WASHINGTON - The Washington Nationals designated Fredricton's Matt Stairs for assignment on Wednesday to make room on their roster for newly acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Stairs, who holds the major-league record with 23 pinch-hit home runs, was a disappointment for the Nationals. The 43-year-old batted just .154 with two RBIs in 56 games. He was 6 for 39 as a pinch hitter.
Manager Davey Johnson said that the team couldn't find regular playing time in either the outfield or at first base for Stairs.
"He never really got sharp," Johnson said. "He didn't have the production he wanted or that the organization wanted."
When Johnson took over as manager, he made no secret that he wanted a power hitter on the bench — "a guy sitting over next to me with a big, hairy chest."
He was disappointed that Stairs wasn't that player.
"I loved having that left-handed bat off the bench. He was my guy," Johnson said.
Gomes was acquired in a trade from Cincinnati on Tuesday. He wasn't in the lineup for Wednesday's game against Florida, but Johnson said he would play Thursday.
The 30-year-old had played the past 2 1/2 seasons with the Reds after starting his career with Tampa Bay. The Rays released him after the 2008 season.
"It's my first time getting traded, so I don't know how to take it. A team giving up on you — or a team grabbing you and wanting your services?" Gomes said.
Comfortable in both left field and right, Gomes wasn't ready to talk about his role.
"We just figured out what my number would be," he said. "We still got to iron some things out."
Johnson said that the right-handed hitting Gomes would help his team's balance. Laynce Nix and Rick Ankiel, who were both in Wednesday's starting lineup, are left-handed. Nix was scheduled to start in right instead of Jayson Werth, who's batting just .215 and is just 3 for 24 against Marlins starter Javier Vazquez.