Mar 26, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT
Updated at 1:15 p.m.
JUPITER, Fla. — Turns out the final spot on the Nationals’ bench will go to a player who hadn’t been in their organization the entire spring.
The Nationals have signed veteran infielder Kevin Frandsen, cut loose yesterday by the Phillies, and will give the 31-year-old a spot on their Opening Day roster, the club officially announced this afternoon.
Frandsen, who gets a guaranteed $900,000 salary, reported to Space Coast Stadium in Viera this morning, according to a source familiar with the deal, joining players who didn’t make the trip to Jupiter for today’s exhibition game against the Cardinals. He will make his debut Thursday in the Nationals’ Grapefruit League finale against the Mets in Port St. Lucie.
To clear space for Frandsen on their 40-man roster, the Nationals voided last week’s option of Ross Ohlendorf and placed the right-hander on the 60-day disabled list with a right lumbar strain.
Before the signing was formally announced, manager Matt Williams spoke generically about the type of player he would want to add to his bench if possible.
“If, in fact, we were to look for somebody else, it would be somebody else that would give us multiple options, that has the ability to play multiple positions,” Williams said. “That’s important. It’s important for your team to have guys that can move around and that are experienced in that regard and have done it.”
Frandsen thus becomes the final man on the Nationals’ bench, taking the spot most assumed would go to either Jamey Carroll or Tyler Moore. Both Carroll and Moore, though, were cut yesterday afternoon, with Williams saying the club was instead considering either utilityman Jeff Kobernus or third catcher Sandy Leon for the Opening Day roster.
Asked at the time if there was any chance the club would acquire someone from outside the organization to fill that position, Williams said only: “I don’t have any information on that.”
Frandsen, though, was already on the Nationals’ radar at that point, having been outrighted off the Phillies’ 40-man roster over the weekend and electing yesterday not to report to Class AAA Lehigh Valley and instead become a free agent.
The veteran infielder hit .234 with five homers and 26 RBI in 252 at-bats with Philadelphia last season. A right-handed hitter who can play third base, second base and first base, he is a career .265 pinch-hitter, a role he’ll likely be asked to hold with the Nationals. He led the majors with 14 pinch-hits last year.
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