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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals add Yasel Antuna to 60-Man Player Pool; Nats release Fernando Abad + more news...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait for the start of tonight’s game with the Phillies (at 6:05 PM ET).

MLB: Washington Nationals-Workouts
Jul 9, 2020; approximately 3:42 PM ET; 38.8730° N, 77.0074° W; Washington, DC, United States; Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez (M) talks with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo (L) and some other dude (R) on day seven of Nationals workouts at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Before they played another intrasquad game in Nationals Park last night, Washington’s 2019 World Series champs made two roster moves, adding infielder Yasel Antuna to their 60-Man Player Pool and releasing veteran reliever Fernando Abad.

“Abad, he had an out the 18th,” Davey Martinez explained when he spoke with reporters on a Zoom call after the game.

“So we thought, we were comfortable with the guys we’ve got here. With Antuna, he’s just one of our young kids that we really like and he can play everywhere in the infield, mostly shortstop.”

Antuna, 20, was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $3.9M as a 16-year-old back in 2016, and in four years in the organization, the infielder has put up a .247/.325/.353 line between the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic Leagues.

He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, but returned to action last season, though, “... leg injuries limited him to only three games,” as MLB’s Pipeline scouts wrote in ranking him 12th overall in the system this year.

“We feel like we didn’t want to stop his development,” Martinez said of the decision to add the infielder to the 60-Man Player Pool, “so we’d bring him here as well, and let him go to Fredericksburg, [VA], and get ready to play in case we need a shortstop, second baseman, even a third baseman.”

The moves left the Nationals with 57 players (out of a possible 60) in their Player Pool, with two players (Wander Suero and Roenis Elías) currently on the Injured List.

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Cleared or Not; Games in D.C. in 2020:

Washington Nationals decide to play at Nationals Park this season - (WaPost)
“Doubt arose because of the District’s strict self-quarantine rules, and the Nationals had actively explored alternate sites in Fredericksburg, Va., and, as a last resort, their spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.”

As expected, Nationals will play season in Nationals Park - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The Washington Nationals will play their 2020 home games in Nationals Park. It’s a strange sentence to write..."

Other Nats Stories:

Kendrick will be ready for opener (MASN to air two exhibitions) - (MASN)
“'I’ll be ready,' the veteran hitter said today in his first Zoom session with reporters of the summer. 'Whether I am or not, I’ll be ready.'"

Howie Kendrick on Opening Day excitement - (MLB.com)
"Fifteen seasons into his Major League career, the rush from anticipating that first game never gets old for Howie Kendrick."

Nationals release veteran reliever Abad - (MASN)
"[Fernando] Abad, a non-roster invitee to big league camp back in the spring, had been a viable candidate to make the opening day bullpen..."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

The new Fredericksburg Nationals stadium repurposed during pandemic - (WJLA)
"It was supposed to be an epic year for the Fredericksburg Nationals, moving south and into their new stadium."

Sabermetrics Meets the 60-Game Season - (The Ringer)
“'My theories about HFA is that it’s not about fans, but rather about familiarity with environment and travel,' says Matt Swartz, an economist who has studied home field advantage for Baseball Prospectus and now consults for the Washington Nationals."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Atlanta Braves’ Reversal Of Fortune: Freddie Freeman Is Back But Yasiel Puig Is Out - (Forbes)
"With one week to go before the Atlanta season opener in New York, however, the Puig deal fell apart but Freeman was cleared to return."

Bryce Harper wants Spencer Howard and he'll get him soon enough - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"'If Spencer Howard isn't in our starting rotation by Game 6 in New York against the Yankees, there's a problem,' Harper said. 'That's all I'm saying.'"

Mets' Jacob deGrom plan doesn't include Yankees tune-up - (NY Post)
"Jacob deGrom’s pursuit of his scheduled Opening Day start won’t include an exhibition tune-up against the Yankees."

Jordan Holloway impresses at Summer Camp - (MLB.com)
"Jordan Holloway, a hard-throwing right-hander, has appeared to literally come out of nowhere to be in the mix to make the Marlins’ Opening Day roster."