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Pregame moves are in

The major development -- and I guessed wrong on this one -- is that reliever Ryan Wagner will go to the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right rotator cuff. We'll get to that in a second.

The other moves are all official: Josh Wilson designated for assignment, and assuming he clears waivers he'll end up at Columbus. Tony Batista and Jason Simontacchi had their contracts selected. The club had enough space on the 40-man roster to add Batista, Simontacchi and Abreu (earlier in the day when Cordero went on bereavement leave) without having to try to push anyone else through waivers.

Still waiting to talk to Acta, and that will happen in 20 minutes or so, but here's the fallout.

Wagner said he has been experiencing discomfort for a week-and-a-half or two weeks. "I was trying to be a hero and battle through it," he said. But after his outing Sunday in Chicago -- when he retired only one of four hitters he faced and ended up taking the loss in a difficult 4-3 setback to the Cubs in 10 innings -- he traveled to Milwaukee with the rest of the team. But after spending some time in his room, he called head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz and told him of the discomfort.

"I probably should have said something sooner," Wagner said.

He'll have an MRI in the coming days, and the concern, of course, is that he has some major damage in his shoulder. If it's just tendinitis, then he might just need the 15 days.

Tonight's lineup:

Lopez -- 4
Guzman -- 6
Zimmerman -- 5
Church -- 7
Kearns -- 9
Schneider -- 2
Fick -- 3
Logan -- 8
Simontacchi -- 1

Also, as I wrote a tad about the other day, the club changed its alcohol policy in the wake of the death of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock. Alcohol is being banned in the home and visiting clubhouses at RFK Stadium as well as in the visiting clubhouse when the Nationals are on the road. The club's policy for team flights remains the same -- beer and wine permitted on flights between cities on the road, but no alcohol on flights returning to D.C.

I'll see if I can get Stan Kasten on the phone later to explain the thinking behind this (which considering the Hancock tragedy is rather obvious).

That's the latest.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 8, 2007; 5:04 PM ET
 
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Next: End of the road

Comments

Just thinking ahead a bit here, but he better have a loophole in that policy for when we win the pennant, etc.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 8, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I dunno... this seems a bit like an overreaction to me. These guys are grown men, after all, and responsible for the consequences of their actions (though obviously the team has a big stake in them remaining alive... I do see that). Maybe I'm unaware of the extent of partying that goes on, but I don't think that one guy's mistake necessarily dictates such a sweeping crackdown.

Posted by: JennX | May 8, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

... I go to great personal lengths to avoid claiming the label of 'prude'. I understand completely the thinking behind this rash of decisions to ban alcohol from team dressing rooms. But it seems to me that it's a bit like cracking open a peanut with a sledge hammer. Sure it was a tragedy what happened to Hancock - no one I suspect would say otherwise. But these guys are men. They become adults when they become part of an MLB team, and they should be respected as adults; they should be allowed to prove they can make the right decisions in life.

... of course, this has nothing at all to do with adulthood or respect. It all comes down to the overriding ungodly fear of litigation which currently has the US of A is its devilish grip.

Posted by: david f watts | May 8, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Be interesting to see how long this rule lasts.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 8, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

And re: Wagner, at what point does a player "play through the hurt" and at what point does he stop? Should Church (and correct me if I'm wrong here), when he got hurt back in '05 and the clubhouse supposedly dissed him for not "playing through it," have taken himself out? How much of a player's performance should an injury be allowed to affect before that player asks for help?

Posted by: Juan-John | May 8, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

While a baseball team is hardly a "normal" employer, I don't think it is any different than any other business... The team has a huge investment in the players (though not all that huge, comparatively), and they need to protect it... so I think it is ubderstandable (though perhaps draconian) to assert control over the pieces you can do so reasonably.

The other thing that strikes me is, why is it that players are not reporting injuries that could affect their performance? A pitcher has soreness in his throwing arm... seems to me the trainers should know about that as soon as possible. That's not to say that they wouldn't or shouldn't have sent Wagner out there anyway, but how can you make an educated decision about who to play if you don't know if they are healthy enough to do so? How would the outcome be different if he hadn't been the hero, and tried to play through it?

That's the reason you have a training staff... to tend to the health of the players.

Posted by: Wigi | May 8, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Hour 2 since the Wagner Report was released. Barry, get on this! How could the Post ignore such a flagrant waste of season ticket holders' money?! We gave up quality players for this guy, and now he's "injured?" Your readers demand answers! Is this a sign of the upcoming complete failure of baseball in Washington for the third time, or simply a scathing indictment of Randy St. Claire and Manny Acta?

