The Nationals added six players to their roster Monday in the first round of September call-ups, promoting relievers Aaron Barrett, Xavier Cedeno and Blake Treinen, catcher Sandy Leon, first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from Class AAA Syracuse.
All six players will be active and available for Monday night’s series opener in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, the first available opportunity for clubs to expand their rosters to 40 for the remainder of the regular season.
None of the additions was particularly surprising; all have spent time on the Nationals’ roster at some point this season. Several, though, could immediately prove significant for a club trying to close out its second NL East title in three years.
Barrett was highly effective for the Nationals through the season’s first three months, posting a 1.67 ERA in the first 30 appearances of his big-league career. But the right-hander struggled in July, most notably after he had to tweak his mechanics to account for a balk called on him by umpire Joe West, and wound up getting demoted to Class AAA after allowing 10 runs in 6 2/3 innings. Barrett rediscovered his form at Syracuse over the last month, tossing eight scoreless innings while allowing only three batters to reach base.
Treinen also enjoyed success in multiple stints with the Nationals earlier this season, particularly as a fill-in starter. Barring injury, he’ll pitch out of the bullpen the rest of the way, hoping to continue the success that allowed him to post a 2.35 ERA in 11 big-league appearances and a 3.35 ERA in 16 minor-league appearances (all starts).
Cedeno gives the Nationals a fourth left-handed reliever for the stretch run, having completed three scoreless appearances earlier this season to go along with a 2.29 ERA in 35 games at Syracuse.
Moore rejoins the big-league club after a frustrating year in which he spent only minimal time on the big-league roster (he hit .214 with three homers in 34 games) and put up mediocre numbers at Class AAA (.265 average, 10 homers in 84 games).
Souza officially was activated off the 15-day disabled list following a rehab assignment with Syracuse for a shoulder injury. The International League MVP is 1-for-12 in limited big-league action.
Leon rejoins the Nationals roster once again to serve as the No. 3 catcher, affording manager Matt Williams an opportunity to use both Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton in a game and still have an emergency option.
Monday’s moves give the Nationals 31 players on their active roster for now. They could still add more over the next week, perhaps after Syracuse’s playoff run ends.