Rafael Bautista is back in the big leagues. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s win over the Mets, infielder Adrian Sanchez was joking around with Wilmer Difo, smiling wide, showing off the welt on his chest where Jeurys Familia hit him with a pitch. He seemed to be doing well.

But the Nationals chose against taking chances, and sent Sanchez to the hospital for a CT scan. He stayed there overnight so doctors could monitor his breathing and ensure the impact had not caused trouble with his heart. It didn’t, and he was discharged Sunday morning.

Sanchez was not in the clubhouse before reporters left it Sunday morning, but was still on the active roster as of noon. He was not, however, in the starting lineup for Game 1 of what will be a split doubleheader.

Rafael Bautista is in the lineup for Game 1, which should be surprising given that Bautista was not on the Nationals roster as of early Sunday morning. They activated him before the game, optioning A.J. Cole to Syracuse to make room. Bautista should help the Nationals absorb a short-term loss of Sanchez, as Howie Kendrick can play infield in Sanchez’s place and Bautista can bolster the outfield. Against left-hander Tommy Milone on Sunday afternoon, that is exactly what will happen.

Bautista earned his first major league call up this spring, then injured his hamstring while playing with Syracuse in late May. He landed on the disabled list on May 24, and returned to the Chiefs on Aug. 21. He was 6 for 19 in five games since being activated and stole a base in that time.

“I’ve been feeling great. I’ve got my legs under me a lot,” Bautista said. “I’ve taken a few games in Syracuse, and my legs feel okay. I’m thankful.”

The 24-year-old outfielder endeared himself to Manager Dusty Baker and the Nationals’ staff during his first major league spring training this year as a hard worker whose speed — much like that of fellow young outfielder Andrew Stevenson — is potentially game-changing. When the season began, Bautista was considered the more big-league ready of that duo, but his injury forced the Nationals to dig deeper into their system (and outside it) to fill the void.

The Nationals need a roster spot for Monday’s planned starter, Max Scherzer, meaning they will need to send someone out at that time. But for now, Bautista joins an outfielding corps of Stevenson, Michael A. Taylor and Alejandro De Aza, as well as Kendrick and Adam Lind, who can play there if necessary. Bautista arrived around 11 a.m. Sunday. As of about 11:15, hitting coach Rick Schu tapped him on the shoulder and told him “Juego one!” before letting out a holler and a fist pound to welcome him back. Bautista, last year’s minor league stolen base king, has one major league hit in five big league appearances. He will make his sixth Sunday afternoon.

The Nationals also activated Erick Fedde on Sunday morning. He will be their 26th man for the doubleheader, meaning he will be sent back to Syracuse after the start. The Nationals’ top pitching prospect will make his third major league start, though the other two have come against the Cubs and Rockies. Sunday’s depleted Mets lineup should be less of a challenge.


Howie Kendrick 2B

Wilmer Difo SS

Anthony Rendon 3B

Ryan Zimmerman 1B

Matt Wieters C

Michael A. Taylor CF

Alejandro De Aza LF

Rafael Bautista RF

Erick Fedde P


Brandon Nimmo RF

Juan Lagares CF

Asdrubal Cabrera 2B

Wilmer Flores 3B

Dom Smith 1B

Travis d’Arnaud C

Amed Rosario SS

Matt Reynolds LF

Tommy Milone P