Notes: Wagner struggles, goes on DL
Simontacchi and Batista called up to the big-league club
MILWAUKEE -- The Nationals purchased the contracts of right-hander Jason Simontacchi and infielder Tony Batista from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. The team also placed reliever Ryan Wagner on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 7 with right rotator cuff inflammation and designated infielder Josh Wilson for assignment.
Simontacchi made his first big-league appearance of the season against the Brewers on Tuesday. It was his first big-league game since the 2004 season when he was with the Cardinals. He had spent most of that time recovering from shoulder problems.
After recovering, Simontacchi pitched for Bridgeport of the independent Atlantic League before signing with the Nationals last December.
Simontacchi didn't start the 2007 season on time because of a strained right groin.
Batista is looked upon as being the right-handed power hitter off the bench, something the Nationals didn't get from Michael Restovich. Batista hit .290 with six home runs and 22 RBIs in 30 games with the Clippers. This is his second tenure with the organization. In 2004, he hit .241 with 32 home runs and 110 RBIs for the Expos.
As for Wagner, he was projected to have a breakout year out of the bullpen, but he struggled, giving up 10 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings. Wagner said that he has had shoulder problems for at least two weeks, but didn't say anything to athletic trainer Lee Kuntz until Sunday night, a few hours after he gave up the winning run to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Wagner is expected to have an MRI on Thursday.
"I didn't want to let my teammates down. I tried to be too much of a hero. That's who I am. I like to think I'm a tough guy. Sometimes, that gets the better of you," he said.
Wagner has a history of shoulder problems. He missed the second half of the 2005 season because of right shoulder inflammation. But Wagner doesn't think this current injury is as bad as the injury in 2005.
Wilson was overmatched during his time with the Nationals. He was 1-for-19 with three runs scored in 15 games and was below average with the glove. In limited action, he had five errors.
Looking out for the players: With the report coming out that Cardinals right-hander Josh Hancock was intoxicated when he was killed in a car accident, the Nationals toughened up their own alcohol policy by banning alcoholic beverages in the home and visiting clubhouses at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium and visiting clubhouse on the road.
The Nationals also are banning alcohol during returning flights to D.C. after road trips. The team, however, will have beer and wine during flights to visiting cities.
"With the events of recent days, it was a good reminder that that our policy merited a fresh look," team president Stan Kasten said. "I think all of us feel more comfortable not to allow alcohol to players, especially right before they get into their cars."
Reliever Ray King understands why the rule was put in place, but he said the new rule will not stop players from going to bars and having a beer.
"The accident didn't come from [Hancock being in] the clubhouse," King said. "If you look at every stadium and you want a beer, how many of them have a bar within walking distance? What's the difference? It's not going to prevent guys from [drinking]."
Injury report: Dmitri Young is expected to miss the next two games because of a sore left Achilles. The Nationals are hoping that rest will help Young and he could play against the Marlins on Friday night. Robert Fick got the start at first base on Tuesday against the Brewers.
Right-hander Jerome Williams, on the disabled list because of a left ankle sprain, said he had a bullpen session on Monday and didn't have any problems with the ankle. He is expected to have a rehab start on Thursday for Triple-A Columbus.
Stat of the day: Entering Tuesday's action, the Nationals have an on-base percentage of .308.
Did you know: Washington and Milwaukee are both American League cities that have evolved into National League towns. During their two-year rivalry in 1970 and '71, the Senators were 13-11 against the Brewers.
Coming up: The Nationals play the final game of the three-game series against the Brewers at Miller Park on Wednesday afternoon. Washington right-hander Jason Bergmann will face Milwaukee right-hander Claudio Vargas.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.