So much for that planned "All-Star Tribute to Eddie Guardado" downtown this summer.
Seriously, the Nationals' release today of Guardado - and fellow lefty Shawn Estes - shows that these guys were never really counted on to make the big league staff. True, they got minimal mound time in the exhibition games - two innings for Eddie, one frame for Shawn - it's likely how they threw the ball during side sessions that punched their exit visas.
A year ago both men would have received much longer looks. That was then, this is now.
Lefty Victor Garate, and right-handers Ryan Speier, Logan Kensing and Joel Peralta were all reassigned to minor league camp, leaving the number of arms in big league camp at 27. Also sent back to minor league camp were catcher Derek Norris and outfielder Jerry Owens.
Norris may enjoy a slightly higher profile, at least temporarity, due to the lingering physical questions regarding Jesus Flores. If Flores' shoulder situation becomes chronic, Norris' path to the majors may be fast-tracked somewhat. No one really questions Derek's ability to swing the bat; last year at Hagerstown he batted .286, with 23 home runs and 84 RBI to go with 90 walks - with an OPS of .926. Sure, it's low A, but nonetheless, he showed a lot of plate discipline and legit power.
One NL scout who's seen a lot of Norris thinks he'll hit, but has doubts about his long-term viability behind the plate.
"He's going to have to watch his weight, because I think he's going to have tendency to get real wide," I was told. "But he's a hitter, no doubt about that."
Flores is going to be re-evaluated by Dr. James Andrews, and will open the season on the DL.