Updated at 12:37 p.m.
The Nationals have called up veteran reliever Mike Gonzalez from Class AAA and have sent struggling Ryan Perry to Syracuse.
Gonzalez's contract was officially purchased this morning, with Perry optioned back to Class AAA. To make room for Gonzalez on the 40-man roster, the Nationals transferred closer Drew Storen from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. That procedural move is retroactive to Opening Day and won't prevent Storen from returning from his elbow injury, likely in early July.
Gonzalez, 34, signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals last month and reported to extended spring training to work back into shape after undergoing knee surgery during the offseason. He joined the roster at Syracuse last week and made one appearance for the Chiefs, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings Friday night at Indianapolis.
"We gave him three weeks [in Florida] to stretch his arm out, to get his velocity back, to get a feel for his breaking pitch," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We activated him on rehab assignment and sent him to Syracuse, and he threw the ball extremely well. So we thought he was ready physically and he was stretched out enough and his velocity was there, so we could make the move."
Though he owns a 2.91 ERA in nine career seasons with the Pirates, Braves, Orioles and Rangers, Gonzalez has battled injuries and poor performances the last two seasons. Rizzo, though, was intrigued enough to take a look at the lefty and believes he could provide some veteran experience in their bullpen.
"He's a guy with great character that I've admired as a person for many years," Rizzo said. "He's battle-tested, and he's a pretty good, major-league reliever."
Gonzalez's addition does give the Nationals four left-handed relievers in their current bullpen, with Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny and Ross Detwiler already in the fold. That unconventional alignment may not prove to be a long-term solution. The club expects to have veteran right-hander Brad Lidge back from hernia surgery in the next 10 days or so.
Perry, acquired from the Tigers last winter for fellow reliever Collin Balester, made seven appearances, posting a 10.13 ERA and putting 14 men on base in eight total innings.