JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals' Opening Day roster is beginning to take shape after the latest round of cuts Wednesday morning trimmed it down to 27 players.Washington released right-hander Vance Worley, ending his bid to be the team's long reliever. The club also optioned right-handers A.J. Cole and Trevor Gott
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals' Opening Day roster is beginning to take shape after the latest round of cuts Wednesday morning trimmed it down to 27 players.
Washington released right-hander Vance Worley, ending his bid to be the team's long reliever. The club also optioned right-handers A.J. Cole and Trevor Gott and reassigned right-hander Jacob Turner, left-hander Neal Cotts and catcher Jhonatan Solano to Minor League camp.
"This is that time of the year," manager Dusty Baker said. "Most are going to the stay in the system, which is good."
Worley might have been a good fit for the Nats, because he could have filled the same role Yusmeiro Petit did in 2016 -- what Baker called the utility pitcher, who is able to start and pitch in long or short relief when needed. It was similar to Worley's role in 2016 with Baltimore. This spring, Worley posted a 4.80 ERA in 15 innings with six strikeouts.
This leaves Jeremy Guthrie as the only non-roster invitee left in camp. Guthrie, who turns 38 on April 8, has been impressive this spring in his audition as the long reliever with a 2.41 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. Washington will have an open spot on its 40-man roster once Clint Robinson clears waivers if it wants to add Guthrie, but there is no guarantee the club will keep a long man on its roster.
Cole will almost certainly be the first pitcher promoted if the Nationals need a starter this season. He is the team's No. 9 prospect as rated by MLBPipeline.com, but he has not pitched in a Grapefruit League game since March 15 after some tightness in his triceps.
• Jayson Werth was out of the lineup on Wednesday after fouling a ball off his toe the night before and Anthony Rendon missed his second consecutive game after fouling a ball off his left calf Monday. Baker had hoped to play both players for nine innings Wednesday, but he decided to be cautious even though he did not consider either injury serious.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.