Nationals Notes: Espinosa, Harper, Johnson

Dan Kolko of writes that last night's loss was "a kick in the gut" for the Nationals because it came after their most reliable reliever, Tyler Clippard, blew a rare lead. As Kolko notes, manager Davey Johnson has long said that he feels 90 wins will get the team to the postseason, but the Nats will need to finish 21-4 to reach that mark. Here's more out of the nation's capitol…

  • Danny Espinosa should be among the team's September callups, argues Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Nats opted not to bring Espinosa to the big leagues again this season, but Kilgore opines that he'd be a valuable defensive replacement and the expanded rosters would allow them to carry Espinosa's glove without exposing the weak bat he's shown this season. Kilgore adds that keeping Espinosa off the Major League roster likely prevents him from becoming arbitration-eligible as a Super Two player, but the $1MM or so in financial savings isn't a good reason to keep him off the roster. Recent reports have indicated that the Nationals are looking to trade the switch-hitting middle infielder.
  • Unbeknownst to Johnson, Bryce Harper has been receiving treatment for a hip injury recently, the manager told reporters (including Amanda Comak of the Washington Times). Johnson said that he is "disturbed" by the fact that he was not informed of the issue by Harper or the medical staff, but he plans to continue playing Harper as long as the injury doesn't worsen.
  • For those who missed it, MLBTR reported last night that right-hander Mark Lowe has opted out of his minor league contract with Washington and is now a free agent.

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