9:34 am: The Nationals have announced the moves.
9:24 am: To create 40-man roster space for Barrera, the Nationals will recall catcher Spencer Kieboom and place him on the 60-day injured list, tweets the Talk Nats fan blog (confirmed by Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post). Kieboom has an elbow injury, Dougherty adds.
8:51 am: The Nationals are set to select the contract of catcher Tres Barrera, tweets Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. It’ll be something of an early birthday present for the University of Texas product, who turns 25 next Sunday.
This marks Barrera’s first MLB promotion, no doubt spurred on by a right elbow injury to Kurt Suzuki, who had to be lifted yesterday mid-game. There’s no indication yet Suzuki’s injury is a long-term issue, as it’s possible the Nats just wanted to bolster their catching depth behind Yan Gomes the next few days. Indeed, MASN’s Byron Kerr tweets that Suzuki will not immediately be placed on the injured list, as there’s little incentive for Washington to shelve the bat-first backstop with September roster expansion.
Barrera would have been eligible for the Rule V draft this offseason if not selected to the club’s 40-man. He’s not a top prospect, so it’s possible Washington would’ve left him exposed if not for Suzuki’s injury, but he stood a decent shot at being drafted if left unprotected. Fangraphs called Barrera a defensive-minded third catcher type in their writeup of the Nationals’ farm system entering the season, but he’s produced fine numbers at the plate in the minors. In 403 plate appearances in the pitcher-friendly Double-A Eastern League this season, Barrera slashed .249/.323/.381, passable production for a viable defensive catcher.