Nats announce a pair of moves
Washington promotes Young, sends Broadway to Triple-A
VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals announced two moves on Sunday, optioning first baseman Larry Broadway to Triple-A Columbus and reassigning first baseman/outfielder Dmitri Young from their Minor League camp to the big-league level.
Broadway was given the first crack to replace the injured Nick Johnson at first base. Johnson is expected to go on the disabled list because he is still recovering from a broken leg. Broadway went 7-for-21 (.333) this spring, but six of his hits went for singles. The 26-year-old's lack of power is the reason why he was sent down.
"I was very surprised. They said they wanted to see what Dmitri Young could offer," Broadway said. "They didn't see enough power out of me. I felt this was one of my best springs. I was getting hits. I was patient at the plate. I was trying to put together good at-bats, working on my eye. I'll get my work done in Triple-A and force them to do something."
In 2004, Broadway was considered an up-and-comer when the team was located in Montreal, but, since then, he has had a string of bad luck. In 2005, he played in only 74 games because of a right knee injury. Then Broadway's future with the Nationals became cloudy after they signed Johnson to a contract extension last Spring Training.
Broadway said recently that he was supposed to get a September callup last year, but he didn't get it because he dislocated his right shoulder, ending his season prematurely.
Broadway recovered from the shoulder problems by December and played in the Venezuelan Winter League. Unfortunately, Broadway was overmatched, going 6-for-40 (.150) with 15 strikeouts in 12 games. That prompted general manager Jim Bowden to sign Travis Lee to a Minor League deal.
"It's tough, but I don't get paid to make those decisions," Broadway said. "It's out of my control. They are going to do what they are going to do."
With Young, the Nats felt that the 33-year-old could possibly provide the club with some power. He is a career .289 hitter with 154 home runs and 599 RBIs. His best season was in 2000, when he drove in a career-high 88 runs for the Reds.
Young will now compete with Lee for the starting first-base job. Lee is 6-for-18 (.313) with a home run and six RBIs.
"I'm coming here to prove that I still have it," Young said. "I'll just come out here and have fun [and] be the Dmitri of old."
The Nationals will take either Lee or Young up north because, according to Bowden, the backup first baseman is going to be Robert Fick, who is one of the most versatile players on the team. Fick can also work behind the plate, play the outfield and is a very good pinch-hitter.
Both Acta and Bowden didn't rule out Broadway coming back before Opening Day if Lee or Young don't perform.
Young was invited to Spring Training in February, provided that he could get into game shape and stay out of trouble off the field. The veteran played his first exhibition game on Thursday against the Dodgers and went 2-for-3 with a home run off right-hander Jason Schmidt.
Following the game, Young returned to Minor League camp for two more intrasqaud games before getting the promotion on Sunday.
"Dmitri has swung the bat well," Bowden said. "On Saturday, he hit a bomb to dead center field. I think his bat is ready. His defense has improved a lot over the last four or five days. He has lost three percent more body fat. He has a tremendous attitude and work ethic.
"We are going up north in 10 days and there is not a lot of time left. Manny and I had a meeting this morning, and we felt that Travis Lee had beat out Larry Broadway. Therefore, we felt that with only 10 days to go, it was important to get Dmitri the at-bats now and let the competition continue between the two of them."
On Sunday, Young went 1-for-2 with a walk against the Marlins. Even more impressive was that Young was flawless with the glove and was aggressive on the bases.
"I just come in and do my work and do what I have to do. It's all in the preparation," Young said after the game. "I'm bringing my style of baseball to help this team. I've always been taught to be aggressive on the bases. You don't have to be the fastest man, but if you put pressure, it will force the infielders and outfielders to go, 'Oops, he is coming down the line.'"
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.