The Nationals announced they’ve selected reliever Alberto Baldonado to the big league roster. Catcher Alex Avila was also reinstated from the 10-day injured list. No additional moves were necessary, as active rosters expanded from 26 to 28 players today and the Nats already had a vacancy on the 40-man roster.
It’s a long-awaited first big league call for Baldonado, who has spent eleven years in the minors over his professional career. Signed by the Mets out of Panama during the 2009-10 international period, the left-hander spent the next seven seasons in the New York organization. He signed with the Cubs as a minor league free agent after 2017 and spent the next couple seasons with their top affiliate but never got a big league opportunity.
Baldonado signed a minor league deal with Washington over the winter. The 28-year-0ld has split the season between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester, posting a 2.88 ERA over 40 2/3 innings. Baldonado has backed up that run prevention with a strong 28.8% strikeout rate and a tiny 5.5% walk percentage to earn his first MLB look.
Avila is back after missing nearly two months due to bilateral calf strains. The lefty-hitting backstop owns a .167/.345/.288 line over 85 plate appearances this season. With the Nationals turning their attention toward 2022, he figures to assume a veteran mentor type of role over the season’s final few weeks, with young catchers Keibert Ruiz and Riley Adams needing regular playing time at the big league level.