The Nats claimed the 27-year-old Fornataro off waivers from the Cardinals in December following a season in which the former sixth-round pick made his Major League debut. Fornataro appeared in eight games for St. Louis, allowing five earned runs on 11 hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings of work. He worked primarily off a sinker that averaged 92.7 mph in the big leagues, registering an impressive 51.4 percent ground-ball rate in his brief big league sample.
Fornataro was markedly better in the minor leagues, where he notched a 2.57 ERA over 56 innings of relief. He averaged 5.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 at Triple-A this season and was equally effective against both right- and left-handed hitters.