WASHINGTON (AP) -Brandon Watson, who this week broke an International League record with a 43-game hitting streak, joined the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.
The Nationals purchased Watson's contract from Triple-A Columbus and also recalled right-handed reliever Luis Ayala from the 60-day disabled list. Ayala has been out for more than a year because of elbow reconstruction surgery. Right-hander Chris Schroder was also recalled from Columbus.
To make room, the Nationals designated struggling relievers Winston Abreu and Levale Speigner for assignment and placed first baseman Robert Fick on the bereavement list. Fick's mother, Gloria, died of lung cancer Tuesday.
Watson hit .330 (77-for-233) with 14 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 57 games with Columbus. His hitting streak ran from May 1 to June 17 and is tied for ninth-longest in minor-league baseball history, according to the Society of Baseball Research.
It also left him wondering when he would be going back to the majors.
``You always think about it, but you never know what's going to happen at the major-league level,'' said Watson, who started in center field Wednesday night against the Detroit Tigers. ``You can only do what you can control down in the minor leagues, and that's what I was doing.''
Watson was the opening day center fielder for the Nationals last year, but he batted only .179 in nine games before being optioned to the minors.
Ayala was injured while pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic last year. He recently completed a rehab stint with Columbus and Single-A Potomac, allowing only one earned run over 9 2-3 innings.
Ayala last pitched for Washington in 2005, when he went 8-7 with a 2.66 ERA.
Schroder was 2-2 with a 1.64 ERA and one save in 26 games with Columbus.
Abreu allowed home runs in each of his last three appearances. He was 2-1 with a 6.38 ERA in 19 games.
Speigner went 2-3 with an 8.78 ERA in 19 games, including six starts. He struggled after being put into the rotation following injuries to several Nationals starters.
Because he was a Rule 5 selection, Speigner must go through waivers and then be offered back to the Minnesota Twins before Washington can send him to the minors.
``For those that are here, the suggestion is if you're going to produce at this level, let's produce at this level,'' general manager Jim Bowden said. ``And if you don't, there's going to be changes. Patience goes only so far.''
Also Wednesday, right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams (strained shoulder) cleared waivers after being taken off of the 15-day disabled list. He has 72 hours to report to Double-A Harrisburg.

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Bautista re-signs, Blue Jays 30/1 Jose Bautista is heading back to Toronto on a one-year deal. What are the current odds of the Blue Jays to win the World Series?
Thumbnail Jays, Bautista could be close to deal Could the Blue Jays be nearing a new deal with slugger Jose Bautista?
Thumbnail Red Sox favored to win AL Pennant The Boston Red Sox are favored to win the 2017 American League Pennant, while the defending champs have the next-best odds.
Thumbnail Updated 2017 NL Pennant Odds The Chicago Cubs remain favored to win the 2017 National League Pennant at 9/5, but which team is listed second?
Thumbnail Cubs remain World Series Favorites The Cubs remain favored to win the 2017 World Series while the Red Sox have the next-best odds according to oddsmakers.

MLB Team Pages