The Cardinals designated Komatsu for assignment in order to open roster space for Allen Craig, who came off the disabled list. Though most players simply have to clear waivers when designated for assignment, Komatsu's situation differs because of his status as a Rule 5 pick.
Komatsu will be placed on waivers first, giving any other club the option of taking him. The team that does will have to abide by the rule requiring Komatsu to remain on the Major League roster all season in order to stick with that organization.
If Komatsu clears waivers, the Cardinals will have to offer him back to the Nationals for half of the $50,000 they paid to select him from Washington in December's Rule 5 Draft.
With the obstacles standing in the way of retaining the 24-year-old outfielder and sending him to their Minor League system, the Cardinals anticipate losing Komatsu.
"He's going to get snatched up by somebody," manager Mike Matheny said. "From what I've seen, I'd like to have the kid around. I'm sure somebody else has seen the same thing."
Komatsu earned a spot on the Opening Day roster after impressing the staff during his first big league Spring Training. He recorded his first Major League hit in his first at-bat but had only three in 20 at-bats since.
With Craig able to play the outfield, the Cardinals did not need to keep Komatsu as another backup. The club also favored keeping a right-handed-hitting outfielder (Robinson) over the left-handed-hitting Komatsu in order to balance the bench.
"With what Shane has done and with what Matt has done, that really put us in a tight spot," Matheny said. "It came down to numbers. That was a tough conversation to have with [Komatsu]. We're very excited about what he did."