WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had started the season playing with a short bench, but they made a couple of roster moves on Saturday to return to a five-man bench.Infielder Matt Reynolds and catcher Jhonatan Solano were both recalled from Triple-A Syracuse prior to Saturday's game against the Mets. To make
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had started the season playing with a short bench, but they made a couple of roster moves on Saturday to return to a five-man bench.
Infielder Matt Reynolds and catcher Jhonatan Solano were both recalled from Triple-A Syracuse prior to Saturday's game against the Mets. To make room on the roster, catcher Miguel Montero was placed on the paternity list as he awaits the birth of his child, and left-hander Enny Romero has been designated for assignment.
"I think at this point, the extra guy on the bench is going to help a lot," manager Dave Martinez said.
The Nats are already down to their third catcher at the moment with Matt Wieters on the disabled list with a mild oblique strain, although he started hitting off a tee this weekend, and now Montero, who will be allowed to miss three days on paternity leave. Reynolds adds versatility off the bench because of his ability to play multiple positions.
Washington was willing to part ways with Romero in order to clear room on the roster. He was enticing because of his ability to hit triple digits with his fastball, but he struggled to put it together consistently with the Nats, even with his 3.90 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings, he still walked too many batters (3.7 walks per nine innings) and gave up 9.4 hits per nine innings for a 1.457 WHIP over his 55 games with Washington.
Eaton surprised by strength of ankle
Two days after a left ankle tweak forced him to leave Thursday's game early, Nationals left fielder Adam Eaton even surprised himself by how good his ankle felt on Saturday morning.
Eaton was not in the starting lineup for Saturday's game against the Mets, but he popped out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of the 3-2 loss. Martinez expects Eaton to return to the lineup Sunday night.
"I feel great, haven't had any pain in it this morning or anything like that," Eaton said. "I'm going to see what they have in store for me, but just walking around, I feel better than I did. It's kind of weird."
Eaton is also in the midst of a comeback from a torn left ACL and has been one of the Nationals' hottest hitters to start the season. His injury provided a brief scare, but he felt normal Saturday and should not miss much time.
"He feels good," Martinez said. "Being that it's cold [Saturday], I thought the best thing was to keep him out another day."
The Nationals will skip the fifth starter's spot this turn through the rotation and have Max Scherzer start Monday's game against the Braves. A.J. Cole will be available out of the bullpen this weekend if needed, but Martinez reiterated the Cole is still the team's fifth starter and will start Wednesday against the Braves.
Meanwhile, right-hander Jeremy Hellickson remains at the team's complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he is scheduled to start Saturday, looking to increase his pitch count to around 100 pitches.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.