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Jonathan Papelbon returns from DL; Michael A. Taylor optioned to Triple-A + Nationals' 4th of July lineup vs Brewers

Washington Nationals' closer Jonathan Papelbon was reinstated from the DL today and the Nats announced that they have optioned outfielder Michael A. Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse + the Nationals' lineup for today's game with the Brewers.

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Dusty Baker talked to reporters last week about the difficult decision that would have to be made when veteran reliever Jonathan Papelbon was ready to return from the DL.

Washington's 35-year-old closer needed to get through back-to-back appearances before he could return to the Nationals' bullpen, Baker explained, which he did this past weekend with scoreless innings of work on Friday and Saturday with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.

"They're always difficult decisions when you've got a good team," Baker said.

"It's an easy decision on a bad team, you've got quite a few people you can put in there, but on a good team, they're always a tough decisions.

"But you see what happens, there was a tough decision with [Matt] Belisle and then Pap came up hurt.

"Sometimes things have a way of working themselves out, and you don't like it, but like I said, you can never have enough pitching."

Apparently the Nationals' skipper took that last idea seriously, because instead of optioning a pitcher to make room in the Nats' bullpen, they sent Michael A. Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Papelbon's return.

Taylor, 25, has a .225/.266/.372 line, 10 doubles and six home runs in 60 games and 203 plate appearances this season.

He had a .286/.328/.460 line, five of his ten doubles and two of his six home runs over the last 19 games and 67 PAs, before he was sent down.

Are the Nationals just looking to get Taylor regular at bats while they wait on a decision on one of their relievers?

Here's the Nationals' lineup for this morning's 4th of July series opener with the Milwaukee Brewers: