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06/20/2007 10:39 AM ET
Nationals make six roster moves as Luis Ayala, Brandon Watson and Chris Schroder are added to roster
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The Washington Nationals today recalled from rehab and reinstated right-handed pitcher Luis Ayala from the 60-day disabled list, selected the contract of outfielder Brandon Watson from Columbus of the Triple-A International League and recalled right-handed pitcher Chris Schroder from Columbus. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Nationals placed first baseman/outfielder Robert Fick on the Bereavement List and designated right-handed pitchers Winston Abreu and Levale Speigner for assignment. Nationals Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcements.

Ayala returns to the Nationals for the first time since having March 30, 2006 right-elbow reconstructive surgery performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum and Nationals team orthopedist Dr. Ben Shaffer. The 29 year-old recently completed a rehab stint with Columbus of the Triple-A International League and Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League, during which he went a combined 0-0 with a 0.93 ERA (1 ER/9.2 IP) and a .156 (5-for-32) batting average against. Ayala seeks to return to the form that made him one of the game's finest eighth-inning specialists, as he posted a NL-leading 62 holds for the Nationals/Expos during a three-year span from 2003-05. Ayala, 24-22 with a 2.75 ERA (71 ER/232.1 IP) in 214 career appearances, last pitched for Washington in 2005, when he went 8-7 with a career-best 22 holds a 2.66 ERA.

Watson, 25, joins the Nationals after hitting .330 (77-for-233) with 14 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 57 games with Columbus. Watson ranked fourth in the International League in batting at the time of the promotion, thanks in large part to an International League-record 43-game hitting streak, May 1-June 17, during which he went 63-for-175 (.360). The 43-game streak tied for the ninth-longest in the history of minor-league baseball according to the Society of Baseball Research. Watson is a career .176 (12-for-68) hitter in 35 big league games with Washington and Cincinnati. He was originally drafted by Montreal in the ninth round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft.

The 28 year-old Schroder was 2-2 with a 1.64 ERA and one save in 26 games with Columbus upon being promoted. While with the Clippers, he allowed an earned run in only four of his 26 appearances, fanned 12.3 batters per 9.0 innings pitched and posted a .202 (23-for-114) batting average against. He also did not allow a home run in 33.0 International League innings.

Fick, per MLB rules as it pertains to the Bereavement List, must miss a minimum of three games and a maximum of seven before returning to the club. The 33 year-old Fick is batting .217 (18-for-83) with five RBI this season, including a 4-for-8 (.500) surge his last three games.

Abreu, 29, posted a 2-1 record and a 6.38 ERA in 19 games with Washington in 2007.

Speigner, 26, went 2-3 with 8.77 ERA in 19 games (six starts) for the Nationals.

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