Nats' Marrero Gets LASIK Surgery





WASHINGTON — As first baseman Chris Marrero tries to take the final step toward becoming a major leaguer, he'll at least have one inconvenience out of the way.

Marrero, who was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after hitting .381/.435/.476 in 21 at-bats in major league spring training, had LASIK surgery on both of his eyes on Dec. 5. He had worn contacts since his freshman year of high school.

"I just wanted to eliminate the hassle, and I had a little bit of an astigmatism so I took care of that," Marrero said. " I had a couple friends (outside baseball) who had it, too. I talked to them, and they said it was definitely worth it. My eyes are still healing a little bit, but I think it's going to be fine."

The 22-year-old Marrero was the youngest player on the Chiefs' preliminary roster. He's coming off a .294/.350/.450 season with 18 home runs and 82 RBI in 524 at-bats at Double-A Harrisburg, but he still has strides to make.

In January, the Nationals signed Adam LaRoche to be their first baseman for the next two seasons with a mutual option for a third year. Marrero, meanwhile, is trying to make the most of his Triple-A debut with manager Randy Knorr, who also was his manager last season and in 2007 and 2008 at high Class A Potomac.

Marrero, a first-round pick out of Monsignor Pace High in Opa-locka, Fla., in 2006, offers a powerful righthanded bat and has made progress at first base after playing in the outfield earlier in his professional career.

"I'm just hoping to be healthy the whole year and get called up some time," Marrero said, "but if not, I just want to keep working."

CAPITAL GAINS

• Righthander Brian Broderick, the second of the club's two Rule 5 picks this past offseason, captured a spot in the major league bullpen. The 24-year-old won 14 games between low Class A and Double-A last year in the Cardinals system. Meanwhile, first-round Rule 5 pick Elvin Ramirez, 23, was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a sore shoulder. The righthanded Ramirez pitched previously in the Mets organization.

• In winnowing down the roster to 25 players, general manager Mike Rizzo dealt for two minor leaguers. He acquired infielder Cutter Dykstra, 21, from the Brewers for center fielder Nyjer Morgan and righthander Erik Davis, 24, from the Padres for infielder Alberto Gonzalez.