With the Nationals' most recent round of September call-ups - Stephen Lombardozzi, Corey Brown, Atahualpa Severino, Craig Stammen, Yunesky Maya and Brad Peacock - the home clubhouse at Nationals Park is about as full as it's ever been. And that required a flurry of roster moves to set the team's 40-man roster.
The Nationals needed to clear space to add Lombardozzi and Peacock, who weren't on the 40-man roster. They also had to make room for Stephen Strasburg, who was on the 60-day disabled list but is scheduled to start tonight's game, if it's played.
The problem was this: The Nationals have three players on their 40-man roster they have no intention of calling up to the major leagues (Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Matt Purke). So to clear space on their roster, they transferred Cole Kimball to the 60-day disabled list, designated pitcher Garrett Mock for assignment and released pitcher Adam Carr.
Those moves weren't terribly surprising to anyone watching closely - Carr only pitched in 17 games this year at Triple-A Syracuse, and Mock has just about run out of rope after several disappointing years as a prospect. With the Nationals' 40-man roster as full as it's ever been, those two players almost had to be moved to make room for the next wave of prospects.
And now that those players are here, the Nationals will have to figure out how to use them.
Aside from Strasburg and Peacock - who are both slated to pitch tonight - Lombardozzi is the prospect likely to receive the most attention. He hit .309/.360/.430 at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse this year, and came up in a series of rumors in July: first as a possible replacement if shortstop Ian Desmond was traded, and then as a possible addition to a package for a center fielder.
He, Desmond and Danny Espinosa are all here now, though, and with three young middle infielders, manager Davey Johnson will have to do some juggling this month.
"I congratulated (Lombardozzi) on the year he had, and I said I know he's an outstanding second baseman," Johnson said. "I know he also got to play a little at short, and he got a half a game or something at third, which all middle infielders hate. He said, 'You got that right.'"
Johnson will give Lombardozzi a day or two off to rest from the minor league season, and at that point, he said he'll use the 22-year-old at second base or shortstop.