Nationals director of player development Doug Harris has confirmed that infielders Justin Bloxom, Zach Walters and Jason Martinson have been promoted. Bloxom and Walters are moving to Double-A Harrisburg and Martinson heads to high Single-A Potomac.
Bloxom has hit .259 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs, while Walters has connected for a .269 average with five homers and 24 RBIs.
Harris also announced that right-hander Ryan Perry will make the transition from reliever to starter and the Nationals are confident the 25-year old can make the transition smoothly.
“We like his size,” Harris said. “We like his athleticism. He has an ease to his delivery. We feel like, with Ryan, we have a chance to take a step back in order to take two steps forward.
Perry throws 90-96 mph fastball with good angle. Harris said Perry “has a power breaking ball. He has a changeup and curveball that as a reliever he didn’t get to utilize significantly.”
Harris said the Nationals will have Harrisburg pitching coach Paul Menhart concentrate on the right-hander’s delivery.
“The thing we are going to try to capitalize on is creating a delivery that is a very repeatable delivery,” Harris said. “With that, we hope that he can continue to hone his command and continue to develop his repertoire with all three pitches.”
Harris said Stephen King has been sent to Potomac from Harrisburg. Pitcher Mike Ballard has been placed in the disabled list with elbow discomfort, he added.
“King will get a chance for a lot of at-bats at Potomac and play a lot of first base,” Harris said. “We know he can defend. He is a legitimate defender. We know he can do that, we are just trying to get him to a better place offensively.”
Of the promotions of Bloxom and Walters, Harris said, “We felt Zach and Justin have worked very strongly towards their goal to move up and deserve that. Zach was a little behind coming out of spring training. At first in Potomac, it was a little fast for him, but he made nice adjustments. Bloxom, the same thing - he has really come on strong.”
Martinson didn’t get the call to the South Atlantic league All-Star game, but instead gets promoted to high Single-A. He had a .272 average in 69 games with 10 homers and 63 RBIs at Hagerstown.
“Martinson has made incredible strides defensively,” Harris said. “His offensive numbers speak for themselves. We are really pleased with what he has accomplished in the first half.”
At Potomac, Rick Hague will rotate between shortstop and second base and the Nationals will continue to move other guys around in the infield like Blake Kelso, Francisco Soriano and Adrian Sanchez.
Third baseman Matt Skole has been doing very well in Hagerstown, there is no update on his possible promotion. The Nationals are very pleased with his progress.