Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) was the first one to announce this morning on Twitter that the Washington Nationals had decided to call catcher Jesus Flores up from Triple-A Syracuse to fill the spot on the Nats' roster vacated by the injured Ryan Zimmerman, who was placed on the 15-Day DL yesterday with an ab strain that's been troubling the Face of the Nats' Franchise since the beginning of Spring Training.
Flores, also 26, a Venezuelan-born catcher plucked from the NY Mets' system in the '06 Rule 5 Draft, will be making his first major league appearance since September 12th 2009 when he gets in a game. The then-24-year-old catcher returned as a bench bat late in 2009 after recovering from a stress fracture to his right shoulder only to suffer a torn labrum that was expected to cost the backstop three to six months as Washington Post writer Chico Harlan wrote at the time in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Flores Has Torn Right Labrum; Will Miss 3-6 Months."
"'He should be ready for the middle of spring training, worst-case scenario,'" Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post reporter at the time, but Flores wouldn't return to competitive action until this past winter when he played in the Venezuelan Winter League for the first sustained stretch of game action since the injuries. Flores had 28 hits (a .322/.389/.400 line, six doubles and two HR's) in 25 games and 87 at bats for the Navegantes de Magallanes this winter. Flores then went to Florida with the Nats this Spring, batling with Wilson Ramos, who was clearly the more game-ready of the two catchers in camp, for a spot on the Nats' roster alongside future Hall of Fame catcher Pudge Rodriguez. When Ramos won the job, Flores was sent to Triple-A Syracuse to start the 2011 season.
In 4 games with the Chiefs, Flores was 2 for 13 with a double and an RBI. What role he'll play with the Nats is unclear. The last time Flores was in the the nation's capital, it seemed like he was starting what would be a long career with the Nationals. After playing alongside and ultimately outperforming veteran backstop Paul LoDuca in 2008, Flores started the 2009 season as the Nats' no.1 catcher, and put up a .311/.382/.522 slash line in 26 games and 90 at bats before the injuries. It's been a long road back, and it took an injury to the Nats' starting third baseman for it to happen, but at some point in the next few days, Jesus Flores will make his return.
(ed. note - As the Nats' official Twitter (@NationalsPR) just announced, Zimmerman's trip to the DL is retroactive to April 10th.")
• Further Reading: "Because you can never have enough right-handed-hitting catchers who can't hit. "No, I kid the Nationals' catchers because I love them. "Seriously, though ... What the hell are they doing?" - "Nationals Cornering Market On Widely Available Commodity" - Rob Neyer, SB Nation - Baseball Nation