Nats option lefty Rivero, reassign righty Cole to minor league camp (with lineups)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Nationals made two more cuts this morning, optioning left-hander Felipe Rivero to Double-A Harrisburg and reassigning right-hander A.J. Cole to minor league camp.

Rivero, the 22-year-old acquired with catcher Jose Lobaton from Tampa Bay, made three spring appearances, allowing two runs in four innings for a 4.50 ERA. Rivero struck out none and walked none.

General manager Mike Rizzo raved about Rivero’s potential after completing the deal with the Rays, and the lanky left-hander impressed Nats coaches and evaluators this spring. He’s still fairly raw, but Rivero showed off an impressive fastball/curveball combination. He’ll start this season at Harrisburg.

Cole, 22, was ranked as the Nats’ second-best prospect by Baseball America over the winter. He was quite effective in three spring outings, allowing five hits, striking out seven and walking none in 6 2/3 scoreless innings.

Traded to the Athletics in the Gio Gonzalez deal in December 2011, Cole was then reacquired by the Nats last offseason in the Michael Morse trade. He came back to the Nats along with left-hander Ian Krol (who was shipped to the Tigers in the Doug Fister trade this winter) and right-hander Blake Treinen, who is still with the Nats at big league camp.

Cole is considered to be among the Nats’ next wave of starting pitching talent, along with Lucas Giolito and Sammy Solis.

With these two cuts, the Nats now have 55 players in big league camp.

Here are the lineups for today’s split-squad game here in Kissimmee against the Astros:

For the Nats
CF Nate McLouth
3B Will Rhymes
SS Ian Desmond
C Jose Lobaton
1B Tyler Moore
DH Chris Snyder
LF Scott Hairston
CF Eury Perez
2B Mike Fontenot

RHP Tanner Roark

For the Astros
CF Dexter Fowler
2B Jose Altuve
C Jason Castro
DH Marc Krauss
1B Chris Carter
3B Matt Dominguez
RF LJ Hoes
LF Robbie Grossman
SS Jonathan Villar

RHP Jerome Williams

And here’s the Nats’ split-squad lineup for their game in Lake Buena Vista against the Braves:

CF Denard Span
SS Danny Espinosa
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Zach Walters
DH Brock Peterson
C Sandy Leon

RHP Chris Young

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