The Nationals made a trade on Sunday to improve their inventory of minor league outfielders and possibly add a player who could come off their bench later this season, acquiring Gregor Blanco from the Royals for a player to be named.
Blanco, who had been removed from the Royals' 40-man roster in spring training, was assigned to Class AAA Syracuse (N.Y.), where he will attempt to work his way back to the majors.
He had 836 plate appearances for the Braves and Royals from 2008-10, and played 144 games for the Braves in his rookie season in 2008.
Blanco was traded for outfielder Rick Ankiel, now with the Nationals, who went from the Royals to the Braves last season before signing with Washington in the offseason.
He got off to a bad start for the Royals at Class AAA Omaha (Neb.) this season, hitting .196 in 23 games, but he's capable of playing all three outfield positions.
The Nationals are short on players who can play center field, especially with Ankiel on the disabled list, and Blanco could give them another option there in a pinch.
It's not the kind of trade that's going to help the Nationals' offense rebound from a start that has put it amongst the worst lineups in the majors, but Blanco comes at a cheap enough price that the team thought he might be worth a look.
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