Josh Whitesell, 25, hit .284 (110-for-387) with 78 runs scored, 23 doubles, a triple, 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 119 games repeating Double-A Harrisburg last season. He was originally selected by the Montreal Expos in the sixth round of the 2003 draft after a standout career at Loyola Marymount University.
The big first baseman was named an Eastern League midseason All-Star last year before being added to the Nationals' 40-man roster after the season ended. The native of Durham, N.C. was batting .125 (2-for-16) with a RBI in seven spring games for the Nationals this season.
Whitesell was optioned to Tucson (AAA) prior to the start of the club's game this afternoon.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the club announced that left-handed pitcher Bill Murphy has been designated for assignment. Murphy went 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA (3 ER in 6.1 IP) with a save and seven strikeouts in five games this spring for the D-backs. He had been considered as a possible replacement for Doug Slaten, the bullpen's only southpaw, who is recovering from microfracture surgery. This move may signify that Slaten is on pace to open the season healthy.