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Guzman likely out for year

I'm going to get this on the Web site, but figured you guys might want it first:

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
ATLANTA - Washington Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman, enjoying a renaissance year after two years of injuries and poor performance, is likely out for the remainder of the season after he injured his left thumb in Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Manager Manny Acta said this afternoon here that Guzman underwent surgery to repair ligaments in his thumb this afternoon, and that "there is a chance" he might come back later this season, but several club officials believe that's unlikely.
The news on injured right-hander Shawn Hill was much better. Hill saw renowned orthopedist James Andrews today in Birmingham, Ala., and Andrews said Hill's balky right elbow - already surgically repaired once - is structurally sound. He needs no further surgery and can begin throwing again in 10 days.
Guzman, who was hitting .329 in 43 games after missing five weeks with a hamstring strain, injured the thumb while putting a tag on Cleveland's Josh Barfield in the fifth inning. He remained in the game.
"He came in and right away was showing me his thumb, and it didn't look right," Acta said. "I asked him. I was going to take him out of the game, and he refused. He said, 'No, no no. I can play. I'm fine. It doesn't hurt.'"
That, it appears, was an indication of how badly Guzman wanted to put his past in Washington behind him. He signed a four-year, $16.8-million deal with the Nationals after the 2004 season, and when he hit .219 in 2005, the contract was widely lampooned as one of the worst signings in the offseason. It didn't get much better in 2006, which he missed entirely following shoulder surgery.
Guzman's play this season, however, was almost completely different. He had six triples and had earned the top spot in the Nationals' batting order, a position that would have seemed unthinkable two summers ago. Acta said Guzman initially tried to talk club officials out of having the surgery.
"He was torn and emotionally destroyed, basically, because he had two rough seasons over here and finally he's playing great and being a big part of this team," Acta said. "That was the first thing out of his mouth. He said, 'I want to play through this. I don't want to go any more time on the DL.' We had to convince him, 'It's not about you being able to play. You're not going to be able to play."
The ligament damage allowed Guzman's left thumb to bend almost completely down to his wrist. He is under contract through 2008.
Felipe Lopez, who was acquired in a trade last summer and moved from shortstop to second base to accommodate Guzman's return this spring, will now move back to shortstop, Acta said. Ronnie Belliard will be the regular second baseman.

By Barry Svrluga  |  June 25, 2007; 5:11 PM ET
 
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Next: Two intriguing situations (with lineups added)

Comments

Posted on the other thread a couple minutes ago, but now that it's been confirmed by trusty Barry, my only response is:

Double CRAP! :-(

Heart goes out to Guzman. Let's hope he heals faster than Johnson.

Posted by: Juan-John | June 25, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Cristian-

You won us back, man. This injury is not on you. Get better, and have the year in 2008 you seemed destined to have this year.

Felipe- Step up.
D'Angelo- Man up.
Ronnie- You deserve a chance. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Kevin | June 25, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Get well soon Guz!!!

Posted by: derek | June 25, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Geez, that stinks! I really feel for Guz. Get healed and come back stronger than ever, Guz. We'll miss you!!

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Frick!

Let's be thankful for Shawn Hill's good news, or this would be a "double frick!"

Guzzie, thanks for your effort this season. Get well soon. I'm not going to cry...

Posted by: BrianH | June 25, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Guz - All those boos coming from Section 222 two years ago -- I was wrong -- dead wrong. You won me over this year with your hustle and heart. Your thumb is doing back flips and you want to play! You've done enough. Get better and get back for 2008.

Posted by: NatsfaninKC | June 25, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, don't forget Ryan Z - Be consistent and never go below .250 again.

Posted by: BrianH | June 25, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Also, thanks, Barry for the info, even if you are the bearer of bad news on Guz.