Posted by: Watergate was nothing compared to this | May 8, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I thought our bullpen was supposed to be our strength?

Posted by: Dorf | May 8, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"How much of a player's performance should an injury be allowed to affect before that player asks for help?"

... Juan-John has posed a very important question - for baseball, for all pro sports, in fact for much of life itself. What guidance do players, or any of us, get in order to make such decisions. If Patterson, or Cordero, or Church, or you or me 'stick it out' in spite of the pain (any kind)and trouble ensues, he is to blame for not coming to the team sooner so the right treatment can be made available; if he pulls himself out of contention in order to 'get right' - even for the benefit of the team, he is to blame for not having the balls to endure what so many others before has gone through.

... if it's going to be his (our) fault every time, the least thing the team can do is to provide prior direction and clarity of expectations.

Posted by: david f watts | May 8, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, you like the reports of when things go wrong on the home front, so MASN2 isn't working in Bethesda at the very least, but the O's game is coming through loud and clear....figures for a station that's headquaters is on West Camden street....

Posted by: Nats444 | May 8, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Wigi,

... by your reasoning, if I am hired to play baseball simply because of my physical abilities, then yes, I must be protected and I become simply a corporate asset. In such a situation I am expendable at the whim of management.

... but life is so much more complex than that. I am taken on for reasons much greater than physical talent. I am also expected to use my intellect in making quick and effective decisions, during the game and in the clubhouse. In that situation, a trade-off is in place. I will allow management to protect me as far as their expectations of my performance is concerned. But they will respect my humanity and my ability to make decisions about myself and how I live my life.

... it is the latter scenario which is under attack in cases of alcohol banning and mandatory drug testing. It is an insidious assault which seems to be going on unnoticed by the very people who are at risk.

... conspiracy? If you want to see it that way. But it's true.

Posted by: david f watts | May 8, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

David:

I don't say that I agree with it...

All I am saying is that employers everywhere are looking at their exposure, whether it is their legal exposure or other risk/financial exposure, and there are just so many things that can happen... and there might be certain contexts where the team wants to protect itself and its investment.

. . . and of course, there is the over-reaction.

Posted by: Wigi | May 8, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

It sure would be nice to get a win before the off day Thursday. No one wants to have to dwell on an 8 game losing streak for an extra day with no opportunity to go out on the field right away and do something about it.

Just a random question that popped into my head today - would this team's record be better or worse if Frank the Legend were managing?

I like Acta a lot, but would love to hear thoughts. It sure seems to me that the offensive (OPS) and defensive (ERA) stats, while bad, do not totally correspond to this kind of huge run disparity or record. I guess 2 stats jump out to explain the disparity - BA with RISP (which also encompasses most of the awful BA of pinch hitters), and errors.

Hopefully the defense will improve with Nook and Guz back, Church in left, Lopez at 2nd, and Langerhans as the 4th OF. It has to improve once NJ returns - I hold my breath on every throw to first right now. As with RISP, I'm hoping Boz is right - no team can be this far out of the historical statistical average for a full season. Though I think he made that argument about the number of Redskins defense forcing turnovers last year - and we see how well that went.

Anyway, anyone care to opine on Mr. Robinson being worth a couple more wins right now?

Posted by: GP | May 9, 2007 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Of course the new alcohol policy is an "overreaction." That's often the way these things work, especially after the shock of something like what happened with Hancock.

To be sure, the ban looks extreme on the surface. Then again, many athletes' behavior tends to extremes; who, after all, is to rein them in?

The world didn't end when fans had to start living with two-drink maximums, no booze sales after the seventh inning, and no smoking in the seating bowl. I kind of doubt that clubhouse morale will collapse for want of post-game beers, but I guess we'll see.

Posted by: Hendo | May 9, 2007 6:40 AM | Report abuse

GP: Frank knows his baseball, all right. But you have to admit he's also been a lightning rod, who for whatever reasons -- whose substance, not to mention fairness, we may never know -- always has had some number of detractors in the clubhouse.

I have to confess that, especially when the pitchers have got out there and proceeded to immediately fall behind in the counts, I've wondered what Frank might have done differently. (Would he have stuck with Speigner long enough to let him walk in three runs?)

Would Frank's overall strategy or tactics have translated into more -- or, heaven help us, fewer -- wins? I just don't know. But in any event I think it's been right to give Manny a chance to demonstrate how well he can manage a team that is just missing a lot of parts right now. So far, the distressing W-L totals notwithstanding, I have to say that on balance I'm pleased.

