Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Bergmann's hammy, and the arrival of John Lannan?

The prospects, it appears, are on the way. Read on.

So a few leftover items from last night. And a reminder that I chat at 1 p.m. But first, Jason Bergmann:

Hamstrings are, indeed, delicate muscles when it comes to pitchers. This tightness is in his left hamstring, which is his landing leg. He must have confident that he can get out over his pitches and land on that leg, that he can follow-through. The first sign that he was struggling was the flat 1-0 curveball he threw to Rollins in the third last night. He didn't feel right, and it showed.

We won't know more until after Bergmann goes through some treatment and tests at Citizens Bank Park today. But I think any reasonable guess is that he would miss at least one start, right? That would allow him to pitch maybe 11 days from now.

So say that's true. (Again, only a (reasonable) guess at this point.) Your rotation for a three-day, four-game series against the defending National League East champion New York Mets could be the following: Tim Redding, Billy Traber, Joel Hanrahan and ... John Lannan? Mike O'Connor? Brandon Claussen?

Some updates on those guys:

Hanrahan last threw on Sunday, and he's 5-4 with a 3.70 ERA for Class AAA Columbus. It makes sense that he would start one of the Saturday games. He'd have an extra day's rest, was poised to come to the majors earlier in the season before hurting his hamstring, etc.

Claussen -- not so much. The former Red and one-time New York Yankee prospect is 1-1 with a 6.98 ERA for Columbus as he works his way back from shoulder surgery. Of course, the Nationals already have one guy (Redding) who had a 5-plus ERA in the minors and a sub-3 ERA in the majors, so if they bring up Claussen he'll probably go 2-1 with a 1.59 in his first four starts.

O'Connor: Things aren't going that well for the GW grad at Class AA Harrisburg as he comes back from minor elbow surgery. He allowed seven earned runs in his Monday start against Akron. He's 1-4 with a 5.77 ERA overall, but his ERA is 12.75 his last three times out. The best thing you can say for him: He's pitched at Shea Stadium, and pitched there effectively, before.

Which brings us to the most intriguing possibility, and the one that will say the most about this organization. Are the Nationals conservative and patient or gun-slinging and ambitious? Lannan, you'll recall, began the year at Class A Potomac, and has since sky-rocketed to Columbus. He's 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA for the Clippers, and 12-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 20 appearances (19 starts) at three minor league levels.

Lannan's next start is scheduled for tomorrow. If he makes that for Columbus (and I'm going to see if there are any schedule changes today), then he won't pitch in the majors over the weekend. He is the true prospect in the group of candidates, and there are several factors involved in calling him up. One, I think we'll see him by the end of the year anyway, and there has to be some evaluation of what potential harm you could do to his psyche/mindset by calling him up for a spot start (if, in fact, that's what it is). Two, there's the entire issue of "starting the clock" - basically, giving the kid service time in the majors and getting him closer to arbitration and, eventually, free agency, over one essentially meaningless game in New York in July.

But if the kid is going to be a candidate to join the rotation next year - and, by all accounts, he is - then they have to take a look at some point. I continue to preach that this year is really more about 2008 and '09, about what the Nationals discover about what they have. Bergmann's injury, in the short view, is about who's going to start this weekend and how long he'll be out. In the long view, it could be about finding out something regarding their future.

My best information from inside the Nationals organization is an interesting decision: They will likely call up Lannan to make Thursday afternoon's start against Philadelphia. It's his turn that day, and it wouldn't disrupt his rhythm. That would bump Mike Bacsik back to Friday, most likely. They'll evaluate Bergmann, and if he's unable to go on Sunday, they'll call up Hanrahan to make a start on Saturday. That would likely leave them with Tim Redding and Hanrahan starting in Saturday's doubleheader, pushing Traber back a day to Sunday. (This update filed at 11:16 a.m.)

OK, on to "Didn't Make the Paper." And let's start with a long Bergmann quote about the injury - suffered when he was sent home by third base coach Tim Tolman from second in the third inning.

"I felt it right away," he said. "But I'm not the kind of person who's going to take himself out of the game unless it's really that bad. I was able to continue running. I slid. I came back in the dugout. It basically felt like a little 'Charley horse.' I wanted to go back out there. Made a little mention of it to the trainers, said, 'Look, this is a little sore.'

"Like I said, continued running. But when I went out there to start pitching, the first two pitches I threw breaking ball, it didn't feel good at all. Schneider came out. I threw a changeup to Rollins right down the middle. It just wasn't easy to land on or really get anything on the ball at all after that. After I walked Utley, I could've been really stupid and really tried to tough it out and Howard could have done some real damage to me, and I said at that point, 'It's time to cut our losses and get out of here.'"

That would be the blow-by-blow. Acta defended, to a degree, Tolman's decision to send Bergmann with two outs. He admitted it wasn't a no-brainer to send him, but is a staunch supporter of his coaching staff.

