In late July, contending baseball teams are usually in the market for someone to help them make a playoff push. Not the Washington Nationals, though, if you believe GM Mike Rizzo’s statement. Rizzo says the team is “always looking for ideas that will make us better long-term… more than short-term,” according to Adam Kilgore. It makes sense for the team’s organizational philosophy, but the team is going to have a lot more roster moves coming from within their own organization in the coming days.
Jayson Werth, who has been recovering from surgery to repair a broken wrist, massacred the ball during batting practice before the game on Wednesday, and he long tossed in the outfield after that. Manager Davey Johnson was “really pleasantly surprised” about Werth’s performance and indicated it was possible for him to start his rehab assignment on Thursday. This would keep him well on-schedule for a return the first week of August.
The Nats catching woes continue, as Jhonatan Solano looks to be headed to the disabled list with “The Nationals’ Special,” which is what I’m going to start calling oblique injuries. Ian Desmond, Mark DeRosa, and Solano will now have all missed time with the nagging injury. Sandy Leon, who left after four innings of MLB experience following a collision at home plate on May 14 with a high ankle sprain, is the most likely candidate to return as the Nats send their fifth catcher to the DL this season.
Drew Storen continues to make rehab appearances with Single-A Potomac, and his recovery from bone chip removal surgery in April seems to be moving well. Johnson said he could return to the Nats bullpen “as early as tomorrow.” The Nats would have to make a corresponding roster move, and there isn’t an easy call there for the team. The bullpen has pitched almost universally well, and there are only two relievers with contract options remaining, Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen. It’s hard to argue that either of those guys deserve to move anywhere.
A decision on Xavier Nady is expected as soon as Friday after about two weeks of rehab assignments in the minors. If you’re having trouble placing Drew Storen, it seems unlikely that Nady will be placed anywhere but back on the free agent market. It seems likely that he’ll be designated for assignment this week.