Nationals finalize Opening Day roster with flurry of roster moves

Nats finalize Opening Day roster with flurry of roster moves originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Sandwiched around their 14-0 blowout victory over the New York Mets in their spring training finale Tuesday, the Nationals announced several roster cuts that trimmed the number of players left in major-league camp down to the 28 required for Opening Day.

Washington began the day by selecting the contract of starting pitcher Aníbal Sánchez, giving him the spot on the 40-man roster that had previously belonged to outfielder Andrew Stevenson. Sánchez was a member of the Nationals’ 2019 World Series championship team who took last season off before signing a minor-league deal with the club in March. Now, the 38-year-old is back in their rotation.

The Nationals also optioned reliever Hunter Harvey, a waiver claim plucked from the San Francisco Giants this spring, to Triple-A Rochester. A few hours later, the team announced left-handers Sam Clay and Josh Rogers would be joining him. Rogers was in contention with Paolo Espino and Joan Adon for the final spot in the Nationals’ rotation while Clay was vying for a bullpen role.

On Thursday, Washington announced another series of roster decisions to finalize their Opening Day roster. The Nationals placed starter Stephen Strasburg (thoracic outlet surgery) and utility infielder Ehire Adrianza (left quad strain) on the 10-Day Injured List, placed reliever Will Harris (right pectoral surgery) and starter Seth Romero (left calf strain) on the 60-Day IL and designated reliever Gabe Klobosits for assignment.

Those moves cleared three spots on the 40-man roster, allowing the club to select the contracts of reliever Víctor Arano, third baseman Maikel Franco and utility man Dee Strange-Gordon. Finally, shortstop Lucius Fox was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to replace Adrianza on the bench.

With the dust settled, here’s the Nationals’ Opening Day roster. MLB and the players union agreed to expand active rosters by two players until May 1, so they’ll carry 28 players instead of the usual 26.

Catchers (2)

C/1B Riley Adams

C Keibert Ruiz

Infielders (7)

1B Josh Bell

DH/1B Nelson Cruz

SS Alcides Escobar

INF Lucius Fox

3B/1B Maikel Franco

2B César Hernández

2B/OF Dee Strange-Gordon

Outfielders (4)

LF Yadiel Hernández

CF Victor Robles

RF Juan Soto

LF Lane Thomas

Starters (5)

RHP Joan Adon

LHP Patrick Corbin

RHP Erick Fedde

RHP Josiah Gray

RHP Aníbal Sánchez

Relievers (10)

RHP Víctor Arano

RHP Steve Cishek

LHP Sean Doolittle

RHP Paolo Espino

RHP Kyle Finnegan

RHP Andres Machado

RHP Patrick Murphy

RHP Tanner Rainey

RHP Mason Thompson

RHP Austin Voth

Injured List (2)

INF Ehire Adrianza (10-Day)

RHP Will Harris (60-Day)

3B Carter Kieboom (60-Day)

RHP Joe Ross (60-Day)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (10-Day)

Among the most notable roster decisions was naming Adon the No. 5 starter. According to multiple reports, the right-hander received a strong endorsement from manager Davey Martinez despite allowing seven runs in nine innings of work this spring. He made his MLB debut in the Nationals’ final game of the 2021 season and put together a solid outing against the playoff-bound Boston Red Sox.

MLB Pipeline ranks Adon the No. 8 overall player in Washington’s farm system. His placement in the rotation bumps the versatile Espino back into the long-relief role he held for much of last season. With Clay in Triple-A, Doolittle is the lone southpaw out of the bullpen. He’s expected to be in the mix for saves early on this season alongside Cishek, Rainey and Finnegan.

Equipped with a permanent DH, the Nationals opted to carry a 10th reliever rather than a fifth bench bat such as outfielder Gerardo Parra or catcher Tres Barrera. As a result, their bench will consist of Adams, Strange-Gordon, Fox and Hernández.

Franco’s addition to the 40-man solidified his place in the Nationals’ Opening Day lineup. The veteran infielder will be Washington’s everyday third baseman to begin the year while Kieboom works his way back from an elbow injury. If he struggles, Franco could cede playing time to Adrianza once he’s eligible to return.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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