The Nationals placed right-handed reliever Todd Coffey on the 15-day disabled with a strained left calf muscle and replaced him by recalling Collin Balester from Class AAA Syracuse. Coffey last pitched April 8, meaning he will be eligible to come off the disabled list the 24th.

Balester established himself as a reliable option late season, his first year after the Nationals converted him from starting to relief. Balester allowed two earned runs in his final 16 1/3 innings last year, including a 15 1/3-inning scoreless streak. Over those 16 1/3 innings, he struck out 23 and walked eight.

Balester, 24, began the year in the minors because he had an option remaining, not necessarily because the Nationals did not believe he had the ability to pitch in the majors. In five innings over three appearances at Syracuse, Balester has allowed no runs on four hits and three walks while striking out six.

We’ll have more on Coffey and Balester later. For Game 1 of today’s straight doubleheader, these are the lineups:


1. Danny Espinosa, 2B

2. Rick Ankiel, CF

3. Jayson Werth, RF

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Michael Morse, LF

6. Ian Desmond, SS

7. Ivan Rodriguez, C

8. Alex Cora, 3B

9. Jason Marquis, SP

(Livan Hernandez will start Game 2.)


1. Rickie Weeks, 2B

2. Craig Counsell, SS

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Mark Kotsay, RF

7. Jonathan Lucroy, C

8. Carlos Gomez, CF

9. Yovani Gallardo, SP

(Former National Marco Estrada will start Game 2.)