Nationals make final preseason roster moves

Heisey, Treinen nab roster spots; den Dekker, Gott to Triple-A

April 2nd, 2016

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals made more roster cuts on Friday, optioning outfielder Matt den Dekker and reliever Trevor Gott to Triple-A Syracuse. They have also selected the contract of outfielder Chris Heisey, which means he will fill the last spot on the bench, and placed Aaron Barrett on the 60-day disabled list.

It was also revealed that left-hander Sean Burnett will not be on the 25-man roster. He is expected to opt out and become a free agent. It's not known what outfielder Reed Johnson and infielder Brendan Ryan will do after Saturday. They both can become free agents.

Den Dekker and Gott were productive during the exhibition season. Den Dekker hit .300, while Gott allowed three runs in nine innings. Manager Dusty Baker told Gott that he has an electric fastball, but needs to work on his secondary pitches.

With Gott sent down, it means that Blake Treinen is on the Major League roster. Treinen pitched nine scoreless innings this spring. Treinen's future is bright, according to Baker.

"In Treinen, he had an outstanding spring -- and he's one of our back-of-the-bullpen guys. And he's a guy that can throw up a double play or get a strikeout when you need it," Baker said. "It appears he's maturing in front of our very eyes. He's gaining confidence every day."

Heisey got off to a slow start, but he poured it on toward the end of Spring Training, driving in 10 runs, which was tied for second on the team. Washington picked Heisey over Johnson and Ryan. Baker called it a tough decision.

"It was tough because the incumbent, Reed Johnson, had been here before and is very popular with the players and in the area," Baker said. "We just felt that Heisey had more to offer, as far as playing all three outfield positions, a little better speed, a little better throwing arm.

"Heisey's power is intriguing. I had him [in Cincinnati], but I hadn't seen him in a couple years. So I didn't know what to expect. That's why he got probably the most at-bats on the team, to see if he was the same or better or worse as a player."

It wasn't a surprise that Barrett was put on the 60-day DL, because he is still recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Burnett was given the news after the team edged the Twins, 4-3, on Friday at Nationals Park. It may not take long before he lands somewhere. Teams such as the Braves and Orioles have expressed interest in Burnett.

The left-hander ended up having a solid spring, allowing no runs in 8 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. Burnett showed that he is completely recovered from Tommy John surgery, but the Nationals will enter the regular season with Oliver Perez and Felipe Rivero as the lefties in the bullpen.

"I threw the ball well, and [the Nationals] gave me an opportunity," Burnett said. "That's all I can ask for here. ... They gave me an opportunity to showcase myself to them and, hopefully, to other people, too."

Baker announced that the Nationals will carry seven relievers and five reserves for the bench. The team will also have two starters -- Gio Gonzalez and Joe Ross -- in the bullpen to start the season in Atlanta. Baker would not say who would start the third game of the season between Gonzalez, Ross and Tanner Roark.