Official: Nationals activate Jeter Downs, Place Vargas on the IL

The Washington Nationals announced two roster moves ahead of the second game of their three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. First, according to Nationals communications, the team has re-called former Red Sox’s top prospect, Jeter Downs, from Triple-A Rochester. In the corresponding move, the Nationals have placed second-basemen Ildemaro Vargas on the ten-day DL list.

Downs could get his first chance to shine in a Washington Nationals uniform. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old doesn’t have much significant Major League experience. Down’s appeared in 14 games with the Red Sox last season, compiling six hits and four RBIs with a .427 OPS.

This season, the former first-round selection has emerged in six games for the Nationals Triple-A affiliate. Down’s hasn’t had the hottest start with Rochester, going 2-for-19 with two walks and two strikeouts. However, he has started five games at shortstop this season and has a perfect fielding percentage. The infielder has a great glove but needs to improve his hitting, although his major league sample size is small. Down’s didn’t have the most productive spring, slashing .162/.225/.216 over 18 games. There is no question that he will have a lot to prove. Michael Chavis will start Tuesday’s game at second but it won’t be surprising if Down’s earns a role in the lineup soon.

In the corresponding move, the Nationals placed Ildemaro Vargas on the IL with what the team is officially calling a shoulder strain. Vargas suffered a left shoulder injury when he attempted to make a diving play in the season finale in Colorado. After being checked out by medical staff and manager Dave Martinez, the versatile infielder stayed in the game. Nationals are thin at the middle infield as Luis Garcia has been dealing with a hamstring injury. Garcia hasn’t played in a game since Friday’s contest against the Rockies. Martinez assured reporters that the young infielder would be back to normal soon.

“His right hamstring tightened up on him… So we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He’ll probably be day-to-day, though, but he says he feels fine right now, but we’ll see how he feels.”

Nationals manager Davey Martinez after Friday’s game

The Washington Nationals will square off with the Los Angeles Angels at 9:38 ET tonight. Josiah Gray will get the start for the Nats, with Shohei Ohtani starting for the Angles.

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