Cintron Recalled From Class AAA Syracuse
Tabulate his absence from the big leagues, and Alex Cintron barely missed a moment. His final appearance with the Baltimore Orioles came last season, in the team's second-to-last game. Today, with the Washington Nationals' season not even two weeks old, Cintron was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse, returning to a big league clubhouse and inheriting a role -- permanent or not, who knows -- as a switch-hitting reserve middle infielder.
For Cintron, his arrival in Washington, and his corresponding addition to the team's 40-man roster, is particularly satisfying. Because since September 2008, Cintron has been through an odyssey. Right as the season ended, the 30-year-old felt pain in his right elbow. He had it checked out. A New York doctor performed surgery to remove bone chips. Cintron needed a new team. Several called and asked him to play winter ball, a means for demonstrating his health. But Cintron didn't have it yet. As a result, only the Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays showed interest. Even that was modest.
Cintron, plotting the next move in his career, scanned both teams' depth charts at shortstop. He saw a better chance to emerge with Washington, and signed a non-guaranteed minor league deal.
"So I thought it was my opportunity to come here and prove that I was healthy," Cintron said.
Though the shortstop was demoted toward the end of spring training, Cintron has provided Washington some evidence of, first, his health and second, his ability to hit. Across 39 at bats this spring, Cintron hit .333 (with a .667 slugging percentage). During his five games in Syracuse, Cintron went 9-for-18.
At worst, Cintron will remain with Washington while Cristian Guzman, placed on the disabled list yesterday, nurses his hamstring. But he has the chance to stay even longer, because the team's other shortstop option, Alberto Gonzalez, is a 26-year-old who is better off playing every day -- even if those at bats are available in the minors.
"We don't know how long he's going to be here," Manager Manny Acta said of Cintron.
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