Nats call up Albers, designate Guthrie

Eleven-year veteran did not allow a run in 10 spring appearances

Nats call up Albers, designate Guthrie

PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals designated right-hander Jeremy Guthrie for assignment on Sunday, ending his tenure with the team after one start. They selected the contract of veteran right-hander Matt Albers from Triple-A Syracuse to replace him on the roster.

Guthrie never made it out of the first inning in Saturday's 17-3 loss to the Phillies. He surrendered 10 earned runs and only managed to record two outs in a nightmare outing on his 38th birthday. It was also his first appearance in the Majors since 2015. This ends a comeback bid that took him through two different Minor League organizations in '16, winter ball in Australia and an impressive spring with the Nationals before he finally returned to a Major League mound.

"You think about the work that you put in and the effort that you give, with new teammates and new coaches, a month and a half of that, and you feel like an outing like this, it kind of erases those feelings," Guthrie said after the game. "Unfortunately, that's the way I feel right now. I just feel like six weeks of really good results and really good feelings about the work I've done and the way I've fit on this club, it's hard to think about it right now. It just kind of goes away in a moment."

Albers was also a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and provides some relief for a Nationals bullpen that has been taxed in recent days. He did not allow a run in any of his 10 appearances during Spring Training, when he gave up 10 hits and three walks with six strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings, which was enough for the Nats to want to keep him in the organization. Albers, 34, said he searched for a Major League role, but once he had no success he agreed to accept a Minor League assignment to stay with the team.

Still, it is unclear what the Nats can expect from Albers. In 58 games for the White Sox in 2016, he recorded a 6.31 ERA and allowed opposing hitters to post a .942 OPS. He also spent most of the previous two seasons injured. But the Nats' bullpen had to throw 7 1/3 innings Saturday night after Guthrie's outing, so they need an extra arm. Albers has not thrown more than two innings in two years, but he said he was willing to pitch as long as they might need him.

"As long as I can," Albers said. "Most of the time, it's about three innings. It just depends. I'll keep going until I can."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.