PHOENIX -- On his way home from the ballpark after Triple-A Syracuse's game Saturday night in Columbus, Andrew Stevenson received a call from a number he did not recognize. Little did he know, it was the call he had waited for his whole life. The Nationals promoted Stevenson, the team's
PHOENIX -- On his way home from the ballpark after Triple-A Syracuse's game Saturday night in Columbus, Andrew Stevenson received a call from a number he did not recognize. Little did he know, it was the call he had waited for his whole life. The Nationals promoted Stevenson, the team's No. 5 prospect as rated by MLBPipeline, to the Majors on Sunday to headline their flurry of roster moves intended to help fill their shortage of outfielders.
"You kind of don't know if it's real at first," Stevenson said. "Your heart's kind of pounding. Just excited to be here and trying to help out whenever I can."
Catcher Pedro Severino, the team's No. 7 prospect, was also promoted to the Majors. Stevenson and Severino are taking the place of Chris Heisey, who heads to the disabled list with a strained left groin, and Ryan Raburn, who heads to the bereavement list. Jayson Werth was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for Stevenson.
Washington added Severino to the roster in place of Raburn, who is out following the death of his grandfather and will miss at least three games. Though Severino is a third catcher, the Nats can use him as a pinch-runner or right-handed bat off the bench -- though he has struggled at the plate this season -- or to start at catcher, if necessary.
The need for Stevenson developed when Heisey sustained his injury in Saturday's 4-3 Nats victory while legging out a triple. The Nationals did not have a timetable for Heisey's return, and he already has missed 40 games this year due to a ruptured right biceps. Heisey and Raburn had been splitting time in left field to fill in for Jayson Werth, who has missed 42 games with a left foot contusion. With both Werth and center fielder Michael Taylor (oblique) on the DL, the Nationals have been piecing together their outfield recently.
Wilmer Difo started in left field Sunday, but has had only two games of Major League experience in the outfield and has been the primary shortstop with Trea Turner on the disabled list. Adam Lind also can play left field, but the Nationals would prefer to limit his at-bats against left-handers. Stevenson, who also is left-handed, gives the Nationals another option in the outfield, although it did not sound like he would take over as the everyday left fielder.
"He's got the ability to play here in the big leagues," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "Plus defender in three outfield spots, a left-handed bat and speed off the bench. A guy who's used to playing every day, and he'll be used in more of a reserve role here."
Even Sunday morning, Stevenson was still taking in the experience as he sat in the dugout at Chase Field. His father was able to catch a last-minute flight and will be in attendance at Chase Field if Stevenson makes his Major League debut. Manager Dusty Baker said Stevenson might be used as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement.
"I'll be ready," Stevenson said. "I'm just here to do whatever they need me to do."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.