Nationals make third round of cuts to spring roster

Nationals make third round of cuts to spring roster

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals had their third round of cuts on Thursday, optioning outfielder Michael Taylor and left-hander Matt Purke to Double-A Harrisburg and re-assigning pitchers Clay Hensley, Josh Roenicke, Daniel Stange and Danny Rosenbaum to Minor League camp.

Of the players cut from Major League camp, Purke and Taylor are considered part of the team's future. For the first time since he was pro, Purke showed that he recovered from shoulder surgery, but he allowed seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. He realizes that he must do a better job at getting lefties out.

"I was able to finally come out -- be healthy and throw," Purke said. "[The team] told me to work on attacking hitters and always be on the aggressive and not get behind. ... They told me to continue to work and get guys out."

Taylor could be the future center fielder of the Nationals. He is an excellent defender, but he must show the team that he can hit. He was 3-for-16 [.188] with three RBIs this spring.

Manager Matt Williams had Taylor play all three outfield positions by design this spring, and Williams came away thinking that Taylor is a natural center fielder.

"I see Devon White -- body-wise," Williams said. "We look at him and say, 'We are going longer with our guys so his at-bats are going to get limited.' We need him to get ready. I was impressed. I like what I saw."

Rosenbaum, Hensley, Roenicke and Stange weren't given much of a chance to show what they could do on the mound.

"We wanted to get guys stretched out as much as possible from a pitching perspective," Williams said. "They have the potential to start. As our guys get deeper into games, less innings are available. We need to get them stretched so they start their seasons, too."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. Follow him on Twitter @WashingNats. Andrew Simon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.