The Washington Nationals announced their first round of cuts this morning, trimming the numbers of players in the Nats' major league camp to 59 by sending infielder Matt Skole, catcher Jeff Howell, right-handed reliever Gabriel Alfaro and left-hander Tyler Robertson to minor league camp:
The #Nats have reassigned INF Matt Skole, C Jeff Howell, RHP Gabriel Alfaro and RHP Tyler Robertson to Minor League camp.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 9, 2014
Skole, 24, is the Nationals' 2011 5th Round pick out of Georgia Tech. The left-handed hitting 1B/3B played just two games at Double-A Harrisburg last season before suffering a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow on a defensive play at first base.
Ranked the no.4 overall prospect and the top infielder on Baseball America's list of the Nationals' Top 10 Prospects this winter, Skole impressed in his short stint with the big league club this spring, going 5 for 14 with three doubles and a home run in nine games with the Nats.
Jeff Howell, 30, spent the past two seasons in the Nationals' organization. In 2013 he played 43 games between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse, posting a combined .259/.283/.453 line with seven doubles and six home runs in 147 plate appearances.
Gabriel Alfaro, also 30, signed a minor league deal with the Nationals last November coming off two seasons with the Guerreros de Oaxaca in the Mexican League, where the right-handed reliever was (10-5) with 52 saves, a 2.58 ERA, 48 walks (3.35 BB/9) and 163 Ks (11.37 K/9) in 110 games and 129 IP.
Tyler Robertson, 26, was claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins by the Nats last June and the left-handed reliever re-signed with the Nationals as a free agent this past January. Pitching at Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats' system last season, Robertson was (2-2) in 26 appearances, 25 in relief and 26 2/3 IP over which he put up a 3.04 ERA with eight walks (2.70 BB/9) and 24 Ks (8.10 K/9).