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Washington Nationals select Jeremy Guthrie’s contract; option Michael A. Taylor to Triple-A

The Washington Nationals called Jeremy Guthrie up to make tonight’s start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Guthrie’s 38th birthday.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker did not share what the corresponding move was going to be, but he did confirm last night, after the Nats’ 7-6 win over the Phillies, that it would be Jeremy Guthrie starting against Philadelphia at 7:05 PM EDT tonight in Citizens Bank Park.

“It’s Guthrie tomorrow, and so we have to make a move tomorrow to activate him,” Baker said.

The Nationals announced the moves this afternoon, selecting Guthrie’s contract and optioning Michael A. Taylor to Triple-A Syracuse to make room on the major league roster.

Signed as a free agent in early February, Guthrie, who turns 38 today, hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 with the Kansas City Royals when he inked a minor league deal with the Nationals.

Guthrie was coming off a 2016 season spent at Triple-A in the San Diego Padres and Miami Marlins’ organizations. He even traveled to Australia to stay active and prove that he had something left.

In nine games, two of them starts, this Spring, Guthrie posted a 2.41 ERA, five walks, 15 Ks and a .159 BAA over 18 23 innings pitched, putting himself in the mix for a spot on the Nationals’ Opening Day roster.

Baker told reporters earlier this week that Guthrie earned a spot in the organization, though he wasn’t with the Nationals for the season opener.

“He threw the ball very good [this spring],” Baker said, as quoted by’s Mark Zuckerman.

“This is one reason why we kept him in the system as well. There’s going to be times when we’re going to need that spot start from certain people. Or especially later on when we go to Colorado [in late April], you probably want to carry another pitcher. Yeah, he’s in our plans.”

Joe Ross is going to be part of the rotation eventually, but the Nationals’ brass opted to keep Michael A. Taylor and Wilmer Difo on the major league roster for the start of the season since they didn’t need a fifth starter early.

Ross can’t be called back up until 10 days after he was sent down.

Ross started for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs this afternoon, lasting just 2 23 innings, over which he gave up six hits, four runs, three earned and three walks in a 75-pitch, 47-strike outing.