In the wake of the loss of center fielder Adam Eaton to a potential serious left leg injury, the Nationals will promote centerfielder Rafael Bautista to the major league club, a baseball source has confirmed.
Eaton was injured Friday night in the ninth inning on a play at first base in the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets.
Bautista had a very good spring with the Nats, and is hitting .291 with Triple-A Syracuse. The 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic has hit .326 in his last 10 games. He has accumulated 23 hits, with five doubles, three stolen bases, 14 runs and two RBIs in 19 games this season.
Bautista had a key single and run scored in Syracuse’s Friday game in Norfolk, Va., that helped tie the game 4-4. Norfolk eventually won 7-4. He finished 2-for-5 in the contest.
In 23 spring training games, Bautista hit .316 with 12 hits, two doubles, two stolen bases, five runs and four RBIs. He had played in only seven spring training games in the past three seasons combined.
Bautista has been considered a top 10 Nats prospect for the past couple of seasons, and has tremendous range, a solid bat and very good speed. This will be his major league debut. There is no word on how long Eaton will be out of the lineup for the Nationals.
Update: It’s official. The Nationals have recalled Bautista and placed Eaton on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee strain.