WASHINGTON -- Needing a 26th man for Sunday's doubleheader, the Nationals recalled first baseman Chris Marrero from Triple-A Syracuse. But after a pair of wins against the Twins, manager Davey Johnson revealed that Marrero would be with the team a little while longer.
The Nationals optioned backup first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore to Syracuse after Sunday night's win in order to get the 26-year-old more regular at-bats.
"I had a talk with him. We just need to get him some playing time," Johnson said. "I don't want to waste that talent just sitting around. I'd rather have him [get] some playing time.
"He'll be back soon. He's an outstanding player. But [I] just want to kind of get him freshened up."
Moore said that he understood the team's reasoning.
"It's tough leaving the team, especially after two wins," Moore said. "But I know Davey and [general manager Mike Rizzo] have the best interest in me and this team. And that needs to be the move right now."
Moore hit .158 this season while receiving sporadic playing time with the Nationals. He singled in the eighth inning of Game 1 on Sunday in his last at-bat before the move.
Moore's demotion creates a new opportunity for Marrero, who returned to Washington on Sunday morning after playing 31 games with the Nationals at the end of the 2011 season. The 24-year-old was slated to be Adam LaRoche's backup at first base last season, but he tore his left hamstring while playing in the Dominican Winter League in November '11. The injury was fairly severe, with the hamstring muscle completely torn off the bone.
Marrero said that his leg feels 100 percent healthy. In a way, overcoming that injury has made his return to the Nationals that much sweeter.
"I worked hard to get here. It was a long road coming back, and I'm happy to be here," Marrero said. "I just think once the leg was fully healed and the strength was back, it was just getting my consistent at-bats. Last year, it wasn't fully healed and I tried playing through it, and it was tough. But like I said, now I feel 100 percent."
Marrero, who was the Nationals' first-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, was hitting .306 in 55 games at Syracuse, with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs.
"He's always been a good hitter with some power, and just had trouble keeping himself healthy to play, to get 550 at-bats a season," Rizzo said. "We've always felt if he were to get that, he'd be a good, productive offensive player for us."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Schad. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.