The Washington Nationals recalled infielder Wilmer Difo from Double-A Harrisburg and placed infielder Stephen Drew on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 24) with vertigo-like symptoms on Wednesday. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Difo, 24, joins Washington for his first Major League assignment of the season. In 96 games with Double-A Harrisburg, Difo is hitting .255 with 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs 33 RBI, 33 walks, 26 stolen bases and 55 runs scored. His 26 stolen bases rank fifth in the Eastern League and are fourth-most among Nationals farmhands. Of his 96 games played this season, 95 have been at shortstop.
A speedy, switch-hitting infielder, Difo entered the 2016 rated as Washington's No. 6 prospect, according to Baseball America. He made his Major League debut in 2015, appearing in 15 games for the Nationals after beginning the season with Single-A Potomac. He advanced to Double-A Harrisburg, before he was recalled to the Nationals on May 19.
In 2014, he was named the South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player after leading the league with 176 hits while ranking second in total bases (263), second in stolen bases (49), fourth in RBI (90) and fourth in runs scored (91). Following the season, he was awarded the Nationals' "Bob Boone Award," which is granted annually to the Minor League player who demonstrates the professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, determination and work ethic required to play the game the "Washington Nationals Way."
Drew, 33, is hitting .262 with eight doubles, one triple, seven homers, 17 RBI, nine walks and 14 runs scored in 51 games for the Nationals. He is 6-for-20 (.300) with a triple, three home runs, and six RBI as a pinch hitter this season. Drew's three pinch-hit home runs are tied for second in MLB (along with teammate Chris Heisey). On July 23 vs. San Diego, Drew emerged off the bench after missing several days due to illness and laced a pinch-hit walk-off triple to give Washington the 3-2 victory.