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04/19/09 4:05 PM ET

Nats call up Maxwell from Triple-A

Outfielder replaces injured Bernadina on 25-man roster

WASHINGTON -- On Sunday morning, Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina called outfielder Justin Maxwell to congratulate him on his promotion to the big leagues. And why not? The two are good friends and were roommates when they were with Triple-A Syracuse.

"I'm happy for him," Bernadina said. "He deserves to be here, too."

Bernadina is the reason Maxwell is back in the big leagues. Bernadina had to leave Saturday's game against the Marlins because of a fractured right ankle he suffered in the top of the eighth inning.

After the game, Bernadina was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He is expected to miss at least two months -- maybe more -- after having two screws inserted in his ankle.

With Nationals left-hander Joe Beimel on the mound, Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla hit the ball to deep center field. Bernadina made a nice running catch before slamming into the wall and hurting his ankle.

Right fielder Austin Kearns was seen calling for help, and Manager Manny Acta and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came to Bernadina's aid. A few minutes later, Acta helped Bernadina into an ambulance.

Bernadina didn't think his ankle was fractured. By the time he got to the clubhouse, Bernadina walked on his own power and took a shower before going to the hospital for an MRI.

"I came down on my side," Bernadina said. "I didn't think I broke it. I was surprised when they told me I broke it. I thought I had a bruise, but I felt fine. I was working hard for this season and then I get hurt. But now I have to move forward and be better than I was the last time."

After finding out the seriousness of Bernadina's injury, the Nationals recalled Maxwell from Syracuse. Maxwell will be a backup outfielder and get occasional starts. He is considered the best center fielder in the organization.

Maxwell, a Maryland native, received the news after he played an afternoon game against Buffalo in Syracuse. Maxwell and his wife, Loren, packed up the car and drove to Washington starting at 8 p.m. ET. The couple and their son, Jaiden, didn't arrive in the nation's capital until 2 a.m.

This will be Maxwell's second stint in the big leagues. In 2007, Maxwell hit .269 with two home runs and five RBIs in 15 games.

"The opportunity I get, I'm going to make the most of it," Maxwell said. "Manny told me to stay sharp and always be ready to play."

Acting general manager Mike Rizzo said the team selected Maxwell over Lastings Milledge because the latter hasn't played enough Minor Leagues games to get back on track with his hitting and defense.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.