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Minor League Update

Yes, I know our minor league updates are supposed to run in Wednesday's papers, but with a new series starting today, we had to do the series preview box in its place (what with interesting info on Nats vs. Phils).

So I'm putting together some minor league notes now, which will run in tomorrow's $.35 edition. Not a very good start win/loss-wise for most of the affiliates. I would be remiss, however, if I didn't point out this.

Nick Johnson on the field now going through his daily, um, hell. He is still getting over his broken leg, and he's running sprints in the outfield right now with head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz. I think we'll really know that Johnson is ready to come back when he slides into a base and rolls over and flops around, a motion that Alfonso Soriano likened last year to an alligator wrestling with its food.

Also, for added juice, I forgot to mention this, which could add some juice to the series here.

No lineups yet. I might try to get them to you before the game.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 18, 2007; 2:38 PM ET
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Next: Didn't Make the Paper, Vol. VII


I see Charlie Manuel got into a confrontation with the Geico Caveman!
Look forward to the Minor League updates. Nice to have you back! It's been a while.

Posted by: Section 516 | April 18, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

GEICO Caveman...that's hilarious!!! Guess it's obvious why Erskin is on the radio and not TV.

Posted by: DE | April 18, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: DE | April 18, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"I would be remiss, however, if I didn't point out this."

Darn right you would made MY day !

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | April 18, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh my - I totally thought that was a Geico commercial video on the side until I hit play and realized it went with the ESPN story!

Posted by: misschatter | April 18, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh how we miss our man Nicky Johnson. Or, as we like to refer to him in these parts, "The Master of the Awkward Slide"(tm).

Posted by: Del Ray Nats Fan | April 18, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Manuel isn't even good at talking trash... I say Acta goes for some one-up-manship with their series against the Phils and absolutely goes berserk on an ump... and then throws a few bats and then verbally assaults a member of the media when questioned about it. Instead of two guys 'sort or' holding him back, he'll need at least 4. Barry, perhaps you can play a role in this?

Posted by: Dorf | April 18, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Great links Barry!! I have been thinking lately about the Phillies. Doing so has given me joy! We are a half game ahead of them and no doubt way way behind them in team salary. What are the chances of a sweep of this series or at least a win? If it happen Manuel may be toast.

MP3 player update. They are here and you can pick them up at games through May.

Posted by: Section 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | April 18, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Mine, too, at least until I realized that McDreamy would not be there in the, um, flesh.


"I would be remiss, however, if I didn't point out this."

Darn right you would made MY day !

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

It is -- he even talks like him!


GEICO Caveman...that's hilarious!!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | April 18, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Seems I can't go anywhere and get a little respect. I brought you fire, can you at least give me warmth?

Posted by: Geico Caveman | April 18, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Restovich da man!

Posted by: JennX | April 18, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Nats Win! Woo-Hoo! We're EMPHATICALLY not in last place!! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | April 18, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

was that a extra innings victory? Come on though, Bergmann needs a win Cordero! He's pitching lights out.

Posted by: Dorf | April 19, 2007 12:01 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait until Johnson returns and we can discard that girlfriend-beating drunk currently playing first for us. He appears to field primarily through his gravitational pull, also.

Posted by: Lindemann | April 19, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I had to retire at the end of the 12th! It was a matter at that point of who wanted it more. I am glad the Nat's did. Lets hope that announcers' spectulation that the current cold spell is bothering the Chief is correct. I will be warm this weekend.

Lindeman-What put the burr up your_ _ _? Young is beheaving himself here and his pluses and minuses were apparent before and after his off the field problems occurred. He was put at first for his bat and he has done a fairly good job with it. I want Nick back too, for his more consistent bat not because of his fielding.

Posted by: Section 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | April 19, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

...and not for Nick's personal life either, for that matter.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 19, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't endorse people who beat their girlfriends while they are married to another woman, then blame it on the booze, then further blame it on diabetes. Presently the Nats are employing just such a person. Given these circumstances, my choices are either to quit rooting for the Nats (not likely) or hope that Young gets cashiered as soon as possible.

