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Another pitcher down

So Jerome Williams is the next pitcher headed (back) to the disabled list, what with his shoulder problem last night. The Nationals opened the season with a rotation of John Patterson, Shawn Hill, Matt Chico, Williams and Jason Bergmann. They now have a rotation of Chico, Bergmann, Jason Simontacchi (who would have been in the initial rotation if not for his strained groin from spring training) and Levale Speigner, with a spot open.

The Nationals don't have an off day until May 28, so they'll need someone for Williams's spot on Sunday against the Orioles and then again on May 25 in St. Louis. Tim Redding would be the pitcher at Class AAA Columbus whose turn would fall on those days, but he got shellacked again last night (4-2/3 innings, six runs, five walks) and his ERA is an unsightly 7.14, so he wasn't an option. Joel Hanrahan is the guy the front office figured would be up here at some point, but he has a groin problem. GM Jim Bowden expects him back soon, but even if he's 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA, do you want a career minor leaguer coming off the disabled list and being thrown right into the majors? Doubtful.

I'll throw this out there, and check on it later, but please hold onto your hats: Sidney Ponson? Released by the Twins. A scary thought, to be sure, but we'll see how desperate the team seems to be.

Billy Traber? He has made 10 appearances for Columbus with a 2.60 ERA, but has only two starts. He gave up five runs in his last outing, May 12. The best thing: just four walks in 27-2/3 innings. He's been here before. We'll see.

UPDATE: I'm now hearing that Traber will be the choice. It makes sense, too, because as I said before, Traber has pitched in a starting role for this team before. Here is Traber's info with Columbus this year, and here is his major league record, period, and here's everything you need to know about him. (UPDATE II: The Nationals just upstaged my "scoop" and announced the move.)

To create a spot on the 40-man roster for Traber, the Nationals moved Nick Johnson from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Before you freak out, this won't affect when Johnson can return. Guys on the 15-day DL count against the 40-man; guys on the 60-day don't. Since Johnson was placed on the DL at the beginning of the season, his 60 days start then, meaning they're up around June 1, and he's not going to be back before then anyway.

Programming notes: As mentioned before, I'll be on "Washington Post Live" tonight at 5 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet. I still believe that Elisabeth Shue is supposed to be on, though she's not listed on the Web site. Her new movie is "Gracie," based on the Shue family's experiences with death and soccer growing up. Her brother Andrew Shue, of "Melrose Place" and Dartmouth soccer fame, may also join us. (Did you know: My mother and step-father live in Hanover, N.H., home to Dartmouth? Did you also know that Post staff writer and Georgetown beat person Camille Powell played soccer at Dartmouth? Don't know if she knows Andrew Shue, who would've been before her time.)

More important is the fact that I have a chat at 1 p.m. today. Also, Steinberg was at yesterday's game and from his report it appears perhaps Dmitri Young will fill Williams's rotation spot.

I'll see what I can get about who would fill the rotation spot prior to the chat. But please join me there.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 16, 2007; 10:27 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What to make of Jason Bergmann
Next: What a relief (lineups added edition)


The spectacle of El Sid pitching against the O's is too much to pass up. Do it!

Posted by: mrm0to | May 16, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Plea: If the Nats have a guy, any guy at all, that can catch Young's knuckler, for crying out loud get the two of them down to the bullpen right now!

Question: If Young has a curveball, could we say that it is the Meat Hook?

Posted by: Hendo | May 16, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

St. Barry -

I noticed in the notes in the esteemed $.35 edition that Joe Mays optioned out of his minor league deal with the Dodgers. Any chance we go after him? I assume he optioned out since he saw no chance of getting to the majors in Dodger Blue, that would not be a problem here. Had some good years in Minny in the somewhat recent past. Might be worth asking Cap'n Leatherpants if he has any interest when the next starter goes down or if Traber does not have the goods (distinct possibility).

Posted by: WebberDC | May 16, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Note to Barry:
"As I mentioned yesterday, I'm "off." Back in my chair on Thursday afternoon for the Braves finale, then all weekend with the O's."

Seems like you don't have a clear grasp of the "off" concept. Glad you showed up tho'.

Posted by: Dancer13 | May 16, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

So Snelling for Langerhans revisited: Snelling sitting out with a bruised knee and possibly headed to the DL; Langerhans starting most of the time and playing outstanding defense. The prospects of a LangerLogan (I seriously recommend adopting this name as it rolls off the tongue -- just say it 3 times in a row, its very catchy) platoon will not net a high average or even OBP, but will seriously reduce the opposition's OBP and add significantly to the standing ovation opportunities at the park. Even my wife is still talking about LangerLogan's catch last Friday night in leftfield (neither bird, nor plane, nor even frog .... just little old LangerLogan (underdog)).

