The Nationals announced that they have released veteran left-handed reliever Fernando Abad. The club also added infield prospect Yasel Antuna to its 60-man pool, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com tweets. Washington now has 57 players in that group.
The Nationals signed Abad to a minor league contract in December, but he didn’t participate in their Summer Camp for an undisclosed reason. It turns out that Abad tested positive for COVID-19 when he arrived at camp, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. Fortunately, Abad was asymptomatic and has just finished his 14-day quarantine.
The 34-year-old Abad last appeared in the majors a season ago, when he threw 13 innings of 4.15 ERA ball and notched 6.23 K/9 and 2.08 BB/9 as a member of the Giants. He was far better at the Triple-A level, where he posted a 3.07 ERA and logged a tremendous strikeout-walk ratio (10.0 K/9, 0.8 BB/9) in 44 frames.
While Abad hasn’t pitched much in the majors over the past couple seasons (he didn’t at all in 2018), he has been successful with a few teams – including the Nationals in 2013. He’s the owner of a lifetime 3.67 ERA with 7.62 K/9 and 3.16 BB/9 across 330 2/3 innings.
Antuna, now 20 years old, left the Dominican Republic in 2016 to sign with the Nationals for a hefty bonus of $3.9MM. He has since split his time between rookie and Single-A ball. Although he missed all but three games last year because of Tommy John surgery and lower body injuries, Antuna’s still regarded as one of the Nationals’ most promising prospects. Baseball America (No. 9), FanGraphs (12) and MLB.com (12) each place him near the top of Washington’s system.