Also, if you think Dmitri Young is an acceptable fielder for a first baseman, you need to get out around the league more.

Posted by: Lindemann | April 19, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

In response to Lindemann: I don't condone the choices Young made before he got here, but i think he certainly deserves a second chance, especially since he had a problem with alcohol, etc. and came out and admitted his problem and got help for it, which he did. So far Dimitri has been an upstanding citizen and positive energy for the Nats, and i hope if he does eventually move on, that he has such success elsewhere.

Posted by: NatsVA | April 19, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone explain to me why it matters to have a correlation between first base and strong hitting? Why does the ability to hit and being at a certain position make any difference at all? I hear this frequently from announcers and reporters, so I finally asked several friends who purport to be baseball experts and have gotten nothing more than blank stares in response.

Re. Dmitri Young, I too find it pretty hard to cheer for someone who has been violent towards women, even if he seems to be turning things around now. I don't really buy the "it was the booze" argument... Seems like everyone lately develops an alcohol problem and goes to rehab to account for anything they've done wrong and we're all supposed to think that that makes everything better (see Mark Foley). Glad Dmitri's doing well, and sure he has a cute grin, but this female Nats fan will continue to cheer quite guardedly for the first baseman until my man NJ returns.

Posted by: JennX | April 19, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Who are the Nats playing in the NLDS???

Posted by: So................ | April 19, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

You know what's worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm? Finding half a worm.
I'm glad Dmitri seems to get it, that consequences are consequences, and that's just how it will be for him from now on. It does dampen one's enthusiasm.

Posted by: cevans | April 19, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Lindeman--Frank Howard played first base for the Senators his last two seasons. Nuff said about First Base and fielding. It is about the bat if it were not, Young would not be here. My take on morality in sports if it does not affect the team, let otheer appointed authorities handle it. I was going to make a hockey reference, but one last baseball analogy, Ty Cobb was an anti-semetic, race-baiting, misogynistic SOB. Would I have someone like on the Nationals, you bet as long as his CURRENT and FUTURE beheavior passed current PC norms. Also, one last word (I promise)--Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford.
Barry, one hour to Game Time. How about a post on last night's WIN, state of the teams pyche, etc etc.

Posted by: Section 417 Row 8 Seat 9 | April 19, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Jenn, it matters because of the types of players typically at a given position, and the fact that there are only 8 (NL) hitters at any one time, so the power has to come from someplace. Center fielders, for instance, might be Willie Mays, but most are built for speed at the expense of power. Likewise 2nd basemen, tho shortstops are trending bigger these days. Ernie Banks-Cal Ripkin types used to be anomalies, but not so much anymore (e.g., Tejada, A-Rod). Catchers are there for defense first; if they hit their weight, that's a plus.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 19, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

First base, typically, is a big guy, for defensive reasons, who doesn't have to be fast, so such a player who can hit will tend to get tracked to playing first, sooner or later, to get him in the lineup. Like Young.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 19, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

So the answer is, because you only get 8//9 guys, and they all have to play both ways, and it's really hard to get 8 guys who are all really good, in the same place at the same time. If baseball were like football, with different players on offense and defense, this would be a VERY different game, esp. at the top levels.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 19, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

which is why the DH is an evil rule.

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 19, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the answers. So basically, big guys=good hitters but limited fielders, and first base is the position where they can do the least harm defensively due to their slowness?

Posted by: JennX | April 19, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Jenn, look at it from the other side: you have a guy like Young, who can hit. Where do you play him? If Nick were healthy, Dmitri would be pinch-hitting mostly, but under the circumstances, ...
Not all big guys are slow, or defensive liabilities, obviously, but the choice is not compared to ideal, it's compared to the alternative. Which is true in a lot of things, come to think of it.

Posted by: willie gandebol | April 19, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

That said, first base is critical, defensively, but defense there is mostly catching thrown balls, and so speed isn't a factor. On another team, Young might be in the outfield (like Barry Bonds, for instance).

Posted by: Willie Gandebol | April 19, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

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