"Was it the right call to send him?" I asked. "Not necessarily," he said. "But I don't second-guess the people that work with me because these guys do a tremendous job for me. He did wave Kearns the very next [inning], which was a great play, too. So I'd rather look at the positive one."

And, finally, some Tolman stuff that wasn't in the paper. (Had one quote where he admitted his mistake.) Here, he was asked if he had to treat pitchers differently than everyday players on the basepaths.

"I think you have to," Tolman said. "First of all they're not used to being out there. Second of all they're not going to get as good a jump or probably be running all the way through the whole way as a normal position player would. That's no excuse. It was just a poor decision."

Other stuff. Felipe Lopez's left ankle was heavily wrapped with ice afterward because he was hit by a pitch there. He was limping badly at first, but told me that it was just because of the ice directly on it. "For the first two minutes, it's hell," he said. He should be fine. (Didn't get into a discussion about how/why he got picked off, which I'll try to remember today.)

Traber: He's an interesting character, to say the least. Acta said after the game that even though Traber threw 44 pitches in an effective three-inning relief stint, he'd still make his start this weekend. Here's some of that exchange:

Me: "You threw 44 pitches. Are you OK to come back and start on Saturday?"

Traber: "Well, I don't know if I'm starting or relieving."

Me: "Manny told us you'll be starting."

Traber: "How about we let them tell me, first?"

Uh, OK, Billy. Other reporters arrived, and the topic came up again. "Like I said, I haven't been told if I'm starting or relieving. As far as I know, I'm in the pen. Sooner or later, I'll know. I'm pretty sure I'm a bullpen guy."

Uh, Billy. What part of "Manny told us you'll be starting" didn't you understand? So maybe there's an issue there. We'll find out today.

More stuff from the $.35 edition on Ryan Church, which I thought was interesting. Don't look now, but Ryan Zimmerman has hit in 15 of his last 16 games. Though just 1 for 4 last night with a double, I think we're starting to see decent signs from him. He hasn't been above .260 since - gulp - May 8. He's at .259 now. Will he get there this road trip?

Podcast is here. Remember the chat, which I'll likely do from my hotel room. And I'll get you lineups and more news from Citizens Bank Park.

By Barry Svrluga  |  July 25, 2007; 10:51 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Uh-oh
Next: Lineups, etc.


Excellent, juicy post Barry. Either Manny's trying to throw you guys a bone until they decide who starts, or Traber thinks there's a communication problem from his Manager.
Nice to see the extended version of Bergmann's hammy.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 25, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Lannan scheduled to start today in Columbus? he started on Friday which would make today regualr rest for him

Posted by: Quizzical | July 25, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Barry -
Do you think Manny is using you ("the press") to send a message to R. Church? Or that Manny was just making public a conversation he's already had with Ryan?

As for Traber, with all due respect to you, it doesn't seem like a savvy ball player would want to fall into the trap of automatically believing messages supposedly from the manager but delivered via the press. Until he's told directly, something could easily change.

Posted by: natsagain | July 25, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Semi-nervous about the decision to bring up Lannan, hope its not too early.

Nice article about Church's lack of production, essentially called him out after Church said all he needed was a chance to be an everyday player. Oh really...

Hope this Bergmann thing isn't serious!

Posted by: G-town | July 25, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Barry, I'm with natsagain about Billy's reaction to you. If I were a pitcher, I wouldn't be crazy about the media relaying stuff to me from my manager (especially something that's probably fairly important to a pitcher; whether he's starting or coming out of the bullpen).

Posted by: joebleux | July 25, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

St. Barry -

We love you, we really do, but I think natsagain is right on the Traber take.

Traber has been told directly and through your words that he is a bullpen guy. He obviously had not talked to Manny after the game about his role over the weekend since he threw 40+ last night. I think it is in his best interest to find out his role from his boss and not from you and your media bretheren.

Now if you were to give us some cues on his tone like [/sarcasm/] or [/nastiness/], maybe that would help us see it another way. Otherwise, I don't think Traber was in the wrong.

My $.02.

Posted by: WebberDC | July 25, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree with other posters' comments re. Traber.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 25, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Traber isn't good enough or established enough to have "communication issues with his manager."

Let him win 15 games, THEN he can be as cocky as he wants.

Posted by: bdrube | July 25, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Re: Traber

Sounds like a good way to not answer a question.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 25, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

OFF TOPIC---(sorry) -
but i am going to philly for the thursday day game..anybody out there in blogland know the policy at Citizens Bank park on bringing stuff (food,drinks) into the stadium?

and speaking of bringing in food and drinks......anyone heard what the new nats stadium policy will be for this?

Posted by: pk | July 25, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey, y'all may be right about Traber, no doubt. I think I'm affected by all the other interactions I have with him. He seems to believe there's a conspiracy surrounding everything.

Me: "What pitch did you throw there?"
Him: "A bad one."
Me: "I know. Was it a curveball?"
Him: "I don't want to get into that."

