Struggling reliever Jonathan Papelbon has requested his release from the Washington Nationals, a source told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick on Saturday.
The Nationals are now having internal discussions about the best way to grant Papelbon’s wish, the source said.
Washington could release Papelbon as early as Saturday because the team will need to make a corresponding roster move when it recalls Reynaldo Lopez, who is scheduled to start Saturday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves.
Papelbon was replaced as the Nationals’ closer by All-Star Mark Melancon after the team acquired the former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher at the trade deadline.
The 35-year-old Papelbon has 19 saves and a career-worst 4.37 ERA this season. He hasn’t pitched since Aug. 6, when he allowed one run on two hits in 1 1/3 innings.
He was moved to the Nationals at the 2015 trade deadline after three-plus seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. Papelbon pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 2005 to 2011.
Papelbon is set to become a free agent this offseason.