At least there is encouraging news on Hill. A surgeon once told me in the context of treatment decisions that when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I'm always a bit skeptical when a player visits a surgeon and comes away with an appt. to go under the knife. Good to know that particular fate is not on the horizon for Hill.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Guz, I was saying "Guz," not "boo" back in the day. Not all of us were booing then.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

If this team ends up anywhere in sniffing distance of 70 wins despite the injuries, Acta and Bowden will deserve some special award.

I was a fan of the Guz on the Twin Cities and knew he would bounce back. Hopefully 2008 will see a healthy and productive year.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

Are Rauch and Cordero unavailable to pitch tonight?

Posted by: BrianH | June 25, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Manny for Manager of the Year!

---

If this team ends up anywhere in sniffing distance of 70 wins despite the injuries, Acta and Bowden will deserve some special award.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 25, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Barry. Thanks for putting us at the head of the line...

Last Friday, re Guzman, Hendo bellyached: "He has had feet of stone at SS at least since he arrived at RFK. . . . The Campaign to Vindicate Guzie's Leather is hoeing a hard row."

And then came arguably The Play Of The Year on Sunday. And just when I was ready to call the first CTVGL chapter meeting at the Hawk, down Guzie goes. Damn.

Guz, don't know what to say, man, other than heal up well and whole and know that you're in our thoughts.

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Very relieved about Hill, was worried. Crushing news about Guzzie. Love that he wanted to play through it. Please let him know how much we will miss seeing him finish this year. Can't wait to see him take the field at the new park next April.

Posted by: mlwagnercpa | June 25, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Horrendous news; but thanks for thinking of us first, Mr. S.

We were finally getting to see the kind of player Guzman really was, and now we have to wait until 2008 to see it again.

Posted by: Section 502 | June 25, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, I dont even HAVE that ligament...

Here is a letter I wrote to Da Guz

Guzzy you can play through it (Well maybe not, but Im sort of glad you wanted to). Oh well, it makes me sad. I never thought Id say this about you but; you will be missed and your bat will not be able to be replaced in the order.

Guzzyman, if we dont see you again until 2008, so be it, but come back as soon as you can. Get healthy, and I will never forget how far you have come. You will be remembered in DC forever. We all appreciate what you have done here in 2007. You have been a joy to watch...especially you hustling out those triples. My word!

Love,
Andrew S.

Posted by: Andrew S. | June 25, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Man, that really sucks... another injury.

Posted by: Jason | June 25, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Guz..we hardly knew ye. Your first year a disaster, 2nd injury, 3rd started bad, but what you showed in hustle & heart this season, trumped all that. Get back when u r healthy. You will be missed, but not forgotten.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 25, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Nice pregame interview with Manny on 1500. The man is solid. We are blessed.

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

this stinks. Guz, you will be missed.

Posted by: i hate walks | June 25, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

... everyone else has expressed my thoughts about this disatrous development. But let me ask you all: is it just me, or does anyone else think that there are just far and away too many injuries occurring these days, compared to a decade or so ago? And if so, why is that - poor equipment? bad training or physical condition? or something else, something like more more finely honed and developed abilities now played on the same field as seventy five years ago.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | June 25, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Natscan wonders: "does anyone else think that there are just far and away too many injuries occurring these days, compared to a decade or so ago? . . . [is it] something like more more finely honed and developed abilities now played on the same field as seventy five years ago."

My brief take: More players, better built, playing smarter and harder.

Your point about the field not having changed is interesting. Not sure how much difference that makes in baseball, though I'll be thinking about it. (Actually the factor of field size is something I noticed in hockey years ago, one reason I enjoy the Olympic game maybe just a wee bit more than the NHL. Even if you could legislate a league-wide rule change, God only knows how you'd be able to widen the skating area in existing arenas.)

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Can we get rid of Traber already? He stinks.

Being left-handed should not guarantee you a spot on a major league roster.

Posted by: BrianH | June 25, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

You guys already said it all, but man o man this is heartbreaking about Guzzie. I thought it was just a jammed finger, couple weeks out tops. I'm so sorry Guzzie. Thanks for your heart. Get better and get back. We'll wait for you.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the taste of things to come, Guzzie. You deserve to lead off the bottom of the 1st in the new park next year. Hang in there.

