WASHINGTON -- When the Nationals optioned rookie reliever Aaron Barrett to Triple-A Syracuse on April 12 in order to clear space for a fresh arm, he knew he'd have to remain there a minimum of 10 days. As it turned out, his stay in the Minors didn't last any longer than necessary.
The Nats reshuffled their bullpen again on Tuesday, recalling Barrett from Syracuse on the first day he was eligible to return, and optioning lefty Xavier Cedeno to Triple-A.
"It was a little bit of a shock," said Barrett, who arrived in time for Tuesday's game against the Angels. "I know they told me it had to be 10 days, but at the same time, did I really expect it to be on the 10th day? Not really. I was just going down to Triple-A and expecting to get my work in, and if it happened, it happened. Just glad to be here."
Barrett made the Opening Day roster after a strong Spring Training and continued to make a good impression on manager Matt Williams, who entrusted him with some important assignments. The 26-year-old pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings over six appearances, giving up only one hit and two walks while striking out six.
When the Nats sent him down, it was only the result of a relief corps that had been taxed by the club's starters having some short outings.
"From what I've seen in every situation we've put him in, he's aggressive and he's commanded the zone, and gone after hitters," Williams said of Barrett. "I wouldn't expect anything else from him. That's just his mentality."
Barrett spent all of last season at Double-A Harrisburg, notching 26 saves with a 2.15 ERA.
Due partially to some bad weather, Barrett only pitched in two games at Syracuse since being sent down, the most recent on Saturday. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two over 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
Cedeno, who has see-sawed between Syracuse and Washington over the past two seasons, appeared in his first game of the season on Monday against the Angels, giving up two hits over 1 1/3 scoreless innings. With Barrett replacing Cedeno, the Nats are back to having two lefties -- Jerry Blevins and Ross Detwiler -- in their bullpen.