No room leads to Chacin's release
Nationals prefer to give innings to Zimmermann and Co.
MIAMI -- When the Nationals sent left-hander Gustavo Chacin to Minor League camp on March 19, manager Manny Acta told him to work on getting his arm strength back. It appeared that Chacin would get tired after pitching two innings in a game.
However, the Nationals released him a few days ago, and Chacin ended up signing with the Phillies on Monday.
It turned out the Nationals had no room for Chacin, who was supposed to start the season with Triple-A Syracuse. The team wanted to give those innings to right-handers Jordan Zimmermann, who is pitching the opener on Thursday, Collin Balester, Marco Estrada, Craig Stammen and Kip Wells.
"[Chacin] was pitching in the low 80s -- we just didn't have room for him when we sent down Jason Bergmann, Garrett Mock and Jesus Colome [on Saturday]," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. "With our five starters, especially with Zim starting in Triple-A, we didn't have time for the velocity to come back. It would have taken a month or two."
Zimmermann is scheduled to make two starts for Syracuse and make his Major League debut on April 19 against the Marlins. Once Zimmermann is promoted, left-hander Mike O'Connor will move from Double-A Harrisburg to Syracuse.
Meanwhile, first baseman Dmitri Young is at extended spring camp in Viera, Fla. Young already has showed the team that he can hit. He has to show, however, that he can play first base for nine innings in back-to-back games. Young is currently on the DL because of back and right hip problems.
"We are trying to get him to play multiple games -- back-to-back -- and be able to move laterally," Rizzo said. "He continues to swing the bat and he's getting closer to being on a rehab assignment."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.