Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams told reporters when Sandy Leon came up to back up Jose Lobaton in the wake of Wilson Ramos' Opening Day injury that he and his staff considered keeping three catchers on the roster when they broke from Spring Training. They didn't, but if they had, he explained, the Nats would have kept Leon rather than Jhonatan Solano since the 25-year-old catcher would be useful as a switch-hitting bat off the bench.
"There was some conversation during the course of Spring Training toward the end that we may go with a three-catcher scenario and [Leon] was the one we were going to go with," Williams said. "We prepared him for that and if we were to make that decision he would have been on the Opening Day roster."
Leon was up by the second day of the season instead and in spite of the fact that Wilson Ramos finally returned to the lineup today, as the Nationals head out to Oakland for the start of a three-game set with the A's which begins on Friday, he didn't get optioned back to Double-A where he started the season. For the next few days at least, the Nats are keeping three catchers.
After today's game with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Nationals optioned Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse, clearing a spot for 30-year-old right-hander Doug Fister, who will start Friday night's series opener with the Athletics.
The Nationals, following today's series-clinching 3-2 home win over the Dodgers, optioned 1B/OF Tyler Moore to Syracuse.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 7, 2014
Moore, 27, was 6 for 30 with two home runs in 18 games with the Nationals after he was called up to take injured outfielder Scott Hairston's spot on the roster back on April 6th. Hairston returned from the DL on Tuesday, with Ryan Mattheus optioned out to make room.
With Moore gone, Kevin Frandsen is likely the first option to back up at first if Adam LaRoche has further issues with his sore quad. Scott Hairston was discussed a potential option at first last summer after the Nationals acquired him from the Cubs. With Moore back in Syracuse, the Nationals have to be hoping LaRoche (.324/.427/.514, 6 2B, 5 HR) can stay on the field so they don't have to find out how either Frandsen or Hairston performs at first.