SAN FRANCISCO - The Nationals have placed backup catcher Jose Lobaton on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow tendinitis and recalled Pedro Severino from Triple-A Syracuse to take his spot on the big league roster.
Lobaton hadn’t appeared in any of the Nationals’ last eight games, so the transaction is retroactive to July 20 and makes him eligible to return as soon as August 4.
The 31-year-old’s playing time has been minimal in recent weeks, with All-Star Wilson Ramos getting the vast majority of time behind the plate. Ramos has started eight consecutive games and 15 of the Nationals’ last 16.
Lobaton’s previously unreported ailment may have been a factor in his recent lack of use. He would have been a prime candidate to start Wednesday’s matinee finale in Cleveland, a game that started at 12:10 p.m. on the heels of a night game.
The Nationals have back-to-back day games this weekend against the Giants, so the need for a healthy catcher who could give Ramos a breather became necessary. Severino will fill that role, potentially starting Saturday’s game and pairing up with likely starter Reynaldo Lopez, who is expected to be recalled from Syracuse to make his second career start in the majors.
Severino, 23, has three games of experience with the Nationals over the last two seasons. He was hitting .259 with a .307 on-base percentage and .324 slugging percentage in 73 games at Syracuse.