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Nats swap with Triple-A Columbus

Nats swap with Triple-A Columbus

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals optioned pitchers Matt Chico and Chris Schroder to Triple-A Columbus and selected the contracts of outfielder Ryan Langerhans and pitchers Charlie Manning and Brian Sanches on Friday.

The Nationals also transferred right-hander Ryan Wagner from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.

The left-handed-hitting Langerhans joins Washington after batting .306 (44-for-144) with three home runs and 24 RBIs with Columbus. The key to Langerhans' success was that he was more patient at the plate and placed the ball to left field on a regular basis. Langerhans is expected to be the fourth outfielder.

"I tried to work on something every day and get myself better so I could get back [to the big leagues]," Langerhans said. "I spent a lot of time working with [hitting coach] Rick Eckstein. I was able to get some consistency. I tried to take what I could and get my hits."

Double-A Harrisburg outfielders Roger Bernadina and Mike Daniel were candidates to join the Nationals, but Washington did not want them to sit behind Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes for a lengthy period of time.

"We didn't want to rush the prospects and have them sit behind the young kids that are playing here," general manager Jim Bowden said. "It would hurt two development areas at one time. So that wouldn't make sense."

Manning posted six saves in as many opportunities and had a 1.95 ERA in 19 appearances with Columbus to earn his first big league promotion.

Sanches, 29, had seven saves and a 0.98 ERA in 14 appearances with Columbus this season. He has also fanned 12.8 batters per nine innings pitched. Sanches has pitched in the big leagues each of the past two seasons with Philadelphia, going a combined 1-1 with a 5.75 ERA in 12 relief appearances.

"Manning and Sanches are throwing extremely well down there," Bowden said. "We are trying to improve the depth of bullpen, so we are going to give these two guys a shot. Maybe one, maybe both of them can help us out."

Chico, 24, was 0-6 with a 6.19 ERA in 11 games, including eight starts, for Washington this season. In three stints with the Nats in 2008, Schroder has posted a 5.40 ERA in four appearances.

Chico started the season in the rotation, but four consecutive bad starts put Chico in the bullpen. He is expected to start with Columbus to work on improving his mechanics and confidence. Chico often said he was pressing on the mound.

"We need to get him back on track like we did with Jason Bergmann," Bowden said. "Go down, take the ball every fifth day and relax.

"I'm a big fan of keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate and using [both sides of the plate]. I told him, 'Jamie Moyer is 45 years old and has a lot less stuff than you across the board, but he puts the ball [all over the place].' It's a touch and feel. Matt is only 24 years old. He's 21 years younger than Jamie. Matt can pitch in this game a long time. You have to learn to adjust. He'll be back."

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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