After having their first four games postponed due to positive Covid-19 tests within the organization, the Nationals have announced their roster for today’s season opener. Four Nationals players are said to have tested positive, with several more in the organization being deemed close contacts who are also going through protocol. Tuesday’s announcement was accompanied by a dizzying series of roster moves, which included placing catchers Yan Gomes and Alex Avila; left-handers Patrick Corbin, Brad Hand and Jon Lester; infielders Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer; first baseman Josh Bell; and outfielder Kyle Schwarber on the Covid-19 related injured list. Right-hander Will Harris was also placed on the 10-day injured list after his recent procedure to address a blood clot.
In a sequence of corresponding roster moves, the Nats recalled catcher Tres Barrera; right-handers Ryne Harper and Kyle McGowin; infielders Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia; lefty Sam Clay; and outfielder Yadiel Hernandez from their alternate training site. Washington also selected the contracts of veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder Cody Wilson. Wilson was specifically designated as a “replacement player,” indicating that he can be removed from the 40-man roster and sent back to the minors without clearing waivers as the affected Nationals players are cleared to return to the roster.
Notably, the Nationals’ Opening Day roster includes shortstop Trea Turner — a welcome development after Turner was absent from yesterday’s workout with the team. Manager Dave Martinez tells reporters that Turner was not cleared to be on the field yesterday (Twitter link via the Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty), so it seems he cleared protocols this morning. Turner will be joined in the Opening Day infield by Ryan Zimmerman, Hernan Perez (at second) and Starlin Castro (at third). The Nats will give Andrew Stevenson the nod in left field alongside Victor Robles and Juan Soto, while Lucroy draws the start behind the plate, catching Max Scherzer.
The Nationals will make up yesterday’s postponed contest against the Braves in a doubleheader tomorrow. It’s not yet clear when they’ll make up their three postponed games against the Mets, although given that they’re division rivals, the remainder of this season’s schedule will provide ample opportunity for those games to be played.