[Updated 6:37 p.m.]
The Washington Nationals began expanding their roster with September call-ups on Sunday, promoting pitchers Erik Davis and Ian Krol from Triple-A Syracuse, as well as catcher Sandy Leon from Double-A Harrisburg.
The Nats are expected to call up more players in the coming days as both the Chiefs’ and Senators’ schedules end on Sept. 2. Manager Davey Johnson said on Friday they could add as many as eight players in total for the final month.
Davis joins the Nationals for the second time this year, having made five appearances with the club in June. He holds a 6.23 ERA through 4 1/3 innings in the major leagues. He finished 3-7 with a 3.10 ERA in 45 games with Syracuse this season. The Nationals acquired Davis, 26, in a 2011 trade with the San Diego Padres.
The rookie hopes to improve pitching in the middle of games with the Nats after filling more of a late inning role at Syracuse.
"When you’re coming in in a one-run game in the ninth inning -- I was doing that down there -- it’s easy to be all fired up and in control of things, but it’s not the way you come into every game," he said. "So it’s taking that same approach, that same kind of fire into every outing, no matter what the scoreboard says. I kind of wanted to refine my whole approach, as far as going into each and every outing the same."
Davis says 2013 has been an overall success already for him, as he reached the big leagues for the first time in his career. But now that he's experienced the majors, he hopes to build a case to stay.
"Every person’s goal is to stay here. So while I have achieved some sort of success getting here, I haven’t gotten nearly to the point where I’ve been able to stay here. Hopefully this month I can just continue to refine my approach and hopefully put myself in a good spot for next year."
Krol comes back up just ten days after being sent down to Triple-A. He has 27 appearances with the Nats to date with a 3.24 ERA. The 22-year-old lefty held a 1.21 cumulative ERA in the minor leagues across 26 games with Harrisburg and Syracuse.
Krol was also brought in via trade. He was the player to be named later in the deal that sent Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners. Krol was a member of the Oakland Athletics before heading east.
Spending over a week in the minors restored some confidence for Krol and helped him tweak his delivery. He says he has more bite on his curveball and is more inclined to use it now as an out-pitch.
"I wasn’t getting everything out of my delivery. I wasn’t extending my arm as much as I wanted to. I was kinda cutting myself off which led to soreness and sporadic locations where I’m throwing my pitches," he said.
"I’ve been working on keeping my weight on my back shoulder when I load. Just the mechanical issue isn’t the major issue, just the whole curveball deal that I had to figure out down there.”
Leon, 24, made his MLB debut with Washington last season and batted .267 with two doubles and two RBI through 12 games. He struggled this year with a .177 average and a .542 OPS in 95 games at Harrisburg.
Leon is looking forward to working with the Nationals coaching staff to get his swing back in check.
"I think it's all mental, more mental than mechanical," he said. "Rich Schu is a really good hitting coach. He knows how to talk to the guys when they're hitting and stuff and I think he can help me a lot. That's why I'm happy I'm here. I want to work with him."