The Washington Nationals called up top prospect Carter Kieboom, with the infielder expected to join the team ahead of Friday’s home game against the San Diego Padres.
Kieboom, a 21-year-old infielder, has been on a tear for the Class AAA Fresno Grizzlies this season. Baseball Prospectus ranked Kieboom as baseball’s 16th-best prospect heading into the season, and he has responded with a .379 batting average with six doubles, three home runs, 18 RBI and 16 walks in 66 at-bats.
He heads to Washington with the Nationals’ infield depleted by injuries to Trea Turner (broken right index finger) and Anthony Rendon (left elbow contusion). To make space for Kieboom, the Nationals optioned Jake Noll back to AAA Fresno, and placed reliever Koda Glover on the 60-day injured list, which opened up a spot on the 40-man roster.
First pitch against the Padres is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Nationals Park on Friday.
Rendon has remained on the 25-man roster since he was hit by a pitch against the Miami Marlins on Saturday. Washington padded its bench by recalling Noll from the Grizzlies on Monday and sending reliever Austin Adams back to the minors. Noll was back in Fresno’s lineup for its game against the Reno Aces on Thursday, which indicated that Kieboom would take his place on the 25-man roster.
Kieboom has been learning to play second base since last fall because the Nationals already have a franchise shortstop in Turner. But General Manager Mike Rizzo has maintained that Kieboom is a shortstop, and his starts have been split this year, with 12 at short and six at second. Rizzo only likes to promote top prospects to the majors if there is an opportunity for them to play every day, seeing little value in having a growing player sit on the bench. It has been just over three weeks since Turner broke his finger when he was hit by a pitch April 2, and the Nationals have yet to hint at a timeline for his return.
Wilmer Difo has been starting in Turner’s place and is hitting .246 with a .316 on-base percentage. When the Nationals didn’t call up Kieboom right after Turner suffered the injury, Rizzo said it was so Kieboom could work on his defense at both positions. He has always been a plus hitter — even showing it with two home runs off Justin Verlander in a spring training game in March — and now he will get his first crack at the major leagues.
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