With Opening Day drawing near for the Washington Nationals, the team announced before Friday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals that six players are going to begin the season in Triple-A Syracuse on April 9 against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders (New York Yankees).
Those players are infielders Cutter Dysktra and Emmanuel Burriss, outfielders Kila Ka’iahue and Derrick Robinson, reliever Manny Delcarmen, and catcher Steven LeRud. With the cuts, the roster is now down to 36 players, with 11 more cuts to come before April 6:
If you look at the infielders, Cutter Dykstra hit .235 in 18 games with two RBI’s, with only one hit coming since March 16. Last season, he hit .274 in 96 games for double-A Harrisburg with six home runs and 49 RBI’s. It will be interesting to see what Dykstra does in triple-A. As for Burriss, he goes back to Syracuse for his second season after hitting .300 with six home runs and 46 RBI’s last season in 116 games. The 30-year old did not have a productive spring at the plate, going 1-for-28 with a RBI.
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The other cuts that should not be surprising are LeRud, Robinson, and Delcarmen. LeRud went 4-for-9 with two RBI’s, but his appearance in Thursday’s game against the Mets was his first since April 18 and the team already has a third catcher in Sandy Leon, who is out of options. Derrick Robinson went 4-for-19 in camp with two RBI’s and did not record a hit since March 15. Robinson will play in his first triple-A game since 2013 when he was with the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds).
Manny Delcarmen wasn’t much of a shock in terms of being sent to minor league camp. He only appeared in five games and gave up an earned run in each of the last two. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2010, when he went 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA that season with the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies. Plus, the 33-year-old will be entering his second season with the Syracuse Chiefs. He went 4-4 with a 3.13 ERA in 46 appearances a season ago.
Finally, Kai’ahue is the one move that is somewhat of a surprise. According to manager Matt Williams, the outfielder/first baseman who will turn 31 this weekend “performed really well.” He hit .250 in 18 games with three home runs and eight RBI’s. However, it was tough to see Ka’iahue beat out players like Clint Robinson (.342, two home runs, seven RBI’s) or Mike Carp, who has been in the majors more recently than Ka’iahue.