Lombardozzi back in Nats system, Harper's brother promoted

Steve Lombardozzi is returning to the Nationals organization, signing a minor league contract after re-establishing himself this season playing independent ball in Waldorf.

Lombardozzi will report to Triple-A Syracuse. He's not on the Nationals' 40-man roster.

A 19th-round pick in the 2008 draft, Lombardozzi became one of the Nats' top prospects and made his major league debut in September 2011. The Columbia native wound up a key member of the 2012 National League East championship roster, hitting .273 with a .317 on-base percentage as a utilityman who learned how to play the outfield in addition to his natural infield positions.

The Nationals included Lombardozzi as part of their December 2013 trade with the Tigers for right-hander Doug Fister, also sending reliever Ian Krol and prospect Robbie Ray to Detroit. Lombardozzi wound up getting traded to the Orioles at the end of spring training and hit .288 in 20 games with Baltimore.


He spent time with the Pirates organization, going 0-for-10 in 12 games with the big league club, then was signed and released by the White Sox after the 2015 season.

Lombardozzi made his return this season with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, an independent team based out of Waldorf. The 27-year-old hit .367 (tops in the Atlantic League) over 166 at-bats. The Nationals purchased his contract from the Blue Crabs and now are assigning him to Syracuse.

Meanwhile, left-hander Bryan Harper was promoted to Syracuse from Double-A Harrisburg, moving Bryce Harper's older brother one step closer to the big leagues.

Bryan Harper posted a 1.50 ERA in 20 relief appearances with Harrisburg, allowing only 12 hits while striking out 24 batters in 21 innings. The 26-year-old lefty was a 30th-round pick in the 2011 draft.

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