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Jesse English optioned to Syracuse

With a dearth of healthy position players, the Washington Nationals on Tuesday optioned left-handed reliever Jesse English to Class AAA Syracuse and recalled Roger Bernadina in order to add more bodies to the bench.

After Washington's 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, General Manager Mike Rizzo said the move was not a demotion based on English's performance, but rather a reflection of the Nationals' needs. With an off day coming up on Thursday before the start of a three-game series against the Florida Marlins, the Nationals believe they can afford to temporarily carry only six relievers.

"Because of the off days, we feel we are protected there," Rizzo said. "And with the number of guys we have nicked up, we we thought we needed to get another position player."

Bernadina, who on Tuesday was named the International League batter of the week, is batting .377 with two homers, eight RBI and seven stolen bases in 14 games at Syracuse. Bernadina, 25, was recalled from Syracuse on April 11 and played one game -- he was 0 for 1 in a loss at Philadelphia on April 14 -- before being optioned to Syracuse.

English, a rookie, performed well in the first seven games of his major-league career. He has a 3.86 earned run average, and has done particularly well against left-handed hitting; left-handed hitters are batting .188 against English.

"We brought him in there and told him this isn't a demotion," Rizzo said. "This is a strategic roster move because we thought we needed to get another position player. It wasn't anything he did poorly. We didn't get him as much work as we wanted to, and that's another reason; we wanted him to go down there and get more work."

By Mark Viera  |  April 28, 2010; 12:08 AM ET
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I'm sure English will return, maybe a few times this year. He was a great story from the spring, but one that happily was lost in the enjoyment of a much improved April. I think that the Nats are relying on Clippard a whole lot, and they should for now. Still, though, the rest of the bullpen will need to contribute when Clippard tires, and that will probably start the merry-go-round. I wish the rest of the bullpen could perform as well, but I don't expect it.


Posted by: kevincostello | April 28, 2010 5:15 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it telling that we are in this position this year, that we can send someone down for a strategic move and not just because they suck?

Posted by: twinbrook | April 28, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

With the way Clip & Capps are going, this is a smart move. English will be back.

Posted by: shanks1 | April 28, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope that Bernadina gets some at bats this time around.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | April 28, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

English will return. I have zero faith in Tyler Walker.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 28, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

This morning's dumb question: Why not DL Willie if his knee is bruised? Why carry him? "Nicked up" is what the DL is for. Why cut yourself short somewhere else on the 25 man in order to carry somebody who's hurt. I'm not saying everybody should be DL'ed immediately, but if Harris' knee is such that it's keeping him out, DL him retroactive to when he last played and bring Bernadina up, no?

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | April 28, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Who should sit so Bernadina gets his AB's? Maxwell? Everybody wants both of these guys to play. Can't have it both ways.

Posted by: fpcsteve | April 28, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

My 4 favorite guys in the Nats farm system these past few years have been Clipp, Desmond, Maxwell, and Bernadina. This last one can flat out field and I'd love to see him get some serious playing time. He was getting his chance last year when he got hurt early on, so hopefully he can make the most of it this time around. I love that we're playing good defense right now and Bernadina will only add to that. Can't believe how good we're playing so far, let's keep this thing going. LET'S GO NATS!

Posted by: drobins7 | April 28, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

295 - Willie last played Saturday, right? So 15 days means no Willie until 5/10. Just a guess - if he can't play by the weekend, then they may DL him when they need the extra bullpen arm.

If they do DL him, I'm not sure, but I think they can recall English right away as a replacement for a DL player rather than wait 10 days (it might only be that way for pitcher / pitcher swaps and position player / position player swaps).

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 28, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Oh how far ESPN BBTN has fallen behind its competition over on the MLB Network.

Anyone catch last nights web gems? Desmond, Gonzo and the Hammer are spectacular in the field yet the "Four Letter" behemouth shows 10 web gems (Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, TBay) none of which are nearly as spectacular as Desmonds belly bender shovel pass, while the MLB Network talking heads are raving about the Nats.

Hey ESPN stick to doing what you do best, the endless Farve and Big Ben shows! Leave MLB to Harold Reynolds, Barry Larkin, Mitch Williams, Al Lieter, Billy Ripken, John Hart and of course the delicious Hazel Mae!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 28, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Good to option out a guy because we don't have room instead of him stinking. He'll be back but needs to pitch somewhere. Good to know the guys on the major league roster have to perform or there is someone down the road who can take his place; that hasn't been the case for years now.

And props to Gonzo who has filled in at 3rd well for Zim.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | April 28, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Seems like English was the victim of being young and having options left in a bullpen full of veterans. Let's hope Rog can get two or three starts soon to see if his bat can stay hot!

Posted by: markfd | April 28, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

My God, TippyCanoe is right!

Might as well call ESPN the Yankees/Red Sox network. Their games, every week. Sometimes more than once.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | April 28, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

MLB has the 14 and 60 day Disabled Lists, but in so many cases, a 7 day DL would be a perfect solution. If MLB and its owners don't like a 7 day DL option, they could just as easily create a reserve list that can hold a limited number of players, say one to three at a time, that has a three to seven day minimum and costs the team an x amount of dollars per day on the reserve list. I use the dollars per day suggestion because MLB is all about making money.

Posted by: KenzAFan | April 28, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Pity we can't keep English and send Bruney away. Yes he pulled out an inning today, but ick, why keep trying him?

Posted by: jwainwright1 | April 28, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

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