Nats' Adams, Bautista optioned to Triple-A

Baker concerned about Murphy's limited Classic at-bats; Scherzer feeling good after Minors start

Nats' Adams, Bautista optioned to Triple-A

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Nationals made two more cuts Friday morning, optioning right-hander Austin Adams and outfielder Rafael Bautista to Triple-A Syracuse.

Bautista, the club's No.13 prospect as rated by, drew rave reviews from manager Dusty Baker for his work ethic this spring. Baker called him a five-tool prospect.

"He did a great job for us," Baker said. "Fine young man. You don't know he's around, but he always pays attention. Fundamentally sound. I told him yesterday, I said, 'Of all the young hitters here, you work on hitting more than anybody.' Watch his batting practice, and it's not just slugging practice, it's batting practice."

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Bautista, who was added to the 40-man roster this offseason, was with the Nationals for Friday afternoon's game against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium and should remain with the Major League club for the next few games. But his performance this spring has put him squarely on the Nats' radar.

"He's an outstanding outfielder, good arm," Baker said. "He's got speed. He's learning how to drive the ball. He's potentially a five-tool player, which is rare."

Worth noting

• Second baseman Daniel Murphy has appeared in only one game in the World Baseball Classic, where he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and he has been out of the starting lineup the past few games. It's been a concern for Baker, who worries that Murphy is not getting enough at-bats to prepare for the season.

"Because he didn't have his stuff together when he left," Baker said. "How are you going to get yourself together if you're not playing? Batting practice is one thing, but competition is something else."

• Baker deemed right-hander Max Scherzer OK after his Minor League start Thursday, after Baker saw him in the morning "smiling and talking stuff." Scherzer's next start is scheduled to be in a Grapefruit League game Wednesday.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.