Didn't Make the Paper, Vol. III
(I'm going to really have to study my Roman numerals as the season goes on.)
So apparently, pigs can fly and all that stuff. Nats win! Nats win! Thuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhh Nationals win!
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE, 12:33 P.M. (Didn't want to make this an entirely new post for those who haven't read below.) Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young has agreed to wear No. 42 on April 15, the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robsinson's breaking of baseball's color barrier. We had an item in the $.35-edition of the paper this morning about Ken Griffey Jr. doing this for the Reds, getting permission from MLB to honor Robinson by wearing his number -- which has been retired by all 30 major league clubs. I planned to ask Young if he wanted to do this (he, Nook Logan, Ray King and Jerome Williams are the team's only African Americans) this afternoon, but the announcement pre-empted my question.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled post.
Yeah, yeah, it was only two games and all, but man, they were horrid. Not so tremendous for the first half of yesterday, either. Of course it wasn't a "must" win in the truest sense, but there was a palpable sense of relief/satisfaction/joy/relief/thankfulness in the clubhouse yesterday. Manny Acta appeared misty-eyed to me in the postgame.
OK, DMTP: Well, not much. How about Acta's double switch there in the ninth, when he brought in Ray King to pitch and hit seventh, benching Church and putting Austin Kearns in center, where he hadn't played so much as an inning all spring, and sticking Robert Fick in right so he could hit in the nine hole? In all the hoopla, didn't get to ask Acta about it last evening. But I wonder: What's the advantage of doing that unless you think King's going to pitch more than an inning (and they were down two runs at the time)? If you keep the defensive alignment the same and stick King in the nine spot in the order, then you could just pinch hit Fick for King/other pitcher in the bottom of the inning.
Of course -- and I think this will be the answer -- the bullpen was getting short, so I think even if Acta had brought in Rauch later in the ninth (which he did, getting two key strikeouts) he didn't want to have to pinch hit for Rauch, have the Nationals tie the game, and then be left with only Chad Cordero to pitch if the game went to extra innings.
Is there going to be a greater challenge for a first-year manager than Acta handling this bullpen this year? I've seen juggling in street corner acts in Manhattan, and that's nothing compared to this.
Cordero: He was the only one left in the bullpen by the end, along with bullpen coach Rick Aponte. "Lonley," he said afterward. "And cold." He thus had the longest to run/jog when he came in for the celebration.
Also: Didn't address a very warm embrace between Dmitri Young and Acta afterward. "That was special," Acta said. There is a lot of sympathy in the clubhouse for Young -- though no one endorses what he did last year, what with the domestic abuse charge, etc. Said Young about Acta, who he has known for perhaps five weeks: "He's our manager. He's our leader, and that win was for him."
In the minors: It's Opening Day for Class AAA Columbus, Class AA Harrisburg, high Class A Potomac and low Class A Hagerstown. RHP Tim Redding (remember him?) gets the assignment for the Clippers at Indianapolis this afternoon.
Some interesting developments on the minor league rosters.
Columbus: It appears that RHP Emiliano Fruto (who player development guru Bob Boone called "a baby with a big arm" this spring, the 22-year-old who came over in the Vidro trade from Seattle with Chris Snelling) will be in the Clippers' rotation. Trying to get that confirmed right now, but the list I have makes it look that way. That would be interesting. People think he has the stuff -- three good pitches -- but his problems in the past have been keeping concentration over six or seven innings. For an organization that needs power arms in the rotation, it would appear to make sense, though. EDIT: Yes, have it confirmed from player development department -- Fruto will join Redding, Joel Hanrahan (easy bet to be first starter called up should he improve his command in the strike zone), LHP Chris Michalak and Felix Diaz in the Columbus rotation.
Looks like starting OF in Colulmbus will be Restovich, Lombard and Darnell McDonald, with Honest Abraham Nunez coming off the bench.
Harrisburg: The guy -- THE GUY -- to watch here is top rotation prospect Collin Balester. Mike Hinckley and Beltran Perez also appear in the rotation for the Senators, and their development is key, too. Big year -- probably make-or-break -- for former top prospect Hinckley. Also: Zech Zinicola becomes the closer at Harrisburg, and some in the organization expect him to be in the majors by the end of the year.
Potomac: Clint Everts in the rotation, Ian Desmond trying to find himself again at shortstop. But if I were choosing between Potomac and Hagerstown to take in a game, I'd take ...
Hagerstown: No Esmailyn Gonzalez at shortstop. They kept him at extended spring training, which makes sense for a 17-year-old who's never played in the States before. Stephen King, from last year's draft, is the SS here. But the outfield contains three of the Nationals' best hitting prospect -- LF Chris Marrero (who put on a show every time I saw him hit in the spring, and who some top executives believe is "absolutely, without question" the top prospect in the organization); CF Justin Maxwell (who one front office guy told me "could be a superstar" because of his bat speed, a potential steal out of the University of Maryland in the fourth round in 2005); and budding hitter Mike Daniel in right. Add that to Jhonny Nunez in the rotation (acquired in the Marlon Anderson trade with the Dodgers last year) and I think Hagerstown might have the most high-ceiling prospects in the organization.
Also: RHP Garrett Mock begins the year on the DL in Potomac because of his bad knee, which Boone said would be the case during spring training.
Our minor league notebook will begin next week, likely on Wednesdays, but I'll try to fill it out in the Journal as well.
Tonight: Jason Bergmann's first start of the season. Diamondbacks coughed up seven runs in the eighth inning yesterday in Denver, so can't be feeling too good about that. I'll talk to you from RFK.
April 5, 2007; 10:40 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: An accomplishment
Next: Didn't Make the Paper, Vol. IV -- and, finally, a chat
Posted by: Paul | April 5, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: court | April 5, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Sec. 418 Jr. | April 5, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Brian | April 5, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Section 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | April 5, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Arlington, or Section 502 | April 5, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Mark W, Alex., VA | April 5, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: 41 Games | April 5, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: NatsNut Sec 447 | April 5, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: NatsNut Sec 447 | April 5, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Kevin | April 5, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Anonymous | April 5, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dancer | April 5, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Hondo Lives | April 5, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TexSkin | April 5, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nats Minors Fan | April 5, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Barry Svrluga | April 5, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Parade??? | April 5, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | April 5, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 5, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: i hate walks | April 5, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JHM | April 5, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mlwagnercpa | April 5, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Juan-John | April 5, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Concessions Manager | April 6, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 6, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Justin Case | April 6, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Jeb Brown | April 6, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.