Needing to clear a spot for Revere on the active roster, the Nats optioned Matt den Dekker to Triple-A Syracuse, a decision manager Dusty Baker admitted earlier this week would be particularly tough.
A key offseason acquisition from the Blue Jays in the Drew Storen trade, Revere barely got a chance to make a first impression with the Nationals. He strained his right oblique muscle on his very first swing leading off opening day in Atlanta and has been on the DL since.
Revere's return comes a bit sooner than initially expected, only 32 days after he sustained the injury. Oblique strains often sideline major league players six-to-eight weeks.
The 28-year-old outfielder, though, progressed quickly once he was cleared to begin baseball activities two weeks ago. He began a rehab assignment with Syracuse exactly one week ago and played in five games, going 3-for-16 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base. He played a full nine innings in center field only once, on Tuesday.
Revere joined the Nationals in Chicago yesterday, then convinced club officials he was ready to return after participating fully in all pregame drills, including batting practice and baserunning.
The Nationals will now ask Revere to step right in and produce atop the lineup after watching their fill-in leadoff hitters bat a major league-worst .183 with a .218 on-base percentage in his absence.
"Not to put pressure on Ben, but we hope he's not spring training-type of ready," Baker said Wednesday. "We need him to be able to come in and hopefully be ready to play like he can play. We think we gave him ample time to get some ABs down there, but you don't know. You never know. Hopefully, we can come in and just do his thing."
The decision to send den Dekker to Syracuse instead of Michael A. Taylor boiled down to the Nationals wanting to stick with their initial plan entering the season, with Taylor serving as their fourth outfielder and getting playing time in both left and center fields when Revere and Jayson Werth need days off. Taylor is hitting just .186 with a .222 on-base percentage and team-high 32 strikeouts, but den Dekker (hitting .194 with a .265 on-base percentage) hasn't been appreciably better.