Bowden on Astacio
So some of you have wondered why this move was made. Here's what the GM said in the stands at Roger Dean Stadium only a few minutes ago:
"We're very happy with Patterson and Hill and Chico and Simontacchi, Hanrahan's thrown well. Jerome Williams his last start. But you have to have depth, and you have to prepare for injuries, and we're just not happy enough with our depth to protect ourselves. So look, it's a non-guranteed contract, minor-league deal. No guarantees that he even makes the Triple-A team at this point. But we need to have depth so we don't hurt a prosepct or force a prospect to come up here when he's not ready."
By name, he brought up Colin Ballester, the top pitching prospect in the organization who's only 20 years old. As some of the commenters on earlier entries have posted, it's simply a move to see if they can get a guy who might be able to give them a few quality innings at some point. We won't even see him in a Grapefruit League game, Bowden said. He'll get innings in minor league camp. If he makes the team at some point, he'll be paid $600,000 (pro-rated). Bowden was vague as to whether Astacio would accept a minor league assignment, but you have to figure that if he signed with 10 days left in camp, he has to know that a few weeks in Columbus are on tap.
The more shocking news: Nationals are in the top of the seventh and involved in a 1-0 game. And they lead. Saul Rivera with two solid innings in relief of Chico (who, for what it's worth, Bowden said was "the story of our spring training," along with Shawn Hill, and if he was a writer that's what he'd be writing about. Alas, he is not a writer (although he does write a weekly column for the Washington Examiner) and therefore does not get to determine what we write about, so I think I'll steer my own ship on this one, though I appreciate the advice).
Jesus Colome now on to hurl.
Oh, and in response to some of the folks who have asked about the defense: Yes, it's been good. I still think Guzman and Lopez will take some time to work through things in the middle -- they took a bit long to turn a double play yesterday, and it didn't get turned. The biggest concern to me about the defense is whether Logan can hit enough to justify keeping his job out there.
I'm likely going to work for a while and will get back to you with an update after the game.
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