Nolin, Baldonado, Fuentes dropped from 40-man roster

The Nationals removed three players off their 40-man roster this afternoon, assigning pitchers Alberto Baldonado, Steven Fuentes and Sean Nolin outright to Triple-A Rochester.

Baldonado and Fuentes remain in the organization. Nolin, who previously in his career had been outrighted to the minor leagues, elected to become a free agent.

Baldonado and Nolin ended the season in the Nats bullpen, while Fuentes spent much of the summer on the 60-day injured list with a right shoulder strain.

The Nationals called Baldonado up from Triple-A in early September to get a look at him at the big league level. The 28-year-old left-hander started off with a flourish, producing five consecutive scoreless appearances, but he was charged with multiple runs in five of his final 14 outings. He finished with an 8.44 ERA and 1.594 WHIP over 10 2/3 innings, striking out 12 but walking seven.

Nolin-Delivers-Blue-ATL-Sidebar.jpgNolin’s winding professional path included eight big league appearances from 2013-15 and then a whole lot of time spent in the minors before the Nationals summoned him from Rochester for an Aug. 12 doubleheader start in New York. Nolin made five starts but was moved to the bullpen after his Sept. 8 ejection (and subsequent five-game suspension) for intentionally hitting Braves star Freddie Freeman with a pitch in apparent retaliation for Atlanta closer Will Smith plunking Juan Soto the previous night.

In 10 total appearances spanning 26 2/3 innings, Nolin produced a 4.39 ERA and 1.688 WHIP, striking out 20 while walking 13.

Fuentes spent 10 days on the Nationals’ active roster in late April but never appeared in his first big league game before getting sent back to Triple-A. He landed on the 60-day IL in early July with a shoulder injury but was able to begin a minor league rehab assignment in late August. In 12 total starts this season with four different affiliates, the 24-year-old right-hander went 0-6 with an 11.23 ERA and 2.150 WHIP.

Today’s moves leave the Nationals with 37 players on the 40-man roster, with more changes to come.

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