Posted by: Hendo | May 9, 2007 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Manny will be fine -- unless he's made a scapegoat for the 100+ losses created by the unforgivable $36 million payroll. (Don't bet against it -- management will need scapegoats after, if not during, the season. Jim Bowden, polish up that resume.)

Meanwhile, it's Day 7 -- seven days after Ken Rosenthal's expose of Nats mismanagement at FoxSports.com, The Washington Post has still not covered the issues outlined in the article:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6761858

Posted by: swanni | May 9, 2007 7:04 AM | Report abuse

GP: Manny fits into the Stan the Plan mold much better than Frank because he was willing to work for less $$$ than any other manager in the league. Of course Frank would not have made a huge difference with our minor league roster, but I'm sure he would have willed the team to double digit wins by now.

Swanni: Give it a break. Anyone can look at the standing and tell that the Nats are a mess of an organization. The nit-picky Fox article was a lot of words without much substance.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 9, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Nats 444--yeah, what's going on with MASN2 in Bethesda? Our games seem to be frequently preempted for Bravo. rotten deal!

Posted by: Section 406 | May 9, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Swanni... shut up you dont know what youre talking about

Posted by: Nats fan Down Under | May 9, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Hi GP,

... on Frank Robinson, I will offer this. Frank R. was a great ballplayer. He was an adequate MLB lackey. I say 'lackey' because if he'd had any kind of respect there, he would never have been put (not asked to go) in the role of Expos manager. Of course his colour didn't exactly help in that regard.

... but as a field manager, he had one problem, IMHO. He was woefully out-of-date when it came to understanding the kind of people who play the game today. I can't give any specifics - didn't remember anything that well - but my overall impression was that he expected the players to act, respond, behave in the same way he did as a player back in the fifties and sixties. Being in the league's front office while his competing managers worked their way up through the minors did nothing to keep him aware of how young people changed over that time; rather it helped to protect him from such awareness. When he got to Montreal, he was embraced as the great player he was, but many of the guys playing for him weren't even born when he played. There was simply a generation gap and no one ever found an effective way to bridge it.

Posted by: david f watts | May 9, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Nats fan down under,
What makes you the resident genius?

Posted by: swanni | May 9, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

But seriously folks, I think you all may be right. Despite what Barry said, it appears the Post will not cover the behind the scenes issues exposed in the Rosenthal Report. They have had plenty of time to cover this story -- before the Rosenthal article was published -- and after.

The silence is deafening -- but speaks volumes about the Post's priorities.

For that reason, I will give up the fight.

The congratulations line forms to the left.

Posted by: swanni | May 9, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Re. the alcohol ban, aside from the previously mentioned investment protection and litigation issues, maybe they are trying to, gee, I don't know, save some lives?? Not only those of any employees who choose to drink and drive but also those of any innocent bystanders whose lives might be taken in an accident. I don't find the ban unreasonable. It *is* a workplace after all, and, as Manny noted in the print edition, he doesn't come to the ballpark to drink.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 9, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Why is the Post getting scooped by the NY Times on the steroid issues in Baltimore? The Os are being referred to as "the poster team" for steroids.

www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/sports/baseball/09steroids.html

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 9, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Swanni: congratulations.


Now for a little of that deafening silence!

Posted by: i hatte walks | May 9, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I didn't write this so I feel comfortable pimping it - it's a good look at the kind of decision teams like the Cards and Nats face in the wake of the Hancock accident

http://cmdr-scott.blogspot.com/2007/05/cardinals-lesson-in-finding-right.html

Posted by: CoNATStant Lurker | May 9, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Line from last nights game in KC:

C. Snelling, CF 4 1 2 0 2 1 1 .400 .526 .400

What did Billy Beane know that the Nats didn't?

Posted by: Dancer | May 9, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Evidently you didn't read today's Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/09/AR2007050900391.html

---

Why is the Post getting scooped by the NY Times on the steroid issues in Baltimore? The Os are being referred to as "the poster team" for steroids.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 9, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The article you linked was distributed by AP, not written by a Post staff writer. The Post did have an item in their AL Notes this morning, but there is not nearly the depth of information as contained in the NY Times. If the Post is going to bother assigning a beat writer to cover the Os, they should be expected to be the leading source news from Balcomore.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | May 9, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

My bad. I included the AP link rather than the AL Notes link.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 9, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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