The Nationals announced they’ve selected the contract of infielder Humberto Arteaga. He’ll get the nod at shortstop tonight against the Dodgers. Fellow infielder Jordy Mercer has been placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 1, with a right quad strain. To clear 40-man roster space, right-handed pitching prospect Steven Fuentes was placed on the 60-day IL due to a strain in his throwing shoulder.
Washington has been lacking infield depth in recent days. Star shortstop Trea Turner is still day-to-day after jamming his finger diving into third base on a triple on Wednesday, and Mercer has been unavailable with his leg issue. That forced Washington to start catcher Alex Avila at second base last night. While Avila held his own, that’s obviously not a scenario the Nationals wanted to rely on for multiple days.
Arteaga has 135 major league plate appearances to his name, all with the 2019 Royals. He hit just .197/.258/.230 in that brief look. He’s been better at the plate throughout his minor league career, but has struggled immensely with Triple-A Rochester this season. The right-handed hitter has a .288/.321/.379 career mark at the minors’ highest level, but he’s slumped to .227/.266/.280 in 79 trips to the dish with the Red Wings in 2021. He should, however, at least offer a capable defensive option on the dirt while the regulars recover.
Washington selected Fuentes to the 40-man last October. He has yet to make his major league debut, appearing in four games for Rochester this season. Entering the year, Baseball America named the 24-year-old the #20 prospect in the Nationals system, praising his low-mid 90s sinker and quality changeup.