Barrera and Thompson recalled as September rosters expand

It’s a new month, the last one of the season, which means major league rosters expand from 26 to 28 players.

The Nationals’ additions were no surprise: They officially recalled catcher Tres Barrera and right-hander Mason Thompson from Triple-A Rochester.

Barrera returns for his second stint with the Nationals this season. Over his previous time with the Nats, he hit .182 with a double, four RBIs and two walks in 14 games. 

In 55 games for Triple-A Rochester this season, Barrera hit .254 with seven doubles, a triple, seven home runs, 25 RBIs and 20 walks. He recorded a hit in all three of his starts as Rochester’s catcher since being optioned on Aug. 22.

The 27-year-old joins Keibert Ruiz and Riley Adams as the three catchers now on the Nats roster. Manager Davey Martinez will look to use some of their flexibility to get each of them an appropriate amount of playing time, with all of them able to serve as the designated hitter and Adams also able to spell Luke Voit at first base.

“Tres, like I said yesterday, it'll be nice to have a third catcher because then I could do something different with Riley and Keibert, whether I want to DH one of them,” Martinez said during his pregame press conference. “Riley played first base down there, so if we want to give Luke a day, he can play first base as well. So it's nice to have that extra catcher do different things.”

Thompson rejoins the Nationals for the fourth time this season with a 1.13 ERA and seven strikeouts in eight innings over nine games. Martinez has not used him in high-leverage situations.

He was 0-4 with a 3.52 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 ⅓ innings for Rochester this season. A reliever for most of his career, Thompson even made his first start for Rochester on Aug. 27, allowing one run on three hits in two innings.

The Nationals have wanted him to work on pitching multiple innings so he could fill different roles when back with the major league club.

“We've always had mentioned about trying to bring Mason back when we could," Martinez said. "We see Mason as being a big part of our future. We wanted to get him to throw, try to get four outs, five outs. He's actually started a couple of games and gotten two-plus (innings). So he said he feels good. He's throwing the ball well. So we're gonna give him an opportunity to come up here and use him in a role to where he can come in in a big moment and get a couple of outs for us. But also be able to get four or five outs for us as well.

“So I'm looking forward to watching him pitch. I watched him down there in Rochester. He's throwing the ball well. As we all know, he's got a good fastball. Talked a lot about trying to pick and choose what kind of breaking pitch he wants, whether it's the curveball or slider. He said his slider has been really, really good. So we'll give him an opportunity to come up here and see what he can do.”

* Martinez wouldn’t officially rule out Stephen Strasburg from returning this year, but admitted the timing would be difficult entering the last month of the season.

Strasburg, recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome, has only been able to work on strengthening, specifically mentioning to Martinez that his shoulder feels stronger.

“Nothing. He actually is feeling better, though,” Martinez said in providing an update on Strasburg. “But he's just doing strengthening stuff. But he said he feels a little bit better. So for us, that's a step in the right direction. But there's nothing new. He's not gonna throw anytime soon. So we're just going to have to wait and see.”

Strasburg only made one start this season, giving up seven runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out five over 4 ⅔ innings against the Marlins on June 9. But he has been shut down with little information of his recovery coming out ever since.

“I don't want to rule anybody out,” Martinez said. “But if you do the math, for him to come back, he kind of needs a while. But I want these guys to work and build strength and do the things they'll do so that they feel like they're working for something.”

Meneses delivers Nats' first walk-off win with thr...
Nationals recall Barrera, Thompson

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to