Michael A. Taylor had shown signs of life at the plate in recent weeks, with a .286/.328/.460 line, five doubles and two home runs over his last 19 games and 67 plate appearances going back to June 1st.
Overall on the season, however, the 25-year-old Washington Nationals' outfielder had a .225/.266/.372 line with 10 doubles and six home runs in 60 games and 203 PAs.
Before this morning's series opener with the Milwaukee Brewers, Taylor was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse to make room on roster for returning closer Jonathan Papelbon, who came off the Disabled List after missing two-plus weeks with a right intercostal muscle strain.
Nationals' manager Dusty Baker was asked after the Nats' 1-0 loss to the Brewers what went into the decision to send Taylor down instead of a reliever.
"What goes into that decision -- we felt that Michael needed some at bats," Baker explained.
"Also, we weren't in a position to go with twelve pitchers right now, because of the way our bullpen -- in these consecutive games the way our bullpen has been.
"The way that [Lucas] Giolito had gone short and the way that we've still got to keep an eye on [Stephen] Strasburg.
"We'll do something in a few days to try to correct that, because it's tough to go with four bench players, really three, but those guys have been going like that for a while on the other side, Milwaukee, really three because you want to save your second catcher.
"Plus there's who has options, who doesn't, just a lot of things. That's not the move that we really wanted to make really, but we though it might help Michael to go down and play and he can be back in ten days."
Baker said it wasn't easy to tell Taylor about the decision after it was made.
"It was real tough because you don't want to see anybody leave," he said. "That's one of the toughest things and I'm kind of anointed to tell. Like I told him, you go down there and work. It told him that it happened to Kolten Wong, he went down. It happened to [Michael Conforto]. Just go get yourself together.
"It happened to [Byron] Buxton in Minnesota. And so it was really tough, but I just told him just go down and no pouting, you just go down there and get more determined to get your act together and come back."
As for Papelbon, in his first appearance in the majors since June 12th the 35-year-old closer threw a scoreless, 13-pitch top of the ninth, striking out two.
"Papelbon looked pretty good," Baker said. "He looked real good. He didn't throw a bunch of pitches. He was around the strike zone. He gets our bullpen back in sync. Papelbon looked very good."