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Notes: Nationals promote prospects

Notes: Nationals promote prospects

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielders Mike Daniel, Chris Marrero and Justin Maxwell and first baseman Brett McMillan have made tremendous progress for Class A Hagerstown, and they were rewarded Monday afternoon by being promoted to Class A Potomac.

All four players played their last game for Hagerstown against Lakewood on Monday night. There was a unanimous feeling among the Nationals' think tank that they dominated the South Atlantic League and deserved promotions.

Marrero, 18, is the best known of the three. He was the Nationals' first-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. Recently, Marrero was the South Atlantic League's Player of the Week for the week of May 14. He hit .379 (11-for-29) with three home runs, 11 RBIs and a .724 slugging percentage. For the season, Marrero is hitting .289 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs. He was voted to the Sally League All-Star team.

Maxwell also dominated the South Atlantic League, hitting .300 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs in 55 games. Maxwell, 23, is batting .419 (13-for-31) with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last seven games. Privately, the Nationals were not happy that he did not make the All-Star team. They feel that his slow start in April hurt him from making the team.

Daniel, 22, is hitting .297 with 15 doubles, seven homers and 37 RBIs in 53 games, and he was recently named a Sally League All-Star. Daniel, a left-handed hitter who was selected by Washington in the seventh round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, has seven RBIs in nine games in June.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound McMillan is batting .271 with 12 doubles, five homers and 21 RBIs in 50 games. He has a .399 on-base percentage, thanks in part to 32 walks.

McMillan was Washington's 14th-round pick last year out of UCLA. He is the son of the late scout Doug McMillan, who passed away May 23 after spending the last 25 years in pro ball as a player and scout. McMillan oversaw the Northern California and Pacific Northwest regions for the Nationals organization for the last six years.

Assistant general manager Bob Boone credited the team's accelerated program, which took place during Spring Training, for improving the four players' skills on the field.

"These guys are ready to move up," Boone said by phone on Monday night. "All of their swings are in solid positions. You look for kids that are jumping out at the ball and chasing the breaking ball in the dirt. That's where all of them have improved [and are not doing those things]."

Not wasting time: The Nationals signed 17 of their 53 Draft picks, including shortstop Jake Smolinski, who was a second-round pick on Thursday.

The Nats are expecting Smolinski to be a power hitter in the future, but he likely won't stay at shortstop. Assistant general manager Mike Rizzo said Smolinski doesn't have good enough footwork to play the position. The Nationals have yet to decide what position he will play.

Injury report: Right-hander John Patterson (right elbow and biceps) threw two innings in a simulated game on Sunday in Potomac. He threw 35 pitches, and 23 of them were for strikes. He threw both fastballs and curveballs. Patterson is scheduled to throw a side-session on Tuesday in Baltimore and then a three-inning, 50-pitch rehab start with Class A Potomac on Friday.

Right-hander Jerome Williams (labrum tear) is scheduled for a three-inning, 50-pitch rehab start Friday with Double-A Harrisburg.

Right-hander Jason Bergmann (sore elbow) is scheduled for a three-inning, 50-pitch rehab start Friday with Triple-A Columbus.

Mike O'Connor (sore elbow) threw 47 pitches in his three innings with Potomac on Sunday. He threw fastballs, curveballs and changeups. He will next throw a side-session on Tuesday with Double-A Harrisburg.

Alex Escobar (separated right shoulder) went 1-for-5 with an RBI and a walk as the designated hitter for Potomac on Sunday. Escobar is now slated to join Harrisburg and continue his rehab.

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

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