Garrett, Ferrer, Valera cut; Call named fourth outfielder

Alex Call swinging gray

JUPITER, Fla. – The Nationals made three more cuts this morning, narrowing their options for the final spot on the bench to three players and the competition for four available spots in the bullpen to eight healthy arms.

Outfielder Stone Garrett and left-hander Jose Ferrer were optioned to Triple-A Rochester, with infielder Leonel Valera reassigned to minor league camp.

Those moves leave 32 healthy players in major league camp, so six more must be cut before the Opening Day roster is set next week.

Garrett’s demotion to Rochester finalized what already had become clear over the course of the spring: Alex Call will make the club as the fourth outfielder. The 28-year-old has been the Nationals’ most consistent hitter in Grapefruit League play, entering today’s game batting .333 (13-for-39) with four doubles, four RBI and six walks.

“He’s done really well,” manager Davey Martinez said. “I like him. He’s a pesky guy, and he put together some good at-bats this spring. I know he can do that. When we got him last year, that’s something we liked about him. He’ll accept his walks. He has long ABs. And he puts the ball in play.”

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Nats still hoping quality lefty emerges for bullpen

martinez w ipad dugout

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – In his perfect world, Davey Martinez would have a left-hander in his Opening Day bullpen. Two of them, actually.

By now, though, the Nationals manager probably realizes there’s no such thing as a perfect world. Certainly not when it comes to this specific area.

It’s been a near-annual struggle since Martinez joined the organization to find consistently effective left-handed relievers. He’s had 10 lefties make at least 10 appearances since 2018. Only two have produced an ERA under 4.00: Sean Doolittle and Brad Hand.

Hand, of course, was only here for four months during the 2021 season before he was traded to the Blue Jays. And Doolittle, while dominant at times, has dealt with multiple injuries and is currently attempting to return from elbow surgery that limited him to five games last season.

The Nats, ideally, would love to develop guys from within their own farm system. And they believe they have two such candidates in big league camp this spring in Jose Ferrer and Matt Cronin. Each has shown promise through the first two weeks of exhibition play. Then each struggled mightily Thursday night during a 9-0 loss to Team Israel.

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