The Nationals held their third round of cuts this spring, sending eight players down to the minor leagues. Starters Ryan Perry and Yunesky Maya, reliever Erik Davis, first baseman Chris Marrero, catcher Jhonatan Solano and outfielder Corey Brown were reassigned to Class AAA Syracuse. Starter Ross Ohlendorf and infielder Zach Walters were sent to minor league camp, both likely to start in Syracuse, too. The Nationals believe Ohlendorf, Maya and Perry will serve as protection against their major league rotation in the event of injuries. The Nationals starting rotation enjoyed a rare season of good health, with none of the starting five missing a start last season because of injury; shutdowns excluded Perry, who converted from a reliever to starter last season, needs to improve command; and Ohlendorf and Maya will serve as starters this season. “I just tell them where it is and in the scheme of things,” Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said. “I’m not big on romance or b.s. It’s not a secret that one of the areas we lack a little depth is in starting pitching. I hope I impressed on [Ohlendorf, Perry and Maya] today that they are prime candidates, each and every one of them, and that they need to be in a good frame of mind and be ready. Last year was a very good year in that we had some injuries to the position players but the pitching staff was pretty much injury free. It’s doesn’t always happen that way.”