Gott is battling injury
Baker revealed that right-hander Trevor Gott, who has not pitched in a major league game in two weeks, was dealing with forearm tightness. The trouble has subsided enough to let Gott begin throwing in bullpens.
Right-hander A.J. Cole, a candidate to be the Nationals’ sixth starter in case of emergencies, also returned to throwing after experiencing triceps soreness that bumped him from the rotation. Cole threw a bullpen Friday and expects to throw another this weekend.
Joe Nathan, whose deal included a March 24 opt-out date, has 72 hours (starting Friday) to decide whether to stick with the Nationals or opt out of his deal and try to find work elsewhere. The 42-year-old seems like a long shot to make the Nationals’ bullpen, though Baker is deeply loyal to him after having him as a youngster in San Francisco.
The Nationals made a round of cuts Saturday and optioned Matt Grace, Pedro Severino, Brian Goodwin and Rafael Martin to Class AAA Syracuse.
They also re-assigned Emmanuel Burriss to minor league camp. Goodwin climbed the ranks last season, earning consideration for a spot on the playoff roster. But he struggled, hitting .114 in 22 games this spring, and is now seemingly out of the running for the still-open fourth outfielder spot on the Nationals’ bench.
Severino, meanwhile, made last year’s playoff roster because of Wilson Ramos’s injury, but Jose Lobaton is entrenched as the big league backup, meaning Severino will have to wait.