Ronnie Belliard's value continues to climb. I think he is part of the future. Every team needs an all-around guy like that.

Posted by: Vandy | June 25, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

BrianH, I didn't actually shed any tears tonight. It was close, though. Might still be.

Tough outing for Traber. I still wanna see more of him.

I still smile, although wryly now, about Guzie's performances on Sunday.

Nattily-battily
Cristian Guzman has
Amply atoned for his
Once-adjudged sins;

Authoritatively,
Guzie has translated
Yeoman-like work into
Nationals WINS!

We love ya, Guz. Get well soon.

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

... thanx Hendo. I merely posed the question about the field. (Wasn't even thinking hockey, but of course, there's a real issue with the size of the playing surface there.)

... but I simply wonder how could a guy injure himself just by applying a tag on a steal attempt that puts him out for half a season. It boggles my mind, but it makes me wonder if such things (or other injuries like the two that laid Hill low) happened with today's regularity in years past. And if not, why not? What was different?

... you mentioned "More players, better built, playing smarter and harder.", but I'm not sure I get your point. Are you saying that's why it is happening, or why it ought not to be happening?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | June 25, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Bad news about Guzzie, good news for Hill. Barry, you will let us know when there is ANY news about Patterson, won't you? I am more concerned about him at this point than anyone else. Thanks.

Posted by: gilsfan | June 25, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have any stats for the damage that McCann has done all by himself against the Nats? I feel like it's far more than the rest of the team.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | June 25, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Guuuuuuzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thank you Guzman for some great hightlights this year. Hope to see you in September. The man ought to be proud. He never gave up, he is an excellent baserunner. I think he will be a great fit in the new park. Some of those line drives will find the wall next year.

I hope this means we keep Beliard. One less A Ball prospect, but now we need him.

Posted by: NatBisquit | June 25, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Natscan wonders: "does anyone else think that there are just far and away too many injuries occurring these days, compared to a decade or so ago? . . . [is it] something like more more finely honed and developed abilities now played on the same field as seventy five years ago."

\Hendo's/ brief take: More players, better built, playing smarter and harder.
****************
Well, that, and the fact that they're peeing into a cup now. Not that I'm cynical, but faster healing is the main advantage, not muscle mass.


Posted by: Anonymous | June 25, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Natscan inquires, re the injury epidemic: "you mentioned 'More players, better built, playing smarter and harder.', but I'm not sure I get your point. Are you saying that's why it is happening, or why it ought not to be happening?"

From my admittedly subjective viewpoint, that's why it *is* happening. Players are getting into better shape (not just due to chemical enhancements). They're pitching better, hitting smarter, and fielding -- well, maybe or maybe not more aggressively, but certainly more directedly. Collisions on the base paths, as well as arguably freakish injuries such as what happened to Guzman, are almost bound to follow.

Too bad Guzie had to be the victim this time. But let's hope some home-grown doctoring (note that he had the surgery right here at Sibley) and rest can help get him fit and ready for the '08 campaign.

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

you really proved yourself and lived up to your potential, guz. it's heartbreaking to see you go.

Posted by: gretchen | June 25, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

This is just getting weird:
"A few days after being taken off the seven-day disabled list, Class A Potomac outfielder Justin Maxwell has a new problem. He strained his right abdominal muscle after sneezing" (From the official Nationals website)

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Fick comes back tomorrow, who goes down? Jimenez?

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut asks: "Fick comes back tomorrow, who goes down? Jimenez?"

Batista, I hope. Not to hate on ya, Tony, but I've seen enough.

Posted by: Hendo | June 25, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I dont know why we want Fick back. I mean, I feel for him for his loss, but almost anyone else can do what hes done so far. My guesses to go down though, are Logan (I hope) or Jimenez(I dont hope...they need a versatile infielder because of Belliar playing fulltime now)

AZS

Posted by: Andrew S. | June 26, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Of course the Nationals will miss Guzman, though a double-play combination of Lopez -Belliard is as good offensively - perhaps better - than Lopez Guzman.

