For an updated story on the call-ups, including quotes from Danny Espinosa and Mike Rizzo, go to CSNwashington.com.
MIAMI — Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos will make up the first wave of September call-ups and will be in uniform tonight for the Nationals' series finale against the Marlins.
Espinosa, one of the best all-around infielders in the minor leagues this season, will have his contract purchased from Class AAA Syracuse. (Stephen Strasburg can be placed on the 60-day DL to make room for him.) Ramos, who wa already on the 40-man roster, is being recalled from Syracuse.
General manager Mike Rizzo had said earlier this week he didn't plan to make any September call-ups until the Chiefs' season ends on Monday, but the two players were told last night of their promotions and are en route to Miami today.
Espinosa, a 23-year-old switch-hitter, has been on fire at the plate in Syracuse, posting a .359 average (14-for-39) with four walks, three RBI and five runs scored over his last 10 games. In 123 combined games this season with Syracuse and Class AA Harrisburg, he's hitting .268 with 22 homers, 69 RBI and 25 stolen bases. As of last week, he was one of only two minor-league players from any organization with at least 20 homers and 20 steals this year.
A third-round pick in 2008 draft out of the same Long Beach State program that produced Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria, Espinosa has been a shortstop throughout his career. The Nationals, though, have tried him out at second base in Syracuse over the last few weeks, and he's likely to get playing time there in D.C. once he's promoted.
Ramos, the 23-year-old catcher acquired from the Twins in exchange for closer Matt Capps, appeared in one game with Washington two weeks ago when Wil Nieves left for the birth of his daughter. In 20 games at Syracuse, he was hitting .316 with three homers and eight RBI.
More call-ups are expected in the coming days, including Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya, who is scheduled to make his final start for Syracuse tonight.
UPDATE AT 3:32 P.M. -- Though the Nationals initially announced that Collin Balester was being called up along with Espinosa and Ramos, I was just informed that the right-hander won't be joining the club tonight due to a technicality. Balester had just been optioned from D.C. to Syracuse last Thursday; players must spend a minimum of 10 days in the minors before being recalled, unless there's an injury requiring his return. Thus, Balester can't rejoin the Nats until Sunday.