As the Washington Nationals get closer and closer to Opening Day, the team will soon start cutting more and more players from Major League camp. And after making several cuts this week, the Nationals made another round earlier this morning.
According to the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes, the Nationals optioned right-hander Taylor Hill to Triple-A Syracuse and reassigned right-handers Eric Fornataro, Mitch Lively and Scott McGregor to minor league camp.
Hill, who made his Nationals major league debut last season, pitched very well in his short time with the big league club. The right-hander allowed one hit over 2 1/3 scoreless innings of work while striking out three batters, walking none and hitting two.
While Hill was solid in big league camp, Fornataro didn’t fare quite as well. The 27-year-old right-hander appeared in three games this spring, allowing six runs on six hits while striking out two and walking three. Fornataro, whom the Nationals acquired on a waiver claim from the Cardinals last November, will likely start the 2015 season at Syracuse.
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Lively is also a player who struggled at times this spring. The 29-year-old right-hander appeared in two games, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out two and walking none over 1 1/3 innings of work. While it was a longshot from the start that Lively would make the Opening Day roster, the right-hander could be a valuable weapon for the Nationals late in the season as he has plenty of experience both as a starter and as a reliever.
After signing with the Nationals last season, Lively was assigned to Triple-A Syracuse, where he pitched well. In 37 1/3 innings with the Chiefs, the right-hander went 5-2 with a 3.86 ERA. Lively appeared in nine games for the Chiefs, seven of which were starts. Although the Nationals’ pitching staff is stacked, someone with Lively’s versatility and experience could definitely come in handy over the course of a 162-game season.
"“I was happy that I was given the opportunity to pitch as a starter and from the ‘pen,” Lively told DoD in an interview last month. “I was able to show my versatility as a pitcher to not only my Triple-A coaching staff but to the Nationals as well.”"
The Nationals also reassigned McGregor to minor league camp after the 28-year-old right-hander allowed three runs on six hits while striking out three in two innings of work.
With Opening Day just 22 days away and the Nationals’ big league camp still abundant with players, look for the team to continue to cut players in the coming days and weeks as they look to trim the roster down to 25.