- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2006

SAN DIEGO — Billy Traber had a simple philosophy while pitching at Class AAA New Orleans for the last three months.

“Throw innings,” he said. “If you’re throwing innings, you’re doing something right. I was trying to keep them in the game. That’s the main goal. Everything else takes care of itself.”

Traber’s workmanlike attitude earned him a ticket back to the major leagues. The Washington Nationals recalled the 26-year-old left-hander yesterday, with plans to have him start Saturday night against the New York Mets at RFK Stadium.

Traber was less-than-inspiring during a brief stint in Washington earlier this season. He earned the win in his first start, April 20 at Philadelphia, but then was yanked by manager Frank Robinson in the second inning five days later after surrendering four runs.

Traber was optioned to New Orleans the following day and hadn’t been heard from since. He took the slow-and-steady route back, going 7-7 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts with the Zephyrs. More than anything, he proved he could take the ball every fifth day and pitch effectively.

The Nationals, desperate for a No. 5 starter after rookie Mike O’Connor went on the disabled list with a strained left elbow, had a choice between Traber and Jason Bergmann, who has recently been converted into a starter.

They settled on Traber, who will be available out of the bullpen for the next few days before beginning to prepare for Saturday’s start.

“I’m here for us rather than for myself,” Traber said. “Quite honestly, if they want me out of the pen or if they want me to start, that’s fine. They want me, period. That’s what pitchers want. It’s not about what you’re doing, it’s about who you’re helping.”

Corcoran sent down

Traber’s promotion came at the expense of reliever Roy Corcoran, who was optioned back to New Orleans following Saturday night’s 6-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Corcoran struggled in six appearances with the Nationals, going 0-1 with an 11.12 ERA. The final straw came Saturday, when he gave up a run on three hits in one inning.

“It happens, man,” said the right-hander, who was trying to stick around two years removed from his last stint in the majors. “I’ve got to work on my command, that’s what they tell me.”

LeCroy re-signed

The Nationals have re-signed first baseman/catcher Matt LeCroy to a minor league contract and assigned him to New Orleans.

Designated for assignment by Washington on July 17 and granted his unconditional release three days later, LeCroy was hoping to be picked up by an American League contender in need of a bat off the bench.

But when no teams came calling, the Nationals offered the 30-year-old a minor league contract and he obliged. LeCroy hit .239 with two homers and nine RBI in 39 games for Washington.

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