The Nationals officially called up first baseman Chris Marrero this afternoon, adding their top pick from the 2006 draft to their major league roster after five seasons in the minors.
The 23-year-old is expected to get much of the playing time at first base the rest of the season, while the Nationals take a look at him and move Michael Morse back to left field, where he'll likely end up next season. It's unlikely Marrero starts next season at first base - Adam LaRoche should be back, and there's no telling what will happen if players like Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols hit the open market - but if LaRoche is the starter, it's not impossible that he gets traded and Marrero supplants him midway through the season.
For Marrero, the call-up comes after a long journey through the minor leagues that's spanned three positions, four levels of the minor leagues and included a nasty injury when Marrero broke his leg sliding into home in 2008. He reported to camp this spring looking leaner and stronger than he had before, after working with a nutritionist in the offseason and cleaning up his diet. He showed softer hands and a more nimble frame at first base than he had in previous springs, and followed it up with an impressive season at Triple-A Syracuse, hitting .300/.375/.449 with 14 homers, 69 RBIs and only five errors at first base.
With a full month in the majors, Marrero has a chance to make things interesting in 2012. He'll get to start his time in the majors tonight in Cincinnati.