Posted by: NatBisquit | May 16, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hi Barry,

Sorry I just missed the chat. A couple of thoughts from last night's game.
First, Bobby Cox was active on the field with the umps and it seem to make a difference. He complained about an out call at first in the first inning and the next call went his way (and gave him a run when Renteria hit a homer). Second he complained about Williams lifting his foot off the rubber and it might have rattled him (certainly didn't help). I saw no response or questions to the umps by Acta. Was Acta one upped?

Second, Lopez seemed in a funk. He almost got hit by Schneider's throw to second after the last warm up pitch in the first. He swung at the first pitch as a lead off hitter in the first (come on, take one or two). And he miss played two catchable popups in shallow right field (Kearns also involved). Anything up there?


Posted by: Arlington, VA | May 16, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Looks like it's starting to get a lil' damp outside...

Any bets on the length of the postponement...? :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | May 16, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The sun is shining again already here in Silver Spring. Dare I guess that tonight's contest will get started on time and remain delay-free?

WTOP says more showers are on the way "later," providing dramatic tension.

Posted by: Hendo | May 16, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse


I saw the same things as the prior post in Lopez last night. Add to that the amazing brain freeze on Sunday when Zim went to second for the easy 3rd out and he was nowhere to be found a second, makes me wonder what is going on with his head. He seems to be one to watch as a head case who may really hate the PLAN of losing. He seems very down all the time. Never smiles and rarely gets on base. Are they connected?

What do you see?

Posted by: JayB | May 16, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Nice job on WPL! Didn't get to see Elisabeth Shue, but that BaltSun reporter was cute!

Posted by: Juan-John | May 16, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

... in regards to the state of Felipe, he's not in the lineup tonight. Could it be he's just tired and needs some rest? I hope that's all it is. He's been one of the steadiest Nats all season IMHO.

Posted by: david f watts | May 16, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Fourth inning showed what a difference our platoon at first makes versus having a regular first baseman. Fick lets an inning-ender go through and in the bottom half Thorman gets two good plays at the bag to take away a double and save a Chipper throw...

I like the LangerLogan moniker! That could stick! Personally I like "LoganLanger" better, but I think having Nook come off the bench provides some opportunities like Monday night's triple or a strategic pinch runner, which is an example of greater depth.

Looks like we got Billy the Kid back on the mound. I'm bettin' Cordero gets a little more work in this one to get back on the horse...

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | May 16, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Fourth inning showed what a difference our platoon at first makes versus having a regular first baseman. Fick lets an inning-ender go through and in the bottom half Thorman gets two good plays at the bag to take away a double and save a Chipper throw...

I like the LangerLogan moniker! That could stick! Personally I like "LoganLanger" better, but I think having Nook come off the bench provides some opportunities like Monday night's triple or a strategic pinch runner, which is an example of greater depth.

Looks like we got Billy the Kid back on the mound. I'm bettin' Cordero gets a little more work in this one to get back on the horse...

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | May 16, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

... what a pitching staff we have. Tremendous work from the starters and a pen that just doesn't quit. Obviously they didn't get the memo about 'The Plan' - the decision to be a bad team this year.

... and please: somebody find St. Claire and buy him a beer for me. If he doesn't come in for some kind of recognition this year, then the universe is clearly out of alignment.

... but it's not all pitching. Manny did a masterful job using the players at his disposal tonight. And the guys themselves did it on the field - six runs on five hits - small ball at its best.

... on top of everything else: It's A Win.

Posted by: david f watts | May 16, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Heck, St. Clair deserves a SIX PACK!

Dang, that was a nice, suhWEET game... :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | May 16, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Great job by the 'pen!

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 16, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it nice to take advantage of an error by another team. The Nats have been victimized so often by this, it was about time it turned in their favor for once. Then the pen came on and did an outstanding job closing the lid and putting a curly W in the books. Well done, indeed, well done. STAY HOT

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 16, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Watts: If you make it to DC I'll buy you and Randy both a beer. (Heck, a round for the whole blog.) BTW did you get the snow they called for?

natsfan1a: The pen ERAs are looking mighty sweet indeed. And Manny and Randy mixed 'em nicely tonight to help them keep the pressure on the Braves.

SC Nats Fan: Note that we exploited a number of errors by the Marlins too, both the kind that count and the kind that don't, to sweep that series. Taking advantage of the opponents' weaknesses is at least half the game IMO.

Awesome game! Oh you Nats!

Posted by: Hendo | May 17, 2007 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Peripheral notes of doubtful relevance:

1. The D6 bus from Union Station cannot be counted on during rush hour. I finally gave up and took the Cook's tour of Capital Hill on the 96, arriving in my seat just in time for the first pitch. D6 after the game works fine.

2. Still had time to grab a half smoke (YEA!) at Dominic's. Best sausage in the park.

3. My heart did a giddy jump when Young pinch-hit in the bottom of the sixth. Alas, he was not left in to pitch, confirming my fear that no one on this team can catch his knuckleball. Pity.

