Nats announce 2020 opening day 30-man roster

The Nationals have announced their 30-man opening day roster for the 2020 regular season, which was overshadowed by the news that outfielder Juan Soto has tested positive for COVID-19 and is on the injured list to begin the season. Soto is not currently showing any symptoms. General manager Mike Rizzo confirmed that Soto is “asymptomatic.”

Austin Voth has been named the fifth starter to begin the season, while Erick Fedde will pitch out of the bullpen.

“Austin Voth will definitely be our fifth starter,” manager Davey Martinez said on today’s pregame Zoom call. “I like Fedde coming out of the bullpen. He’s thrown the ball really well in this little spring training we had. I know he threw ball in March really well.”

Rizzo was excited to see Wander Suero return to camp this week, but admitted that the Suero and Roenis Elías are not quite ready to be activated. They were placed on the injured list July 13 and need to get stretched out some more in Fredericksburg at the club’s alternate camp before being activated.

“I think on the reliever model, it’s unfortunate that Suero and Elías (are not currently available),” Rizzo said during today’s pregame Zoom call. “We are going to count on them this season to be factors for us. We deem them not ready to participate at this time. They are just not stretched out enough, they don’t have enough innings and pitches under their belt to make the opening day roster. So we hope they are not too far away. The readiness of the players that came late were a big part of our decision making process.”

Left-hander Sam Freeman makes the team, as do right-handers James Bourque, Kyle Finnegan and Ryne Harper.

James-Bourque-Debut-Delivers-White-Sidebar.jpg“They’ve been throwing the ball really well, all of them” Martinez said. “Bourque has got two really good pitches. The biggest thing with him is strikes. He proved that he could throw strikes. We like his stuff. Finnegan is a hard thrower, mixes in. He’s got a good cutter, good slider, good changeup. We thought he could be in the mix here. We got Harper and I love him. He’s a strike-thrower. He can throw anything at anytime for a strike. Kind of reminds me a little bit of Aníbal Sánchez, but in a reliever role. That’s kind of nice.”

The Nats decided to carry three catchers with Raudy Read joining veterans Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki. Several teams had gone with just two catchers in order to make use of an extra roster spot. But Martinez said he prefers carrying a third catcher for in-game adjustments on offense.

“Third catcher I kind of like because it gives me an opportunity to pinch-hit in that particular spot and also DH Suzuki if we had to with another catcher. I’m excited to keep a third catcher for right now,” he said.

No surprises in the infield, but it’s the first Nationals team since late 2005 not to have Ryan Zimmerman available to play. Eric Thames, Starlin Castro and Carter Kieboom are the newcomers in this group.

Emilio Bonifácio is listed in the outfield, but can play multiple positions. Andrew Stevenson makes the opening day roster and the skipper confirmed that Stevenson will start in left field tonight against the Yankees.

Here is the 2020 Nationals opening day roster:

Starters

LHP Patrick Corbin
RHP Aníbal Sánchez
RHP Max Scherzer
RHP Stephen Strasburg
RHP Austin Voth

Relievers

RHP James Bourque
LHP Sean Doolittle
RHP Erick Fedde
RHP Kyle Finnegan
LHP Sam Freeman
RHP Javy Guerra
RHP Ryne Harper
RHP Will Harris
RHP Daniel Hudson
RHP Tanner Rainey

Catchers

Yan Gomes
Raudy Read
Kurt Suzuki

Infielders

Asdrúbal Cabrera (S)
Starlin Castro
Wilmer Difo (S)
Howie Kendrick
Carter Kieboom
Eric Thames (L)
Trea Turner

Outfielders

Emilio Bonifácio (S)
Adam Eaton (L)
Victor Robles
Andrew Stevenson (L)
Michael A. Taylor

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