Three of the left-handers the Washington Nationals' brought into camp to compete for a role in the 2013 Nats' bullpen were re-assigned to minor league camp after this afternoon's walk-off win over the St. Louis Cardinals. A press release from the Nats announced the moves which trims the Nationals' Spring Training roster down to 50:
"Following today’s game, the Washington Nationals re-assigned left-handed pitchers Bill Bray, Brandon Mann and Will Ohman and right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark to minor-league camp. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
"The Nationals currently have 50 players in their big league camp."
Bill Bray, who battled groin and lumbar issues last season in Cincinnati, was brought into camp as a potential late-inning lefty, but the veteran left-handed reliever has struggled with his mechanics which he altered to compensate for last season's injury. Davey Johnson told reporters last week that he wasn't going to judge or push Bray early this Spring as he tried to straighten himself out. After today's moves were announced, Johnson told reporters, including the Washington Times' Amanda Comak that Bray could still be considered for a spot on the Opening Day roster:
Davey said he could see Bray coming back here during camp once he works on his arm slot. Could still be considered for Opening Day roster.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) March 3, 2013
Ohman, 35, battled a hamstring injury early this Spring, and the veteran reliever made his first Grapefruit League appearance this afternoon, giving up two hits and two walks in an inning of work. Brandon Mann, 28, signed a minor league deal this winter after pitching in Japan the past two seasons. In 1.2 IP this Spring, the left-hander gave up three hits, three walks and three runs while striking out two. Tanner Roark, 26, spent the 2012 season at Triple-A Syracuse in the Nationals' system, going (6-17) with a 4.39 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 2.86 BB/9 and 7.92 K/9 in 28 games, 26 starts and 147.2 IP. Roark gave up four hits, three walks and four runs in 2.1 IP this Spring.
The moves today leave the Nationals with just Fernando Abad in camp with the major leaguers competing for a role as the team's late-inning left-hander. The Nationals have been clear all winter about not needing to add another lefty to their pen since their right-handers have good numbers against left-handed bats, but according to MASN's Dan Kolko, Davey Johnson told reporters today it was "no secret" that he would like to have more of a "left-handed presence" in the bullpen. Abad, Bray, Henry Rodriguez, the injured Christian Garcia, Cole Kimball and Jeremy Accardo are the right-handers still in camp competing for the final spot in the Nats' bullpen.