The Nationals have called up veteran reliever Mike Gonzalez from Class AAA and have sent struggling Ryan Perry to Syracuse.
Gonzalez's contract was officially purchased this morning, with Perry optioned back to Class AAA. To make room for Gonzalez on the 40-man roster, the Nationals transferred closer Drew Storen from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. That procedural move is retroactive to Opening Day and won't prevent Storen from returning from his elbow injury, likely in early July.
Gonzalez, 34, signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals last month and reported to extended spring training to work back into shape after undergoing knee surgery during the offseason. He joined the roster at Syracuse last week and made one appearance for the Chiefs, tossing 1 13 scoreless innings Friday night at Indianapolis.
Though he owns a 2.91 ERA in nine career seasons with the Pirates, Braves, Orioles and Rangers, Gonzalez has battled injuries and poor performances the last two seasons. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, though, was intrigued enough to take a look at the lefty and believes he could provide some veteran experience in their bullpen.
Gonzalez's addition does give the Nationals four relievers in their current bullpen, with Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny and Ross Detwiler already in the fold. That unconventional alignment may not prove to be a long-term solution. The club expects to have veteran right-hander Brad Lidge back from hernia surgery in the next 10 days or so.
Perry, acquired from the Tigers last winter for fellow reliever Collin Balester, made seven appearances, posting a 10.13 ERA and putting 14 men on base in eight total innings.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history.
Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him.
During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.
In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.
Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store
Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract.
On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.
Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop.
It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series.
Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster.
Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.
The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda.
There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.
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