The Nationals optioned Atahualpa Severino to Class AAA Syracuse after the game tonight, and they are planning to recall Collin Balester tomorrow. Balester will be used as a right-handed long reliever, which along with left-hander Tom Gorzelanny will give Manager Davey Johnson the dual long relievers he has wanted in his bullpen.

The Nationals called up Severino yesterday as insurance on the trade deadline. He did not appear in any games.

The Nationals have been preparing Balester, a former starter who became a reliever last season, for his role as a long reliever. On Saturday, he threw four innings in Syracuse, allowing no runs on one hit and striking out six.