VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals removed one more name from the mix for the final spot on their bench this morning, optioning infielder Zach Walters to Class AAA Syracuse.
Walters entered camp as a long shot to crack the Opening Day roster, but the 24-year-old did everything he could to make a case for himself with a strong offensive performance. In 15 Grapefruit League games, he hit .379 (11-for-29) with a homer, five RBI and a 1.075 OPS.
Acquired from the Diamondbacks in the 2011 deadline deal for Jason Marquis, Walters broke through last season when he clubbed 29 homers at Syracuse and earned a September promotion to Washington.
But Walters faced stiff competition this spring from fellow infielders in camp, most notably Danny Espinosa, who is expected to make the Opening Day roster as the club’s primary backup infielder.
There does remain one more bench job up for grabs, with Tyler Moore and Jamey Carroll the likely finalists for that position ahead of the only other remaining position players in big-league camp: Will Rhymes and Brock Peterson.