Notes: Nationals tab Traber for callup

Notes: Nationals tab Traber for callup

SAN DIEGO -- The Nationals recalled left-handed pitcher Billy Traber from Triple-A New Orleans on Sunday. He is expected to work out of the bullpen during the early part of the week and will most likely start against the Mets on Aug. 12.

Robinson said on Saturday there was nothing scientific in promoting Traber. The organization doesn't have many Minor League starters who are ready to pitch in the big leagues. The only other candidate they have is Jason Bergmann.

"It's not coming down to who is pitching good. It comes down to what you have down there. There isn't much left. If he was burning it up, he would have been up here," Robinson said. "I'm not knocking Traber. It's no big secret going into it or big formula to figure out who's coming."

Traber was 7-7 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts for New Orleans. He spent the time learning how to throw a cutter inside, holding runners on base and trying to get right-handed hitters out. In fact, assistant general manager Bob Boone brought in former Angels teammate Geoff Zahn to teach him the mechanics of pitching. Zahn also was a left-handed pitcher.

"My whole focus was to chew up innings. If you are chewing up innings, you are doing something right. I was trying to go deeper in the game," Traber said.

This will be Traber's second stint with Washington. Earlier in the season, he gave up seven earned runs in seven innings.

The perfect fill-in: With Jose Vidro on his the disabled list. Marlon Anderson has filled in admirably at second base. He has started 14 of the last 16 games and is hitting over .300 during that span.

Anderson started his career as a regular second baseman with the Phillies in 1999 and he says making the transition from bench player to playing on a regular basis is not hard.

"I'm looking at it as getting more chances in helping the team win -- go out and [have] more good at-bats," Anderson said.

Anderson became a reserve in 2004 with the Cardinals and has been good off the bench ever since.

"I think he is capable of playing everyday in stretches," Robinson said. "He has done that in the last couple of years with the different teams he has been with. It's great to have a guy like that here. We don't have a drop off in the player that he is replacing."

Welcome back: The Nationals signed Matt LeCroy to a Minor League deal in hopes that he could provide leadership to the players in New Orleans. LeCroy was known to be a good influence in the Nationals clubhouse and he never complained about his lack of playing time.

There's a possibility LeCroy could get a call up in September.

This and that: In the top of the ninth inning Sunday, Ryan Zimmerman hit a ball that hit the yellow pole, but third-base umpire Brian Runge called it a foul ball. No one from the Nationals argued the call. Zimmerman ended up lining out to left fielder Dave Roberts. ... The Nationals have used 10 starters this season, and only Livan Hernandez and Ramon Ortiz have a chance to reach 200 innings. Robinson acknowledged that the rotation has to be rebuilt with some of the pieces that are already on place. It's a given that John Patterson, who has missed most of the season because of forearm strain, will be part of the rotation. But its not a guarantee that the rest of the staff will be back. The skipper even acknowledged that the bullpen is shaky. "I think you will see changes before next year," Robinson said.

Be a part of the mailbag: The Nationals mailbag runs on Monday. Send in your questions now.

Stat of the day: Entering Sunday's action, Alfonso Soriano has four multi-homer games, which leads the Nationals this season. Soriano has 15 multi-homer games in his career.

Did you know: On Aug. 6, 1999, Damian Jackson was the starting shortstop for the Padres when then-teammate Tony Gwynn collected hit No. 3,000. Gwynn collected the monumental hit against the Expos at Olympic Stadium.

Coming up: The Nationals have the day off on Monday, and return to Robert F. Kennedy Stadium to play a three-game series against the Marlins starting Tuesday night.

The last time these two teams met was July 17-19 at Dolphin Stadium, with the Marlins taking two out of three games. Thus far, the two teams have split the 12-games series

On Tuesday, right-hander Tony Armas (7-7, 5.16 ERA) will get the start for Washington, while right-hander Ricky Nolasco (9-7, 4.23 ERA) will get the nod for Florida.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.