WASHINGTON -- The Nationals optioned right-hander Yunesky Maya to Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday, a day after his fourth start in place of Tom Gorzelanny. The Nationals will likely activate Gorzelanny from the 15-day disabled list Sunday for his start.

Gorzelanny made a rehab start Monday for Triple-A Syracuse, allowing four runs in four innings. He went on the 15-day disabled list May 23 with elbow soreness. A start Sunday against the Orioles at Nationals Park would come on six days' rest.

Maya made four starts in Gorzelanny's absence and completed five innings only once. He had a 6.86 ERA, and his only decision was a loss. His best start came in San Francisco, where he threw six innings of one-run ball. His final start was his worst, as he left in the fifth inning after allowing six runs, but the offense bailed him out with a six-run seventh.

Nationals bolster 'pen by recalling Balester

WASHINGTON -- Collin Balester was only one hole into the back nine Wednesday afternoon, trying to play a round of golf on Triple-A Syracuse's day off, and received the call: He would be returning to the Nationals for that night's game.

So the right-handed reliever stopped his round and made his way to Washington for the third time this season.

"This is better than golfing, so I'll take it," Balester said.

Balester had two brief stints with the Nationals earlier this season, once in April, when he appeared in three games while Todd Coffey on the 15-day disabled list, and again in May for one game -- in which he did not appear -- before Yunesky Maya took his roster spot to start in place of Tom Gorzelanny.

Balester's latest recall restores the Nationals' seven-man bullpen, which had been reduced to six when Craig Stammen was optioned to Syracuse to make room for third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

With Gorzelanny healthy and ready to start Sunday, the Nationals optioned Maya and recalled Balester, but there will be another roster move to activate Gorzelanny on Sunday.

"Hopefully, I don't ever have to go down again, but I'm just going to take it one day at a time," Balester said. "When that phone rings, and they tell me to get up, I'll be ready to go."

Balester pitched in 19 games this season for Triple-A Syracuse, throwing 25 innings and striking out 29 with a 3.24 ERA. His three appearances during his April stint with the Nationals were comprised of two scoreless appearances and a three-run, one-third of an inning outing.

"You can't get too high when you're at the top or you're doing well, and you can't get too low when you're not doing well or if you're up and back," Balester said. "You have to stay even keeled. It's one of those things where you have to keep the mindset that whatever they want you to do, you have to do. I'm ready to go."