- The Washington Times - Monday, June 6, 2016

Steve Lombardozzi has returned to the Washington Nationals organization.

Lombardozzi’s contract was purchased by the Nationals on Monday from the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, the independent Atlantic League team in Waldorf, Maryland, and they announced he will report to Triple-A Syracuse.

Lombardozzi, a 27-year-old infielder and outfielder, played for the Nationals for three seasons before being traded to the Detroit Tigers in December 2013 as part of a deal that sent Doug Fister to Washington. Since the trade, Lombardozzi has also played for the Tigers, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates.

He was released by the Chicago White Sox in spring training in March and signed with the Blue Crabs, leading the league with a .367 batting average on 61 hits in 166 at-bats. He also ranked in the top 10 in the league in runs scored and stolen bases.

“Steve has been a solid hitter and an exceptional leader in the clubhouse,” Blue Crabs manager Jeremy Owens said in a statement. “We’ll miss him, but we are excited he is one step closer to the show.”

In three seasons with the Nationals from 2011 through 2013, Lombardozzi batted a combined .264 with five home runs, 50 RBI and nine stolen bases. He displayed his versatility by playing second base, third base, shortstop and left field.

Lombardozzi grew up in nearby Columbia, Maryland, and his father, also named Steve, played for the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros in 1989 and 1990.

Meanwhile, Bryce Harper’s older brother, Bryan, was promoted on Monday  from Double-A Harrisburg to Syracuse. A 26-year-old left-handed reliever, Harper, who pitched four innings at Triple A in 2015, had a 1.50 ERA in 20 relief appearances with the Senators this season.

• Kevin Leitzell can be reached at kleitzell@washingtontimes.com.

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