4. When Guzman led off, I responded with an erudite-looking nod instead of my practiced twitch from '05. I blush in shame for having been such a front-runner.

5. Folks, the guys are getting all this done without Nick and Patty. Discuss.

See you at RFK tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by: Hendo | May 17, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Nevermind "Leaving Las Vegas." Elisabeth Shue is "Adventures in Babysitting."

Posted by: Section 214, Row 10 | May 17, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Nevermind "Leaving Las Vegas." Elisabeth Shue is "Adventures in Babysitting."

Posted by: Section 214, Row 10 | May 17, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Day game! How sweet is it when you can scoot out of work at lunch to go grab the game?! Hopefully Chico pulls out some more of that magic he's totally capable of. Let's win the series!

Posted by: G-town | May 17, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

You guys will have to do it yourselves at the "businessperson's special" today. The piles on my desk are holding me down (but I'll be listening on the radio).

dang ... and I had good seats, too.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 17, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Hi Hendo,

... we got snow - not the 15 cms. (6 inches) called for, but an inch and a half on my car this morning. All wet and slushy, but by 9 o'clock it had all but disappeared. Spring in the maritimes is like winter everywhere else. (Check with Google earth to see where I live.)

... absolutely marvellous game last night. Don't nobody pinch me; if this is a dream, I don't want to wake up. I'm a real and honest believer in the way manny works this team. I believe in his always positive, always cool approach. I just wish I could run my own life that way, but that's a different story.

... if I ever get to DC, first thing I'll do is go to the new Nats stadium a couple of hours early and start asking everyone I see if they know "Hendo" and where can I find him. BTW anyone heard anything about naming rights for the beast yet?

... have yet to read the game stories; does anyone know the situation with Lopez? Was he simply given a day off? Or should we be concerned?

Posted by: david f watts | May 17, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

... oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention. Day game today, and it's being carried by TBS - the most ubiquitous TV station in the world. So I've got my VCR all primed and ready, but won't get to watch the game until this evening. So I won't be checking in with you guys until after I know the outcome.

... good on all of you who are lucky enough to head out to RFK in real time this afternoon. Go Nats! and have a sausage for me.

Posted by: david f watts | May 17, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Since Church, Christian, and the Two Jesuses are doing so well, they might consider getting:
Juan Cruz, AZ
Angel Pagan, Angel Guzman, Cubs
Matt DeSalvo, NYY
Juan Encarnacion, StL
C(ody) Ross, Fla.

and maybe Don Novello can come back for some promos? http:// (and then)

Posted by: Wille Gandabol | May 17, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

... one more thing and then I've really got to get back to work. One of my favourite sports writers is an ex-pat Yank now writing for the Montreal Gazette. Jack Todd is pretty acerbic at times and has no use for the tom-foolery that goes for sports hype these days. (You ought to give him a read or two before passing him off - As he reported this a.m., this year's MLB season may be the saddest in history because this will be the year that hammerin' Hank is eclipsed by Balco Bonds.

... and you know, that got me to thinking. If I were a fan of a mere middle-of-the-pack team this year, I might be tempted to give more attention to that negative story than I should. But glory of glories, I have the Washington Nationals who put out an honest effort every day worthy of my attention. A team who, no matter how it finishes the year, has already shown me a multitude of reasons to stick with it, thru' thick and thin, until the final weekend in September.

... and Bonds, and all the baseball writers who are addicted to him, can waste their year in total frustration, trying to make his personal saga something of value to the honest fan.

Posted by: david f watts | May 17, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

He did some for the Giants in the late 70s, early 80s, thereabouts.

Posted by: Wille Gandabol | May 17, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Watts: When I'm not gallivanting around the globe on business, I usually occupy Section 428, Row 1, Seat 9, a row I'm privileged to share with some of the smartest fans in baseball -- even the guy to my right in the Mets cap -- and whence I get to dispense friendly, helpful advice to Manny and Randy and to the opposing batters, particularly when they are called out on strikes.

Re Lopez: Per Manny, elsewhere in this family newspaper, Lopez had been "thinking a little too much at the plate." Manny also stated after the game that Speigner threw "maybe way too many" strikes -- words I never figured to hear from a Nats skipper, certainly not the preceding one.

Re naming rights, there was a story in the Post in late November (, but I haven't heard anything since then.

Posted by: Hendo | May 17, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

In the spirit of ecumenism, we should also consider Abraham Nunez and Jake Peavy -- no current Isaacs around as far as I can tell; Ike Hampton seems to have been the most recent.

Nor, as far as I know, any Mohammeds yet, or variants thereon, but in our diverse world that will be but a matter of time.

There have been many players who have sported Buddha-esque girth.

And "Mahatma," of course, was Branch Rickey, who was a catcher like Jesus Flores, which I guess gets us back where we started.

Posted by: Hendo | May 17, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

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