The Nationals activated Matt Adams, the power-hitting first baseman with 13 home runs this season, from the disabled list on Wednesday. The move will bolster the offense against right-handed pitchers. It also came at a steep price. To make room on the roster, the Nationals decided to designate Tim Collins for assignment.

Collins, 28, returned to the major leagues with the Nationals in May after two Tommy John surgeries forced a three-year absence. And he pitched well, tallying a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings.  He was a reliable piece. But a few days after optioning Sammy Solis to the minors, the Nationals didn’t have a reliever with an option remaining, and they wanted to discard one because they had eight — one more than usual — and preferred to have a standard five-man bench.

“Very tough. Collins did well for us,” Nationals Manager Dave Martinez said. “It’s just a numbers game at this point. We gotta get Matty back. He’s not playing today but he’s a good guy to have on the bench, especially against [the Red Sox], who have a lot of right-handed relievers. So we’ll get him in today. And he’s ready to go. But losing Timmy — hope we get him back. We talked about it. But he’s been really good.”

Chances are Washington won’t get Collins back. He’s a left-hander who consistently throws 94 mph. Those are valuable assets. Collins technically had an option remaining, but he had the right to decline it because of his service time. A team will claim him if he’s placed on waivers, though the Nationals can probably work out a trade to get something in return before in the seven-day period before he must be put on waivers.

The Nationals have carried a bigger bullpen most of the season — they had nine relievers for a stretch until sending Solis to the minors on Saturday — so Martinez must adjust his decision-making. He won’t have the option to play the matchups as frequently. He’ll have to trust his relievers to get both righties and lefties out more often — and be more mindful of relievers wasting warm-up pitches without getting into games.

“It’s just about getting guys in situations where they’re going to succeed,” Martinez said. “We got to watch the up-and-downs. We got to get them up and in. Or maybe get them up once and see how it plays out and the next inning get them in.”

With Adams’s return, Daniel Murphy, who has mostly played first base since coming off the disabled list last month, will play second base almost exclusively. Adams, a left-handed bat, will replace him in Washington’s platoon with Mark Reynolds. Adams hasn’t played since fracturing his left index finger attempting to bunt against the Blue Jays on June 15. He played for Class AA Harrisburg on Tuesday, going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, though the results are far less important than how the finger felt.

And the finger, Adams said, felt fine enough to perform at his usual level, which has included posting a .926 OPS in 57 games this season. He said returning Wednesday — 19 days after the injury — is sooner than expected, but doctors told him he could return after the two-week mark. It was then up to his pain tolerance.

“The vibrations of the balls on the bat and catching the ball, it’s not feeling as bad so that’s a good sign,” the 29-year-old Adams said. “Just got to continue taking it day by day. ”

RED SOX (58-29)
Mookie Betts RF
Brock Holt SS
J.D. Martinez LF
Steve Pearce 1B
Rafael Devers 3B
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
Eduardo Rodriguez P

NATIONALS (42-42)
Adam Eaton LF
Trea Turner SS
Anthony Rendon 3B
Bryce Harper RF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Michael A. Taylor CF
Wilmer Difo 2B
Pedro Severino C
Erick Fedde P