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Nats to wait on making callups

Nats to wait on making callups

WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo indicated recently that the team will not make any September callups for another week. The team is waiting for the season to end at Triple-A Syracuse.

Once they make their callups, the Nationals are expected to juggle at least two spots in the rotation.

The Nationals are planning to monitor the innings of right-handers Craig Stammen and J.D. Martin. Once they reach a certain amount of innings, Stammen and Martin most likely will be shut down for the season.

Rizzo did not say which pitchers would be called up, but it's assumed that right-hander Collin Balester and left-hander Ross Detwiler will be promoted to the big club and receive a few starts.

"I have a number in my mind of all of our starting pitchers. I'm taking into account number of innings, stressful innings and the number of innings in Triple-A or in the big leagues," Rizzo said. "We have a strict plan for each and every one of our pitchers. Once they reach their number, they will stop pitching."

Shutting down young pitchers is nothing new in the Nationals organization. In 2007, the Nationals shut down left-hander John Lannan after he pitched a combined 158 innings in the Minors and big leagues.

Don't expect many position players to be called up. Players such as Mike Morse and Pete Orr have already been promoted. But look for shortstop Ian Desmond to make his Major League debut in September.

Desmond is having his best year of his professional career, hitting a combined .326 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs for Double-A Harrisburg and Syracuse. Bench coach Pat Corrales went so far to say that Desmond is showing leadership qualities on and off the field.

With Josh Bard having problems with his right groin, the Nationals are hoping to carry a third catcher when the roster expands in September, but there may be a stumbling block.

Washington was hoping that Jesus Flores would return to action by then, but he is still recovering from a right shoulder injury. The team doesn't have any catching prospects except for Derek Norris, who will not be promoted to the big leagues. Instead, he will play in the Arizona Fall League.

Josh Willingham is the emergency catcher, but he will spend all of his time as the regular left fielder.

"We have talked about [having a third catcher]. It's a nice luxury to have," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "You really can't do it with a 25-man roster. But when the roster expands, it gives you more of an option to pinch-run for somebody and you still have a catcher on the bench. We really haven't identified who that person will be. I don't know if we will have one or not."

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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