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Bard and Rivera optioned to Syracuse, Ledezma and Shell designated for assignment
04/19/2009 7:07 PM ET
Following today's game, the Washington Nationals optioned right-handed pitcher Saul Rivera and catcher Josh Bard to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League and designated right-handed pitcher Steven Shell and left-handed pitcher Wil Ledezma for assignment. Tomorrow, the Nationals will select right-handed pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Kip Wells from Syracuse and will recall right-handed pitchers Garrett Mock and Jason Bergmann from Syracuse. Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Zimmermann was named Washington's fifth starter during Spring Training with the understanding he would pitch with Syracuse until his services were needed 11 games into the Nationals' schedule. He made one start with the Chiefs, tossing 5.1 innings on April 9 vs. Rochester. The 22-year-old went 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA in five games (three starts) this spring, and he held opponents scoreless in four of his five outings.

Zimmermann entered this season rated the Nationals' No. 1 prospect by Baseball America. After 39 minor-league games (36 starts), he owns a 15-5 career record with a 2.81 ERA. Zimmermann was the Nationals' 2008 Minor League Player of the Year, after going a combined 10-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) with Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League and Harrisburg of the Double-A Eastern League. He was selected by Washington in the second round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft with the second of two compensation picks awarded to the organization after Alfonso Soriano signed with Chicago-NL in November 2006.

Wells, 31, has compiled 65 wins during his 10 seasons (1999-2008) in the big leagues with Chicago-AL, Pittsburgh, Texas, St. Louis, Colorado and Kansas City. In 51 career relief appearances, he owns a 6-3 record with a 3.43 ERA. He went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts with Syracuse, after earning a win in his lone Spring Training relief appearance. Wells signed with the Nationals as a minor-league free agent on March 11.

Mock made five relief appearances with Syracuse, after an impressive Spring Training in which he compiled a 3.94 ERA (7 ER/ 16.0 IP) in 14 relief outings. The 25-year-old made his big-league debut with the Nationals last season, going 1-3 with a 4.17 ERA in 26 games (three starts). He was acquired from Arizona with left-handed pitcher Matt Chico in exchange for right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez on August 7, 2006.

Bergmann tallied a 3.00 ERA and one save in four relief outings with Syracuse. The 27-year-old went 1-0 and allowed no earned runs in nine relief appearances (11.1 IP) this spring. Bergmann appeared in 30 games (22 starts) last season with Washington and has pitched in 95 games (50 starts) with the Nationals over the last four seasons (2005-08), after the organization selected him in the 11th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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