Veteran infielder Mark DeRosa and left-hander John Lannan traveled with the team to St. Louis but were left off the playoff roster. Perhaps the most surprising player to make the cut was right-handed reliever Christian Garcia, given that he was a September callup who broke spring camp with Double-A Harrisburg before moving up to Triple-A Syracuse.
But Garcia pitched his way onto the roster with some dominant performances, a 2.13 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings, and the Nationals could use another righty given the number of dangerous right-handed hitters on the Cardinals' roster.
"I'm just trying to take it all in and enjoy it most of all, go out there and put my best foot forward," Garcia said. "I can't say it was a surprise, because I have high expectations for myself and big goals, but it's obviously something I didn't have control over, so I was very excited. I wouldn't use the word surprised. I would say more excited than anything.
"You imagine it. It's what you dream of. When I was rehabbing, the thing that helped me get through days I didn't want to work out was days like this, like being able to pitch in a postseason game -- and not just pitch in it, but be somebody in the postseason and make a name for myself."
The rest of the Nationals' bullpen includes closer Drew Storen, setup man Tyler Clippard, right-handers Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen plus lefties Sean Burnett, Michael Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny. Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler round out the starting rotation.
Rookie slugger Tyler Moore made the cut, joining outfielders Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Michael Morse and Roger Bernadina; infielders Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Chad Tracy and Steve Lombardozzi; and catchers Kurt Suzuki and Jesus Flores.
The Nationals sent catcher Sandy Leon and outfielders Eury Perez and Corey Brown back to their Spring Training facility in Viera, Fla., in case they are needed, while Stephen Strasburg joined DeRosa and Lannan as non-roster players with the club in St. Louis.