Cole Kimball claimed off waivers, Corey Brown outrighted

The Nationals made a pair of moves today that took players off their 40-man roster in advance of Friday’s deadline to add players to the roster and protect them from the Rule 5 draft.

Right-hander Cole Kimball, who saw a promising first year in the majors cut short because of shoulder surgery, was claimed off waivers by Toronto. And outfielder Corey Brown, who came to the Nationals as part of last year’s trade for Josh Willingham, was outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse.

The Nationals now have 32 players on their 40-man roster, so they should have room to add a few of their prospects (like Derek Norris or Tyler Moore) whom they would be at risk of losing in the Rule 5 draft.

Kimball looked like a potential late-inning fixture for the Nationals this year, but saw his season get cut short by shoulder problems in early June. He would have been out until the All-Star break after surgery, and in Toronto, he’ll be reunited with special assistant Dana Brown, who drafted Kimball as the Nationals’ scouting director in 2006.

Corey Brown will still be in the organization, but his removal from the 40-man roster is further confirmation that the Nationals’ trade for Josh Willingham will be judged on the success or failure of Henry Rodriguez.