The only bright spot, if there is one, is that Guzman will end the year with very impressive numbers, numbers that wouldn't have remained so impressive had he played all year.

That said, I do feel very bad for the guy; he deserved this kind of a year.

Posted by: Farid Rushdi | June 26, 2007 1:09 AM | Report abuse

... off to work, but first, I feel that I didn't express myself well enough the first time on the Guzman front. Like all of you, I too feel "this just out and out sucks rocks out loud."

... but have you ever known another "horribly bad team" that keeps coming back as much as beloved Nats?

Go Nats!

Posted by: natscan reduxit | June 26, 2007 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Just another voice giving a SHOUT OUT to Guz...he will be missed...and hope for a speedy recovery.

GO NATS!

Posted by: pk | June 26, 2007 7:16 AM | Report abuse

"I dont know why we want Fick back. I mean, I feel for him for his loss, but almost anyone else can do what hes done so far."

Yeah, sure he's yet another lefty off the bench, but we want Fick because he is a solid vet in the clubhouse/dugout and plays C, 1B, 3B, OF. I say send Nook down to AAA and let him work on his game...and maybe even his switch hitting.

Posted by: DE | June 26, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I agree Fick hasn't shown us much this year, but I think the issue with his mother might have been affecting him. Remember how much better Cordero was after bereavement leave than before. No guarantees of course, but might be worth finding out first.

Posted by: Fick's abilities | June 26, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Now, I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure there is a theraputic place for steroids. ("Helps you heal faster" is what I always hear) Perhaps an anti-doping rules/enforcement structure could make exceptions for injury -- a little HGH or something-creepy-ozone might get NJ back in the field a few weeks earlier..?

Just a thought.

Posted by: section 406 | June 26, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Who says there's no crying in baseball? I'd seen it here first, but re-reading it with my morning cuppa was what did it for me. Think I'm gonna send Guze a get well card c/o the Nats...

---

BrainH said: Guzzie, thanks for your effort this season. Get well soon. I'm not going to cry...
and Hendo replied: BrianH, I didn't actually shed any tears tonight. It was close, though. Might still be.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 26, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Natscan,

I was thinking about the injury thing this weekend (as a Nats fan, how can you not be thinking about injuries?), and I remembered when the Capitals led the NHL in man games lost. They fired their trainer at the end of the season.

Not that you can blame the trainer for Hill injuring his shoulder diving back to third base or Colome's butt abcess. It seems the injuries this year have just been bad luck.

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 26, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a,

I was saying "Guz," too.

I guess my wife and I have to put the Guz Crew back on the DL. Again.

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 26, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Hi John in Mpls et al,

... I was reading thru' the morning's gamers from Barry (and others, I confess) and had an image of a TV series - 13 weeks - based on the adventures on the field, in the boardroom, and especially in the first aid room cum hospital. It would be one of those multi-character, multiple continuing story lines kind of thing, in which some themes involve on-field team success; some involve owner/president types putting a team together with all its facets; some involve guys starting or ending careers; etc.

... obviously it would have to be another medical show, but with a sports twist.

... anyone out there who dabbles in screenwriting, who might be able to flesh out the idea a bit more?

Posted by: natscan reduxit | June 26, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Add me to the list bemoaning the loss of Guzman. Watching him leg out those triples was a joy. Will really miss him out there.

Earlier request for McCann's numbers against the Nats. Last year he killed us. This year he hadn't done much until last night:

2007:
5-28 (.179)
two doubles
one homer, 4 rbi (all last night)
.294 OBP; .357 SLG; .651 OPS

2006:
18-49 (.367)
6 doubles
3 homers, 11 rbi
.415 OBP; .673 SLG; 1.088 OPS

As for what to do when Fick returns, I don't know. I'd like to think that Fick will bounce back a little from bereavement leave (a la Cordero), but it's not like he's the power hitter/on-base guy we need. If he stays on the roster, I'd like to see a lefty go down. This team has WAY too many mediocre left-handed batters coming off the bench. This absolutely kills us in the late innings (especially know that Belliard will be playing every day - that's one less righty to pinch-hit).

