Notes: Plans for Bergmann, Ayala

Notes: Plans for Bergmann, Ayala

WASHINGTON -- General manager Jim Bowden announced that right-hander Jason Bergmann will start against the Braves next Tuesday night in Atlanta, and setup man Luis Ayala will be activated from the disabled list on Friday.

Bergmann has been on the disabled list because of a sore right elbow since May 18, and he didn't get better until Dr. Timothy Kremchek, the Reds' medical director, drained fluid out of the elbow on May 24 in Cincinnati.

Before the injury, Bergmann was arguably the best pitcher for the Nationals. He had a 2.76 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 49 innings.

Ayala hasn't pitched in a Major League game since September 2005 because of bone spurs and right elbow reconstruction. On Monday, Ayala pitched two shutout innings for Triple-A Columbus. He threw 24 pitches and struck out two batters.

"I'm not waiting anymore," Bowden said. "[Ayala pitched] two innings, [allowing] no hits [with] two punchouts last night. I'm like, 'No, no, no.' I wanted to see that against Detroit, because then we win the game [on Monday]."

Minor League news: Right-hander John Lannon was promoted from Double-A Harrisburg to Triple-A Columbus on Monday after pitching six shutout innings against Binghamton last Saturday.

Lannon is a combined 9-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 14 games for Class A Potomac and Harrisburg. Bowden didn't rule out promoting Lannon to the big leagues this year. In fact, amateur scouting director Dana Brown told Bowden recently that Lannon could pitch in the big leagues right now.

"We're very pleased. Spin Williams, our pitching coordinator, and Randy St. Claire, our Major League pitching coach, certainly identified him in Spring Training," Bowden said. "They thought he was extremely special, thought he was a guy who could come to the big leagues quick. Certainly, their judgment is being proven on the field."

Outfielder Chris Marrero, the most celebrated slugger in the Nationals' Minor League system, has a sore back and is listed as day-to-day. He is currently playing for Potomac.

Injury report: Catcher Brian Schneider received a black and blue mark on his right biceps after being hit by a foul ball off the bat of Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco in the ninth inning on Monday night.

Schneider had a wrap on the biceps and started against the Tigers on Tuesday. He said he doesn't have any problems hitting or throwing the baseball.

Draft news: Pitcher Jack McGeary, who was a sixth-round selection in the recent First-Year Player Draft, said he is not close to signing a contract with the Nationals. He was informed by the club that the team will watch him closely before the Aug. 15th deadline.

"The ball is in their court," McGeary said by phone.

McGeary was considered one of the top 30 players in the country, but he fell dramatically because most people believe he will attend Stanford University.

McGeary said the day he was drafted that he wants first-round money in order to sign with the Nationals.

McGeary attended Roxbury Latin High School in Boston, and holds the school's single-season record for strikeouts with 86 in 2006. He also had ERAs under 2.00 in 2005 and '06.

Left-hander Ross Detwiler, the Nationals' first-round pick, said on Monday night that he feels he is close to signing a contract with the Nationals, but he has to talk to his parents to see how the negotiations went.

Bowden had talks with Detwiler's advisor, Jeff Barry, on Tuesday, and the negotiations went well.

Stat of the day: During is 43-game hitting streak, Brandon Watson hit .360 (63-for-175.

Did you know: First-base coach Jerry Morales played one season with the Tigers. In 1979, he hit .211 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Coming up: The Nationals play the third game of a three-game series against the Tigers on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Washington left-hander Mike Bacsik will face Detroit right-hander Jeremy Bonderman.

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