The Nationals havecalled up catcher Jesus Flores from Class AAA
Syracuse to replace third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 25-man roster. It’s a somewhat surprising choice that gives the Nationals another right-handed bat off the bench, returns Flores to the majors for the first time since September 2009 and will also allow the Nationals to use either Ivan Rodriguez or Wilson Ramos as pinch-hitter without using their last catcher.
The two most likely choices seemed to be either outfielder Roger Bernadina, who is active for Syracuse after missing the first five games the season tending to a family matter, and utility infielder Brian Bixler, who had an excellent spring training.
Flores gives the Nationals a player who has experience as an everyday player to use off the bench. (Flores is 2 for 13 with a double in four games for Syracuse.) With Flores in the fold, the Nationals will most often have a bench of Laynce Nix, Matt Stairs, Rodriguez, Flores and either Jerry Hairston or Alex Cora, depending on which player starts at third base.
Flores, 26, began 2009 as the Nationals’ everyday catcher before a foul tip struck his shoulder and led to a devastating series of injuries. Flores returned as a major leaguer for the first time this spring, losing out to Ramos to become the Nationals’ second catcher alongside Rodriguez.
Flores gives the Nationals five Scott Boras clients on their 25-man roster.