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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How Kieboom and Candelario news affects Nats at third base


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Today is an off-day for the Nationals, the last one until the team breaks camp and heads north for an exhibition game against the Yankees in D.C. on March 28 before Opening Day against the Braves two days later.

But enough news trickled out of the team’s side of the complex at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches yesterday to get us through today. And both of the major headlines affect the Nats at third base.

The first was the morning news that Carter Kieboom suffered a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. The 25-year-old had just played in his first major league game in 17 months on Thursday as the designated hitter against the Marlins and now will be slowed down in camp.

“It started to flare up on me,” Kieboom said of his right shoulder tightness after Sunday’s game against the Astros. “And the last thing I want to do in this situation where I'm coming back is have something like this bother me and then you start kind of tweaking your own mechanics and start compensating for things. And that's what gets you in trouble again. So it's important to pay attention to these things. Whether it's an early onset of it, it's important to take care of it now that way it's a one-to-two-to-three-day thing versus a two-to-three-week thing. So we're on it very early and it's just something to stay on top of.

“It's important to have proper mechanics and with a healthy arm, I can have proper mechanics. It's something coming back from an elbow injury, you don't want a sore shoulder. You start dropping your arm and stuff like that. So I think we're on it very early and I feel very confident with it.”

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