WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Luis Atilano has been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, the Nationals announced Friday. Outfielder Justin Maxwell will be recalled and join the team Saturday, according to two baseball sources.
Atilano, though, will be back in the rotation when the Nationals face the Reds after the All-Star break. The 25-year-old rookie will pitch one game for Syracuse in order to stay sharp during the time off.
He expects to start for the Chiefs on Thursday against Pawtucket.
"It's to keep sharp so I don't have too many days of rest," Atilano said. "I'm going back home for the break, so I'm probably not going to do much around there, so they want to keep me here in shape so I can be successful. I'll do whatever I have to do."
Atilano said the Nationals did not say if they expect particular results in Syracuse.
"They just want to keep me on track," he said. "It's like a regular start."
The right-hander is 6-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 15 starts for Washington this season. In his most recent start -- a 7-1 Nationals loss to the Padres on Thursday -- Atilano allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Maxwell is batting .296 with 58 hits, 18 RBIs and six home runs in 55 games for the Chiefs this season. Maxwell has appeared in 21 games for the Nationals, hitting .121 with one home run and three RBIs.
His last game with the Nationals came in a 5-3 victory against the Padres on May 28. He went 0-for-4 at the plate and started in right field.