Mar 17, 2014, 10:41 AM EDT
The Nationals made another round of cuts Monday morning, removing six more players from their big-league camp roster, including outfielders Steven Souza Jr. and Brian Goodwin and left-hander Sammy Solis.
Souza and fellow outfielder Eury Perez were optioned to Class AAA Syracuse, with Solis optioned to Class AA Harrisburg. Goodwin, infielder Mike Fontenot and catcher Koyie Hill (none of them members of the 40-man roster) were reassigned to minor-league camp.
Souza and Solis, in particular, impressed during their first springs in major-league camp and both appear to be prime candidates to make their Nationals debuts before season’s end.
Souza hit .355 (11-for-31) with three homers and a 1.235 OPS in 17 Grapefruit League games, picking up right where he left off following a breakthrough 2013 at Harrisburg that earned him a spot on the Nationals’ 40-man roster. A third-round draft pick in 2007, Souza has endured through struggles, injuries and a PED suspension to re-establish himself as one of the organization’s better all-around prospects.
Solis tossed four scoreless innings in two relief appearances this spring but now will be stretched out to start at Harrisburg. The 25-year-old lefty, the Nationals’ second-round draft pick in 2010, returned from Tommy John surgery last season to post a 3.25 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) at Class A Potomac and earn a spot on the 40-man roster. Given his advanced age and return to health, Solis now figures to be on a fast track to the majors and could be summoned by the Nats this season to help either out of the rotation or bullpen.
Goodwin, a first-round pick in 2011, remains one of the organization’s top prospects and a candidate for the club’s center fielder of the future. The 23-year-old figures to open the year in Syracuse after going 5-for-25 with a homer and four walks in 15 Grapefruit League games.
Perez was 6-for-23 with two doubles this spring and is expected to play across the outfield at Syracuse. Fontenot, signed over the winter to a minor-league deal, was just 2-for-19 this spring and committed a team-high five errors. Hill, another offseason addition, was 5-for-13 in limited playing time this spring.
With this latest round of moves, the Nationals now have 44 players remaining in big-league camp two weeks prior to Opening Day.
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