In order to clear space on the roster for tonight’s starter Ross Detwiler, the Nationals designated Collin Balester for assignment. The DFA, usually a sign of ties getting cut, is actually a formality in this case because Balester has three years of service time. The same thing happened with Matt Chico last year. A Nationals spokesman said Balester will be back on the 40-man roster on Thursday. I’ll try to get a fuller explanation, but it seems like this move is effectively the same as an option.

As for the lineup: A day after Laynce Nix played first base for the first time, he’s making his first major league start at first. Michael Morse, as expected, remains out of the lineup with that nasty bruise on his forearm. Old friend Ramon Ortiz is on the mound for the Cubs.

Nationals

1. Roger Bernadina, LF

2. Danny Espinosa, 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4. Laynce Nix, 1B

5. Jayson Werth, RF

6. Rick Ankiel, CF

7. Wilson Ramos, C

8. Ian Desmond, SS

9. Ross Detwiler, SP