The Nationals’ stream of new names joining their major-league roster continued Tuesday when catcher Riley Adams, acquired in Washington’s deadline trade of Brad Hand, was called up to replace the injured René Rivera. Adams will join Tres Barrera to give the Nationals a pair of young catchers handling duties behind the plate.
“We wanted to get Riley up here, let Keibert [Ruiz] play every day for now,” Martinez said Tuesday. “I like what Riley Adams [has] done. He’s got a lot of pop in his bat so he’ll get an opportunity to split time here with Barrera. He just showed up; I just had a conversation with him, seems like another good, fine young man. Looking forward to watching him play.”
Ruiz was the centerpiece of the Nationals’ trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to Southern California. The highly regarded catching prospect appeared in his first game for the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate Rochester on Tuesday and will get himself acclimated with the organization there before Washington calls him up.
In the meantime, the Nationals will rely on Adams and Barrera to be their primary catchers. Adams hit .107 in 12 games for the Toronto Blue Jays during a short stint in the bigs before being traded, but he put up an .858 OPS with seven home runs and six doubles in 35 games at Triple-A Buffalo. Barrera is off to a hot start with the Nationals, hitting .281 with five extra-base hits in 19 games so far after a subpar season at Triple-A (.668 OPS).
Neither backstop is expected to start over Ruiz once he’s ready for the majors, but the Nationals made catcher a position of strength when they added both Ruiz and Riley at the deadline. Barrera and Riley will each have the opportunity down the stretch to prove they’re deserving of a spot on the active roster next season.