Good Health Helps Karns Make Nationals' 40-Man





WASHINGTON—This past season, righthander Nate Karns was far more concerned with staying on the active roster than making the 40-man roster.

By staying healthy for a whole season, Karns pitched his way into a protected spot. A 12th-round pick from Texas Tech who signed for $225,000 in 2009, Karns went 11-4, 2.17 with 148 strikeouts and 47 walks in 116 innings between low Class A Hagerstown and high Class A Potomac.

"Day in and day out, I just wanted to go after it and do what I needed to do," said Karns, the organization's minor league pitcher of the year. "I wasn't looking at the 40-man at all."

Karns, 25, joined 26-year-old righthanded reliever Erik Davis as the additions to the 40-man roster. Davis went 8-3, 2.71 with 74 strikeouts in 73 innings between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Karns didn't make his pro debut until 2011, when he went 3-2, 2.28 in 55 innings between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and short-season Auburn. Shoulder soreness kept him out until midseason 2010, when he had to have surgery.

"I didn't start noticing progress until 2011," Karns said. "I really forgot what it was like to play, it had been so long. I can remember at Auburn, just being out there and really happy I was playing again."

Karns said he was consistent in 2012 with his four-seam fastball and curveball, and that his changeup has become "an up-and-coming third pitch."

Farm director Doug Harris agreed with Karns' scouting of report of himself, and he also said, "His hard work allowed him to maximize his innings and show his capabilities."

CAPITAL GAINS

• The organization did not make any Rule 5 selections, but it had four players chosen. Lefthander Danny Rosenbaum (Rockies) and second baseman Jeff Kobernus (Red Sox, traded to Tigers) were taken in the major league phase. Washington lost lefthander Jack McGeary (Red Sox) and reliever Hector Nelo (Dodgers) in the minor league phase.

• To acquire center fielder and leadoff man Denard Span, the club had to part with 2012 Futures Game righthander Alex Meyer, who went 10-6, 2.86 with 139 strikeouts in 129 innings between Hagerstown and Potomac.