Walters, Davis among Nats sent to Minors

Walters, Davis among Nats sent to Minors

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals made their third round of cuts Monday, optioning pitchers Ryan Perry, Erik Davis and Yunesky Maya, infielder Chris Marrero, catcher Jhonatan Solano and outfielder Corey Brown to Triple-A Syracuse.

In addition, pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and infielder Zach Walters were reassigned to Minor League camp.

Of the players sent down, Walters and Davis stood out.

Walters was 11-for-37 (.297) with two home runs, four RBIs and a .459 on-base percentage this spring. Walters, the Nats' No. 14 prospect, made some adjustments, changing his stance and getting more upright at the plate, which he says allowed him to see pitches better.

"He reminded me a lot of where [Ian] Desmond was at a couple of years ago. I like his upside," manager Davey Johnson said. "He has tremendous ability and he is learning how he is. He knows what he needs to do. I think this spring has been good for him.

"I enjoyed having him here and expressing his talent. He has a better idea who he is and what he can accomplish. That's a good thing. He just needs to play and gain experience from that. He has a great future."

Walters said he was thankful to blend in with the big league team.

"It was hanging with the guys, seeing this kind of team and this winning atmosphere," Walters said.

Davis will be a reliever for Syracuse and is expected pitch in the late innings. In seven spring games, he allowed one run in eight innings and struck out eight batters.

"Prior to last year, he was a starter, I know he was a little amped up and I congratulated him on getting a save up here. He has big league stuff," Johnson said.

Davis came into camp knowing that he wasn't going to make the big league club, but he plans to improve his fastball command while in the Minor Leagues.

"I'm very happy with my first spring," Davis said. "I came in knowing this team was pretty loaded, so the chances of making this team were very slim. This is first time I was pitching in front of the big league staff. I wanted to put forth a good showing [so they] know that if something happens this year, they can call on me."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.