Since the Nationals traded for Wilson Ramos on July 29, they've said the catcher is big-league ready now, but he likely wouldn't come to the majors until Sept. 1 so the Nationals wouldn't upset the current structure of their roster. That's code for not taking a roster spot away from Wil Nieves, who's been a sturdy receiver, if a limited hitter, and loyal teammate for them the last two-and-a-half years.
But with Nieves' wife, Yormarie, about to give birth to the couple's first child, the Nationals could need another catcher before Sept. 1. That could mean an earlier-than-expected call-up for Ramos.
Nieves would likely be away from the team for several days, so the Nationals could bring Ramos up to fill in for him while he's with his wife. They'd likely send Ramos back to Triple-A Syracuse once Nieves returns; they need a spot for an outfielder more than a catcher right now. But it's possible we could get a short look at the 23-year-old before Sept. 1.
He's been impressive at Syracuse, hitting .317 with a pair of homers in 15 games. He's 6-for-13 in his last three games for the Chiefs. There's a good chance he'll be on the major league roster to start next season, splitting time with Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate.
Update (1:31 p.m.): Guess I was closer than I thought on this. A team source just said the Nationals will call up Ramos today to fill in for Nieves, who's going to be with his wife. He'll be in Atlanta with the team tonight.
Update (5:12 p.m.): The Nationals made the move official a minute ago, recalling Ramos and putting Nieves on the temporary leave list. Nieves' wife Yormarie had been on bed rest for the last three months, and came to her first game of the season last week when Nieves hit his second homer of the year. I've seen him hit all four of his big-league homers, and after two, he's told a story about his wife with the cameras on him. Closed circuit to all the husbands out there: That's a veteran move. Learn from his ways.
Anyway, good news for the Nieveses, who had been trying to have a kid for some time. They're expecting a girl, and Nieves should be back with the team in a couple days.