Updated at 5:02 p.m.
The Nationals have re-claimed Cole Kimball from Toronto off waivers, two days after losing the right-hander in a similar roster move. They also added catcher Derek Norris, first baseman Tyler Moore, outfielder Eury Perez and catcher Jhonatan Solano to their 40-man roster, protecting all four from being taken in next month's Rule 5 draft.
The bizarre string of transactions that brought Kimball back to D.C. came after the Blue Jays picked up another pitcher, right-hander Andrew Carpenter, off waivers from the Padres. Needing to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for Carpenter, they placed Kimball on waivers in an attempt to outright him to Class AAA.
But the Nationals rushed in and re-claimed Kimball, a move that immediately puts the injured reliever back on their 40-man roster hours before all clubs needed to submit a finalized, offseason list to Major League Baseball.
Kimball had surgery in July to repair a torn rotator cuff and won't be ready to pitch again until mid-2012. Knowing that, the Nationals attempted earlier this week to pass him through waivers and outright him to Class AAA Syracuse, a move that would have allowed him to remain in the organization without using up a 40-man roster spot.
Now, though, Kimball takes up a spot that could have been used to protect one of several minor leaguers from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. (Kimball can be placed back on the 60-day DL next spring, so he won't use up a 40-man spot during the season.)
The Nationals wound up protecting four Rule 5-eligible players in Norris, Moore, Perez and Solano. Norris and Moore weren't surprises; each excelled at Class AA Harrisburg this season. Perez, 21, has never played above high-Class A Potomac. Solano, 26, hit .275 at Class AAA Syracuse this year.
Among the players the Nationals left unprotected, and thus could lose in the Rule 5 draft, are left-hander Josh Smoker, right-hander Brad Meyers and outfielder Erik Komatsu.