Nats call up Severino, Williams from Triple-A

Wieters out of lineup, dealing with hip/groin injury

September 1st, 2018

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals made their first additions to their expanded September roster on Saturday when they promoted catcher and right-hander Austen Williams from Triple-A Syracuse. Initially, manager Dave Martinez said the team planned on waiting until the end of the Triple-A season before calling up roster reinforcements, but a few circumstances changed.
Williams took the roster spot of , who was traded to the Brewers on Friday night, and Severino was promoted early as insurance for Matt Wieters, who is battling a hip/groin injury that kept him out Saturday's starting lineup.
Wieters exited Wednesday's game in Philadelphia with the same injury, although he said then the problem with his hip resulted in back pain. He received treatment to help align his hips after that game and played Friday night without issue, but Martinez wanted to be sure they had insurance in case the issue grew worse.
Earlier in the year, Severino, 25, appeared in position to take over as the Nats' catcher of the future, capitalizing to win the backup catching job after beginning the year in the Minors. He even got a chance to play full-time while Wieters was on the DL earlier in the year. But Severino struggled mightily, batting .171/.256/.254 for an OPS+ of 35 and -1.2 Wins Above Replacement, as measured by Baseball Reference.
"I want to see him be the Pedro that we know," Martinez said. "That was on the team before, call good games, catch, make good throws, because we know he can do it. ... He's not here to hit home runs, he's here to put the ball in play and catch good ball games."
Williams, 25, was a converted starting pitcher who has taken off this season since moving to the bullpen. In 32 appearances (two starts), he has posted a 1.19 ERA with 89 strikeouts and 17 walks in 68 innings. He got the news he would be promoted to the Majors for the first time following Friday night's game at Syracuse, and once he realized the news was real, he remembered putting his face in his hands in shock.
"It's surreal, something I've dreamt about for a really long time," Williams said. "It was awesome."
Since converting to the bullpen, Williams has been able to focus on throwing two pitches -- his fastball, which has seen an uptick in velocity, and his slider, which sort of acts like a curveball. He has held opposing hitters to a .166 batting average and has not given up a home run. Despite his success, he did not allow himself to think about the Majors this season for fear of disappointment.
"I really didn't want to make any assumptions," he said. "I was doing well in Triple-A, and I did really well in Double-A before that, and I thought, if the stars aligned and it all worked out, I think I have a shot."
Worth noting
Expect more additions to the roster after Syracuse's season ends on Monday afternoon.
threw another bullpen session on Saturday, his second since landing on the DL with a right wrist injury. Although his stamina increased, he was limited to only "a couple" of curveballs because of discomfort in the wrist. He did not throw any curveballs during his first bullpen session Wednesday.
 (left toe inflammation) is scheduled for another simulated game Sunday afternoon.