Updated at 5:08 p.m.
Needing to clear a roster spot for newly acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes, the Nationals designated Matt Stairs for assignment today, likely ending the veteran's career after 19 seasons.
The Nationals signed Stairs over the winter, hoping even at the age of 43 he could provide a potent bat off the bench. But the pinch-hitting specialist never got on track, beginning the season 0-for-16 and finishing with a .154 average (10-for-65 in 56 games).
Baseball's all-time leader in pinch-hit home runs with 23, Stairs recorded only one extra-base hit (a double) and two RBI with the Nationals. His lone contribution of significance came July 1 against the Pirates, when he roped a run-scoring single off the right-field fence to secure a 2-1, walk-off victory.
"He never got sharp, and we never really got him sharp," manager Davey Johnson said. "And he didn't have the kind of production he wanted, or that the organization wanted."
By designating him for assignment, the Nationals now have 10 days to either trade or release Stairs. He could also accept the assignment to the minor leagues, though that's unlikely to happen.
Throughout his difficult season, Stairs (who debuted in 1992 with the Montreal Expos) hinted this would be his final stop in the big leagues. Assuming no other club picks him up, it's likely he's played his final game.
If this is the end for Stairs, he'll finish with a .262 average, 265 homers and 899 RBI in 1,895 games with the Expos, Red Sox, Athletics, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Phillies, Padres and Nationals.
Gomes, who was acquired yesterday from the Reds for minor leaguers Bill Rhinehart and Chris Manno, has officially been added to the Nationals' roster and will be available for tonight's game against the Marlins.