Nationals reinstate four players from COVID IL

The Nationals reinstated Alex Avila, Yan Gomes, Brad Hand and Jordy Mercer from the COVID-19 injured list, per a team announcement. Carter Kieboom, Tres Barrera and Ryne Harper were optioned, while Cody Wilson was reassigned to the alternate training site. Washington was without nine players for their season-opening series against the Braves due to coronavirus spread among the team. Jon Lester, Patrick Corbin, Josh Harrison, Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber remain on the COVID IL.

The return of Avila and Gomes gives the Nats’ their expected catching tandem back in time for Friday afternoon’s contest against the Dodgers. While Barrera was optioned out, Washington elected to keep Jonathan Lucroy on the active roster, so the Nats will go with three backstops for the time being.

Wilson, meanwhile, was designated as a “replacement player” under the 2021 COVID-19 protocols. He was called up temporarily as part of the initial wave of reinforcements, but he has now been removed from the 40-man roster without having been designated for assignment or exposed to waivers.

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