With Opening Day less than 48 hours away, the Nationals still needed to make some adjustments to have the correct number of players.
On Sunday, the Nats sent infielders Adrian Sanchez and Matt Reynolds to minor-league affiliate Triple-A Syracuse as the final cuts before flying to DC for their final exhibition game. They chose to keep relievers Enny Romero, Trevor Gott, and Matt Grace to fill the bullpen, but eventually one will lose his spot to make room for others.
Grace can cover multiple innings and is the most dependable and experienced out of this trio. In spring training, he posted a 3.55 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched with a 1.66 WHIP. Gott has been the most impressive with a squeaky clean 0.00 ERA through 11 innings pitched. He will serve as a backup for veteran Shawn Kelley who was not impressive last season – continuing that trend this spring training – and deals with injuries quite often. They are the only two right-handed middle relievers the team has. Romero has struggled posting a 7.56 ERA in only 8 innings pitched but the team is sold on his fastball. He has arm speed that reaches up to 100mph and if he can harness all other factors he could be a future Aroldis Chapman of this league.
The more blaring reason Romero and Grace are making the roster is because they are out of options. If the Nationals decided they wanted to seek other arms they would have had to place them on waivers – in which case, they would be picked up by another team – as the minors are not an option for the two.
The latest of moves came on Tuesday when the team selected Miguel Montero’s contract which solidifies him as the backup catcher (Pedro Severino will start the season in AAA Syracuse) and makes him the fourth and final bench player. The team also announced who will start the season on the disabled list.
- Daniel Murphy – 10-day DL (right knee)
- Joaquin Benoit – 10-day DL (right forearm strain)
- Koda Glover – 60-day DL (shoulder tendinitis)
There will be plenty more changes to come once the season gets underway, one being at the starting pitching position. The team acquired Jeremy Hellickson on March 16 and have recently made it clear that when he is ready he will come up and be the fifth starter. Until then A.J. Cole has assumed that role. Also, when Benoit and Murphy are healthy, a few that made the Opening Day list will be shipped out. For now, the roster has been set.
Opening Day Roster
Opening Day Update: Due to impending inclement weather the Nationals and Reds game that was scheduled for Thursday March 29 will take place on Friday March 30 at 4:10pm.
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