Johansen released, Valdez to DL in Nats’ minor league moves

The Nationals announced they have released right-handers Jake Johansen and Mark Blackmar. The club has assigned right-hander Taylor Hill to Double-A Harrisburg from Triple-A Syracuse.

Also, catcher Nick Rickles and right-handers Andrew Robinson and Derek Eitel have been assigned to Harrisburg from extended spring training.

Johansen is the biggest name of those released today as a 2013 second-round selection. Early on, some in baseball circles envisioned a one-two punch of the 6-foot-6 Johansen paired with the 6-foot-6 Lucas Giolito for years to come in the Nats system. Giolito was traded to the Chicago White Sox over the winter and Johansen was never able to find consistent success to move up.

Jake-Johansen-throwing-red-P-Nats-sidebar.jpgJohansen made 42 starts in his first two seasons in the Nats system. But Johansen managed only a 5.19 and 5.79 ERA in two campaigns for low Single-A Hagerstown with 96 strikeouts and 60 walks.

In 2015, he moved exclusively to the bullpen for high Single-A Potomac, where he ended up with a 1-7 record in 24 games and a 5.44 ERA, plus a batting average against of .300. Johansen made 24 appearances at three levels and combined for a 4-1 record and a 3.19 ERA.

The 26-year-old Johansen moved to Double-A this season but struggled to a 6.17 ERA in 10 games.

Hill has had a rough start to the season at Triple-A, going 1-4 with a 9.29 ERA in six starts. Opponents are averaging .374 against him this season.

Right-hander Phillips Valdez has been placed on the disabled list. He is 0-1 in 10 games with a 6.00 ERA. No word on the extent of the injury to Valdez that landed him on the DL.

Robinson was signed as a free agent by the Nats in 2015. Eitel made 54 appearances for Triple-A El Paso in the Pacific Coast League last season. Rickles hit .227 in 24 games last season for Harrisburg, and adds catching depth.

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