Posted by: e | June 26, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

John in Mpls: if nothing else, we can do it one more time this year when all the players take the field for goodbyes at the last RFK game. I'm thinking we'll have some others shouting it with us this time ;)

---

I was saying "Guz," too.

I guess my wife and I have to put the Guz Crew back on the DL. Again.

Posted by: natsfan1a | June 26, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Natscan,

ESPN tried something like this with their show "Playmakers," which they cancelled under pressure from the NFL.

That being said, I think your idea is much more compelling. I can see it being like ER or West Wing - somewhat chaotic, following multiple story lines at once.

I'd like it if the show really focused on the front office side of things. Playmakers spent too much time making all the players seem like thugs, and that grew tiresome very quickly.

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 26, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

this is the DL version of the golf tshirt:
"I hate this game. I hate this game.
-Nice shot!- I LOVE THIS GAME!
I hate this game ..."

He's a bum. He's a bum.
-base hit- I LOVE THIS GUY.
He's a bum...

Posted by: cevans | June 26, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Natscan, that was Bay City Blues, Stephen Bochko's MiLB version of Hill Street Blues. Tanked in one season.

Posted by: CEvansJr | June 26, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I hate to be the guy who always brings up the "what's going to happen when we trade..." question, but if Guzman is out all year, who's going to play second in the likely event we trade Belliard?

Jimenez? Castro? Abernathy? (Switch-hitting) Uncle Slam?

(http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/fans/page.jsp?ymd=20070125&content_id=163396&vkey=fans_t436&fext=.jsp&sid=t436)

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 26, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Can feel the pain all the way over here,get well soon Guz!

Posted by: %62 intheUK | June 26, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

In 1976 there was an attempt to adapt Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" to a TV series. I don't think it lasted a month.

If the producers of "Scrubs" wanted to try to wrap the idea around an MLB front office, I'm sure it'd be a hoot. I'm also sure Park Avenue would pitch a hissy, and that would be the end of that.

Posted by: Hendo | June 26, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Too funny cevans! It could be the motto for this whole blog (well. at least the commenters' version, not Barry's of course).
Speaking of which. Poor Barry. Not only does he have to be ten places at once- writing gamers, the notebook, blog and doing the podcasts, etc.- but he has to be quick about it too. We're always trying to scoop him one way or another and he's right there with us. He even gave us first dibs on the Guzman story. Man this guy is good.
___________

this is the DL version of the golf tshirt:
"I hate this game. I hate this game.
-Nice shot!- I LOVE THIS GAME!
I hate this game ..."

He's a bum. He's a bum.
-base hit- I LOVE THIS GUY.
He's a bum...

Posted by: cevans | June 26, 2007 09:54 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | June 26, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Quite a story, these Nats. Sure, they're well below .500 and not likely to reach that lofty goal. Just the same, we're witnessing the growth of an organization not only in player developement, but in the philosphy of how it is to be run/built. I for one, hope that the many injuries this team has suffered will not result in a flip flop of the direction they've taken in building this team. A quick fix is tempting, but the long range plans are solid. I just keep repeating, 2009, 2009, 2009, 2009. That might even be a bit optomistic. Patience, please.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 26, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Kornheiser is off the air starting Friday. How about we push for a daily two-hour Svrluga radio show on WTWP? It's not like he's doing anything else.

It would run from 8:30 to 10:30, but, of course, would repeat immediately thereafter (and on the webcast during Nationals games).

I don't know what it would be called, though. Ideas?

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 26, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Lets call it 'Not the former mayor Barry on sports'

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | June 26, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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