The Nationals optioned starter Luis Atilano to Triple-A Syracuse this afternoon, a move mostly designed to get the right-hander some work while the team is on the All-Star break next week. Atilano will pitch for the Chiefs next Thursday, he said, and expects to rejoin the team on July 20 in Cincinnati, when the Nationals need a fifth starter after the All-Star break.
They will play with 24 men on the roster tonight and make a corresponding move tomorrow. Outfielder Justin Maxwell, who has been scratched from the Syracuse lineup tonight, according to a source, is the likely addition to the roster; the Nationals are facing left-handed pitchers the next two days, and called him up earlier in the year to help with a run of lefties, which can give Nyjer Morgan and Roger Bernadina trouble.
Maxwell is hitting .296 with a .400 on-base percentage, six homers and 18 RBI in 55 games at Syracuse.