The Washington Nationals made their first round of cuts this weekend, sending four players to minor league camp. This morning they optioned 22-year-old left-hander Felipe Rivero out to Double-A Harrisburg and reassigned 22-year-old righty A.J. Cole to minor league camp in moves that were announced via the team's official Twitter account:
The #Nats have optioned LHP Felipe Rivero to Double-A Harrisburg and reassigned RHP AJ Cole to Minor League camp.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 12, 2014
Rivero, the former Tampa Bay prospect acquired in the deal that sent right-hander Nathan Karns to the Rays and brought Jose Lobaton to D.C., was (9-7) at High-A Charlotte in the Florida State League last season, posting a 3.40 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 52 walks (3.69 BB/9) and 91 Ks (6.45 K/9) in 25 games, 23 starts and 127 IP. In three appearances with the Nationals this spring, the left-hander was (1-0) with four hits and two earned runs allowed in 4 IP.
Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell wrote after the deal that the Nationals essentially saw him replacing Ian Krol in the organization. Will he get a call up should any of the left-handers in the Nats' bullpen falter this season?
A.J. Cole, the Nationals' 2010 4th Round pick who was traded and reacquired by the organization, is coming off a strong season split between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in the Nationals' system. Cole was (6-3) with Potomac, posting a 4.25 ERA and a 3.54 FIP with 23 walks (2.13 BB/9) and 102 Ks (9.43 K/9) in 18 starts and 97 1/3 IP.
He then moved up to the Double-A where he was (4-2) with a 2.18 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 10 walks (1.99 BB/9) and 49 Ks (9.73 K/9) in seven starts and 45 1/3 IP.
Cole was named the no.2 prospect in the Nationals' organization by Baseball America this winter. He made three Grapefruit League appearances this spring, giving up five hits while recording seven Ks in 6 2/3 IP in which he held opposing hitters to a .200 AVG.