Jeff Kobernus joined the Nationals from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday afternoon, in a much-anticipated move to add infield depth and a right-handed bat while Danny Espinosa recovers from the chipped bone in his right wrist.
As expected, right-hander Yunesky Maya was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot.
At Nationals Park, there hadn’t been time to put a nameplate over Kobernus’ locker. He didn’t mind.
“It didn’t really seem true until I walked in the clubhouse today,” the 24-year-old said of the summons to Washington.
Kobernus’ father, Jeff, who pitched five seasons in the Athletics and Dodgers organizations in the 1980s, cried when his son called with news of the call-up. Both parents, including his mother, Margie, flew to Washington from Oakland, Calif., today for the rest of the Phillies series.
Kobernus split time among second base, third base, left field and right field in Syracuse. The part-time shift to the outfield came after the Detroit Tigers picked him in the Rule 5 draft over the winter. But Matt Tuiasosopo beat out Kobernus for the Tigers’ final roster spot and he returned to the Nationals organization.
The former second-round pick uses uncommon speed — he stole 95 bases in the previous two seasons — along with an aggressive approach at the plate and short swing. That amounted to hitting .333 with a .378 on-base percentage in 43 games for Syracuse this season.
Davey Johnson could start Kobernus as soon as Sunday against Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and plans to rotate him between second and left. The manager’s reports on Kobernus’ outfield defense were good and he believed Kobernus’ time running around the outfield cut down his already-slender frame.
“He’s muscle and bone,” Johnson said. “There’s not an ounce of fat on him.”
— Ross Detwiler (strained oblique) threw his bullpen session Saturday without incident and expects to make his scheduled start Tuesday. Detwiler threw a bit harder than normal during the session to show himself no problems remained.
“Anytime you get healthy again, it’s definitely going to be a relief,” Detwiler said. “I proved to myself that I was healthy and ready to go.”
— Johnson noted his few days worth of gray-white scruff were connected to the slumping Tyler Moore.
“I told Tyler I was growing this for him until his luck changes,” Johnson said, stroking the near-invisible stubble. “Partially, I am.”
On Friday, Johnson pledged not to shave until the Nationals started hitting.
Here are the lineups that will face a wind-whipped evening:
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Freddy Galvis, 2B
Michael Young, 3B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Delmon Young, RF
Domonic Brown, LF
Erik Kratz, C
Ben Revere, CF
Johnathan Pettibone, RHP
Denard Span, CF
Bryce Harper, RF
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Ian Desmond, SS
Kurt Suzuki, C
Tyler Moore, LF
Steve Lombardozzi, 2B
Dan Haren, RHP