The Nationals have designated pitcher Shairon Martis for assignment to open a roster spot for Jerry Hairston Jr. The next Nat to be handed that bit of news will most likely be Alberto Gonzalez, who has competition for the backup infield gig with the club's signing of Alex Cora to a minor league contract.
Martis is a .500 pitcher over two seasons and 33 big league starts, with a plus-five ERA. He's had his moments, but in general, he's not shown any degree of consistency. However, he's young - he turns 24 in March - and already has six seasons of professional experience.
On another front, one pretty consistent source tells me that the Nationals are working on "a number" of other trades, though didn't have enough specifics to flesh anything out. Another big league scout tells me he'd heard some "conversations" had taken place between the Nats and the Indians about starting pitcher Fausto Carmona and outfielder Grady Sizemore.
The Tribe is looking to move salary, and Sizemore, coming off of knee surgery, is eligible for free agency in 2012. You may recall that Sizemore was originally an Expos product and was traded - along with Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips - to Cleveland for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew in 2002.