The Nationals officially placed outfielder Nyjer Morgan on the 15-day disabled list after Thursday's game with right hip soreness, but they made another surprising move after the game: They put pitcher JD Martin - who'd been hopeful he would be able to return from a lower back strain quickly - on the 60-day disabled list. That means Martin is likely done for the season, and also means the Nationals will call up someone not on the 40-man roster on Friday.
There are a few possibilities for the move; third baseman Chase Lambin and outfielder Kevin Mench are tied for the team lead at Triple-A Syracuse with 12 homers. Mench had 51 homers from 2004-05 with the Rangers, whereas Lambin would be making his major-league debut. Player development director Doug Harris said earlier this year that Mench could contribute to the big-league squad later this season. Outfielder Boomer Whiting has also played well at Syracuse, posting a .403 on-base percentage and stealing 27 bases. He'd be a logical replacement for Morgan's skill set. It seems unlikely the Nationals would call up a prospect from Double-A Harrisburg; they typically prefer players to go through Syracuse before reaching the majors.
The move also means catcher Wilson Ramos, who was acquired from the Twins last week in the trade for Matt Capps, is not headed to the majors. Ramos is already on the 40-man roster, so the Nationals would not have needed to make a 40-man move to call him up. And they wouldn't clear a 40-man spot unless they were planning to put a player on the major-league roster.
Martin, who went on the disabled list after his July 24 start in Milwaukee, had hoped a series of epidurals would alleviate pain in his back, which had been caused by two bulging discs that were giving him nerve trouble. It remains to be seen if he'll need surgery to fix the problem.