In need of what the Washington Nationals termed “bullpen reinforcements after a taxing few games,” the club announced Saturday it had optioned former Wabash Valley College pitcher Aaron Barrett to Triple-A Syracuse while selecting the contract of right-hander Blake Treinen from there.
Barrett (1-0) certainly made it tough on the Nationals to make the decision this early in the season. The 6-foot-3 right-hander was scoreless in six relief appearances, allowing just one hit and two walks in 4.1 innings of relief work.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. Above and beyond,” tweeted first-year Washington manager Matt Williams. “Right now we just needed a guy (in Treinen) who can give us length.”
Barrett surprised some when he beat out Treinen for the last spot in the Nationals pen coming out of Florida, because the club appeared high on Treinen, a seventh-round 2011 pick by the Oakland Athletics acquired along with A.J. Cole and Ian Krol last winter in the three-team deal that sent Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners.
The right-handed Treinen made one start for Syracuse so far this season, giving up three hits in five innings of work.
Barrett and Williams do have a history together. Barrett, selected by the Nationals in the ninth round of the 2010 draft, pitched for Williams in the Arizona Fall League in 2012, in Williams only managerial role prior to being named the Nationals skipper for 2014.
Williams said there is a “very strong chance” that Barrett could be back in Washington soon. “The way he’s pitched, he’s certainly deserving,” Williams said in a tweet released by the club Saturday.