The Washington Nationals recalled left-handed pitcher Felipe Rivero on Monday and optioned left-handed pitcher Matt Grace to Triple-A Syracuse. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Rivero, 23, returns to the Nationals for his second Major League assignment of the season. The hard-throwing left-hander made his Major League debut with one inning of work on April 17 in the Nationals' 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Rivero was placed on the 15-day disabled list shortly thereafter (April 22) with a gastrointestinal bleed. In eight games with Triple-A Syracuse this season Rivero is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA.
Rivero entered the 2015 season rated by Baseball America as the No. 18 prospect (No. 2 left-handed pitching prospect) in the Nationals' organization.
The Yaracuy, Venezuela native struck out 50 batters while walking just 19 in 53.2 IP in 2014 across three levels of the Nationals' chain. Rivero went 2-7 with a 3.35 ERA last year, but worked exclusively as a starter. He has since transitioned to relief work. Over the course of his Minor League career, Rivero has posted 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings and done well to keep the ball in the ballpark, surrendering just 24 home runs in 446.1 IP (0.5 HR/9).
Rivero was acquired, along with catcher Jose Lobaton and minor league outfielder Drew Vettleson, on Feb. 13, 2014 as part of a four-player trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, in exchange for right-handed pitcher Nathan Karns.
Grace, 26, appeared in 17 games for the Nationals during the first Major League call-up of his career. A lefty who possesses a hard, sinking fastball, Grace went 2-1 with a 5.25 ERA in 12.0 innings of work.