief pitcher Jason Bergmann was designated for assignment. In so doing, the Nationals opened a roster spot and effectively gave Bergmann ten days to either be traded or clear waivers. Bergmann had struggled in his four appearances, yielding four runs in just 2.1 innings pitched, including a two-run home run to Shane Victorino in Wednesday’s loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. That said, the Nationals have stated that they intend to retain Bergmann and send him to Syracuse should he clear waivers unclaimed.

The combined effect of these two moves is to make room on the big league club for outfielder Justin Maxwell and left-handed starting pitcher Scott Olsen. Maxwell was 5-15 in four games while Olsen four runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work. Maxwell’s right-handed bat will be of good use against the number of upcoming left-handed opponents; moreover, the Nationals seemed determined to give Maxwell as many chances as possible to win the right field job outright. Additionally, Olsen will provide more balance and experience to what was an overwhelmingly young, right-hand dominated rotation. In their first appearances last night, Maxwell was 0-1 with two walks while Olsen gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in 5.2 innings as the Nationals rallied with six runs in the final three frames to top the Phillies 7-5.

Adding injury to insult, a neck injury led the Nationals to place right-hander Garrett Mock on the 15-day disabled list. Doctors determined that the discomfort was the result of a problem with a cervical disc in his neck, placing undue stress on a nerve. The injury, described as a “twinge” by General Manager Mike Rizzo, occurred during a regular bullpen session on Monday. Mock, 26, had one major league start on the season, in which he allowed two runs on four hits and five walks in 3.1 innings.