Kurt Suzuki Starting Saturday for Nationals, Sandy Leon Optioned to Triple-A

Michael NargiSenior Analyst IAugust 4, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 16:  Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Oakland Athletics waits to bat against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 16, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals have struggled behind the plate this season after Wilson Ramos was lost to injury in May. On Friday the Nationals acquired Kurt Suzuki from the Oakland A's and he will make his first start for the Nats on Saturday night against the Miami Marlins in D.C., according to Amanda Comak of The Washington Times.

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reported on Saturday that backup catcher Sandy Leon was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Suzuki.

Suzuki will likely replace Jesus Flores as the everyday catcher for the Nationals. Flores was hitting only .221 with three home runs and 18 RBI in 67 games this season. Suzuki provides the potential to produce better numbers than Flores.

Although Suzuki has had a disappointing year thus far, he has a productive track record with great seasons in 2009 and 2010. Getting away from Oakland's pitcher-friendly park should help Suzuki as well.

The big advantage to Suzuki behind the plate is his defensive ability. Nats GM Mike Rizzo told The Washington Times:

He's one of the best catch-and-throw defensive catchers in the game. I think he's going to take the lion's share of the catching duties, and with his track record, his ability to handle a staff and his defensive prowess, he's going to add a lot to the lineup.

Rizzo certainly has the bar set high for Suzuki and it is in Suzuki's hands to live up to the hype from his new general manager. Hopefully for the Nationals and Suzuki, he can regain some of his form from a couple of seasons ago and produce in Washington's lineup.