Strange-Gordon activated, Fox optioned to Triple-A

DENVER – Nineteen days have passed since Dee Strange-Gordon first was sent back to his hotel in Pittsburgh with an illness, then late sent back to Washington with instructions not to leave his home until he was medically cleared to do so.

All the veteran utilityman could do throughout the process was some agility workouts with large rubber bands, then use a virtual reality system to watch major league pitchers throw various pitches toward him. Otherwise, he couldn’t pick up a bat, couldn’t play catch, couldn’t come to the ballpark for workouts.

“Just part of it,” he said today. “That’s how the world works right now. I had to do what I had to do. I’m just thankful I didn’t get anybody else sick.”

Strange-Gordon did not get anybody else sick, and today he finally was activated off the injured list and reinstated to the Nationals’ active roster for the opener of their three-game series against the Rockies.

“It’s been a while,” he said. “Happy to see my teammates. Happy to be back.”

Strange-Gordon was able to go on a short rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester to get him back into baseball shape after the time off. He played in five games for the Red Wings, going 3-for-18 with a double, two walks and two RBIs while playing shortstop, second base and center field.

The Nationals hope he can slide right back into things and contribute the way he did during spring training and during the season’s first week before he got sick.

“I talked to (Rochester manager) Matt LeCroy; he said he looked good,” Martinez said. “He was running fine. He had some good at-bats. So we wanted to bring him back up here. He’s going to get a chance to play different positions up here, as he did before. But he looks good.”

Strange-Gordon’s return came at the expense of Lucius Fox, who was optioned to Triple-A to clear a roster spot. The rookie infielder just recorded his first two big league hits Sunday in San Francisco after an 0-for-20 start to his career.

Strange-Gordon, who took Fox under his wing this spring and sees a similar type of player waiting to get his chance, gave the 24-year-old some words of encouragement and cited a comparable situation he found himself in as a rookie with the Dodgers more than a decade ago.

“We’ve all been there,” Strange-Gordon said. “Keep his head up. Go down there and kill it. In 2011, I got called up for Rafael Furcal. And when he came back from injury, same thing. I had to go. And I went down and played well enough that Raffy got traded. Just go down there and do your thing, and you never know what could happen.”

Martinez said Fox will play shortstop and second base in Rochester, sharing those positions with top infield prospect Luis García. Fox also will get occasional starts at third base, in case he’s needed back in D.C. to play that position.

Because Strange-Gordon was off the 40-man roster while on the IL with his illness, the Nationals needed to clear a spot for him to return today. They chose to transfer Aníbal Sánchez to the 60-day IL, recognizing the 38-year-old right-hander won’t be ready to return from the nerve impingement in his neck for some time.

Sánchez, who first noted neck pain after the team’s charter flight north from West Palm Beach, Fla., at the end of spring training, attempted to throw several weeks ago but continued to experience the pain. He was sent for a follow-up MRI, but Martinez said that test showed the same injury as the original one.

“He’s getting better, but it’s going to take him a while to get back to that starting role as a pitcher where he’s got to build himself back up,” Martinez said. “As we all know, he’s going to have to have spring training all over again, because he’s got himself so far behind. Our big concern with him is making sure that he’s 100 percent healthy. Once he gets that and he’s pain-free, he can start throwing again and get ready to come up here and help us win games.”

Nats stay red-hot on road, trounce Rockies
Game 25 lineups: Nats at Rockies

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