Matt Williams talked after Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Phillies about bench bat and backup outfielder Scott Hairston being close to returning from the DL. Hairston, who has been rehabbing from an oblique strain, played his third game for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs on Sunday, going 0 for 4 with a K.
Williams told reporters they would talk to Hairston to see how he felt before making any decisions on calling the 33-year-old outfielder back up.
"He played today," Williams explained. "So we'll evaluate after the game today and see where he's at. But we'll have to talk to him. He made it through nine innings though. So, we'll see. We'll talk to him, see how he's feeling and make a decision."
Williams did, however, say that Hairston offered a skill set that could help the Nationals, who've dealt with a number of injuries to everyday players in the first month-plus of the 2014 campaign.
"He's really good off the bench and pounds lefties," Williams said. "So, we'll be happy to have him back. Certainly with that experience and that success under his belt. As long as he's healthy. We'll have him back."
Hairston was 1 for 2 in two games before suffering the oblique injury last month. In his 11-year major league career, he has a .269/.317/.498 line against left-handed pitching and seven doubles and 12 HRs in 247 plate appearances as a pinch hitter. The Nationals acquired Hairston from Chicago last July in a trade that sent minor league right-hander Ivan Pineyro to the Cubs. Hairston was dealt five months after signing a 2-year/$5M deal with the Cubs.
The Nationals announced this afternoon that Hairston was coming off the DL, with outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. optioned to Triple-A Syracuse to make room on the 25-Man roster:
The #Nats have returned from rehab & reinstated OF Scott Hairston from the DL and optioned OF Steven Souza Jr. to Triple-A Syracuse.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 5, 2014
Souza, 25, has been up to the majors twice already this season, but he's just 1 for 8 in nine plate appearances. In 11 games with the Nationals' top minor league affiliate, the Nats' '07 3rd Round pick is 11 for 33 (.333/.463/.545) with a double and two home runs.