The Nationals optioned Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya, who officially signed a four-year, $8 million deal with the team last weekend, to their Gulf Coast League affiliate in Viera, Fla., today. Maya will throw in front of minor-league pitching coordinator Spin Williams, and will likely throw a simulated game or make a rehab start before heading to the majors. He'll also be able to work out with Orlando Hernandez, one of his idols from Cuba, who the Nationals signed last month.
The Nationals believe Maya is relatively close to getting to the majors. He was 13-4 with a 2.22 ERA last season in the Cuban National Series. It's likely he'll be in the majors before the end of the season.