PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 04: Relief pitcher Cole Kimball #65 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on June 4, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Nationals 2-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
A day after the Toronto Blue Jays claimed 26-year-old right-hander Cole Kimball when the Washington Nationals tried to sneak the injured pitcher through waivers, the Nats returned the favor, claiming Kimball back when the Blue Jays tried to outright him to their own Triple-A affiliate. Kimball was added to the Nats' 40-Man Roster tonight along with 24-year-old first baseman Tyler Moore, 22-year-old catcher Derek Norris, 26-year-old backstop Jhonatan Solano, and 21-year-old center fielder Eury Perez. The moves leave the Nationals with 37 players on their 40-Man roster.
Among those left off the 40-Man Roster who are available for selection in December 8th's 2011 Rule 5 Draft are 22-year-old '07 1st Round pick left-hander Josh Smoker, 26-year-old right-hander Jeff Mandel, 26-year-old righty Brad Meyers, outfielder Erik Komatsu, pitchers Jack McGeary, Patrick McCoy, catcher Sandy Leon, outfielders Chris Curran and J.R. Higley and infielders Stephen King and Jose Lozada. Any team that selects a prospect in the Rule 5 Draft has to keep the player on its 25-Man Roster for the entire season after the draft or return them to their original team.
Tyler Moore was the 2010 Player of the Year in the Nationals' organization after a .269/.321/.552 season in which he hit 43 doubles and 31 HR's in 129 games and 553 plate appearances at Class-A Potomac, leading the Class-A Carolina League in doubles, home runs, RBI's, extra-base hits, total bases, and slugging percentage. At Double-A Harrisburg this past season, Moore hit 35 doubles and 31 HR's, posting a .270/.314/.532 slash in 137 games and 561 plate appearances and leading the Double-A Eastern League in home runs, RBI's and total bases.
A then-20-year-old catcher Derek Norris was the organization's Player of the Year in 2009 after a .286/.413/.513 season at Class-A Hagerstown which saw him hit 30 doubles and 23 HR's in 126 games. Now 22, and 9th on Baseball America's list of the Nationals' Top 10 Prospects, Norris is coming off a .210/.367/.446 season with the Double-A Senators in which he hit 17 doubles and 20 HR's in 104 games and 423 plate appearances. Norris, according to the Nats' press release this afternoon, "... ranks second among all minor leaguers with 256 walks over the last three seasons. He has thrown out 151 of 375 (40 percent) would-be basestealers in five seasons as a professional."
Backstop Jhonatan Solano, described in the Nats' press release as, " An exceptional defender behind the plate," is a 26-year-old catcher who spent the 2011 season at Triple-A Syracuse, playing 78 games and making 279 plate appearance in which he had a .275/.325/.388 line with 14 doubles and 5 HR's. In his six seasons in the Nationals' system, Solano has a .251 AVG with 21 home runs and 181 RBI's in 461 games and 1725 plate appearances.
Eury Perez, 21, played at the entire 2011 season at Class-A Potomac, stealing 45 bases in 60 attempts and putting up a .283/.319/.321 slash with nine doubles, two triples and a HR in 119 games and 465 plate appearances for the P-Nats. "His 45 stolen bases ranked second in the Carolina League, behind teammate Jeff Kobernus (53 SB)," the Nationals' noted this afternoon, and, "He has a .303 batting average with 43 doubles, 15 triples, 11 home runs, 165 RBI and 168 stolen bases during his five-year professional career."