That kinda thing.

But yes, he should hear it from the manager. I also think a possible response is: "Whatever role they need me in, I'll try to be as ready as I can."

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | July 25, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for providing the background. If we read between the lines, since you don't usually slap players around like that, we could assume there was some stuff in the past.

If he had said that though, wouldn't you be ticked off that he was giving a boring quote?

Posted by: Chris | July 25, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Believe me, I like interesting, honest quotes. What I'm not crazy about is guys who think you're trying to stir stuff up when you're just doing your job.

Traber's a really bright guy. He is not interested in letting us get to know him, which is his choice and is fine. And I give him major, major credit for a time in Atlanta earlier in the year when he gave up a game-winning hit, saw the beat guys talking to Schneider, was fully dressed, and waited at his locker -- like a true pro -- so that we could talk to him before he left. A lesser guy would've bolted without talking to us.

I just consistently find his responses curious, that's all. No big deal.

Besides, isn't the larger point here that JOHN LANNAN IS PROBABLY GOING TO START IN THE MAJORS?

Chat in 10 minutes.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | July 25, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Re: Traber - Sounds like some sort of defensiveness that might come from someone who's been burned (or thinks he's been burned). Interest piqued, I went googling... Did you know that Traber was a "player to be named," in a multi-player transaction that sent Mike Bacsik from the Indians to the Mets? The deal also involved Alex Escobar. Here's the transaction...

December 13, 2001: Sent by the New York Mets to the Cleveland Indians to complete an earlier deal made on December 11, 2001. The New York Mets sent players to be named later, Matt Lawton, Alex Escobar, and Jerrod Riggan to the Cleveland Indians for Roberto Alomar, Mike Bacsik, and Danny Peoples (minors). The New York Mets sent Earl Snyder (December 13, 2001) and Billy Traber (December 13, 2001) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.

Posted by: natsagain | July 25, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

pk: Glad there will be another Nat fan in Philly Thursday. I hear the food is SUPER - some Food Network award or something. Really looking forward to all that yummy greasiness.

Posted by: me too! | July 25, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Just a pre-chat comment, Barry.

Thanks for these tidbits of info about what you go through, and the types of different interaction you (personally and 'the media' in general) have with certain players. Definitely gives a more personal take on your job and role(s) of players.

Several times this season you've highlighted guys who blew a play/pitch who stuck it out after the game to address the media. I respect that, and I respect them. It's also why I share a 'respectful' player's frustration when a media person DOES appear to be baiting or stirring up something. Note that I said a respectful player, not a certain recently turned 43-year old (who must be well past sick of the circus). OK, on to the chat!

Posted by: ShawNatsFan | July 25, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

St. Barry -

Context is everything in these types of situations. Thanks for providing some. It sounds to me like the [/studiously avoiding answering straightforward media question/] or [/paranoid of media/] explanitory mechanisms could have been used here.

Posted by: WebberDC | July 25, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The food in Philly's OK, not outstanding. I may well stop at Maryland House for a bite on the way up tomorrow.

BTW when I was at CBP in 2005, the beer selection was just flat-out mediocre. I just have to think I wasn't looking in the right places. Since I'll probably only have one pint tomorrow, I'd like it to be good.

Where are y'all day trippers planning to sit?

Posted by: Hendo | July 25, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Barry focuses the group: ". . . isn't the larger point here that JOHN LANNAN IS PROBABLY GOING TO START IN THE MAJORS?"

You betcha. Now, if this were May, or June, my knees would be knocking. (As they kind of were when O'Connor came up last spring.)

But it is July, and we are building a core, and I am pumped. Bring it on, John.

Posted by: Hendo | July 25, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

RE: Traber - Great innings last night, if he is indeed a starter soon, I look forward to seeing what he can do.

Someone made pointed out something worthwhilee to me a little bit ago (I can't remember if it were here or somewhere else) - that Billy Traber was wasted in the long reliever role because most of the times when he got into a game they were already a few runs behind...something that this offensively challanged team was not going to overcome no matter how many 0's Traber put on the board.

Was it just me, or was anyone else more comfortable last night watching Traber pitch than watching Bergmann?

Posted by: 1938FratStreet | July 25, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Great chat as always Barry.

What about a "Didn't Make the Chat" edition of the update for any particularly interesting questions that didn't make it?

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 25, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes! And it's going to happen during a day game, which means I can listen to Charlie and Dave call it while I work!

I'm more excited about this than I've been about a particular Nats game for a while. This season has essentially been about, well, future seasons, and to get a glimpse of the possible future is exciting.


Besides, isn't the larger point here that JOHN LANNAN IS PROBABLY GOING TO START IN THE MAJORS?

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 25, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

506 just can't get enough: "What about a 'Didn't Make the Chat' edition of the update for any particularly interesting questions that didn't make it?"

Intriguing notion, but when on earth would Barry find time to write it? (Perhaps other staffers could step up. There are a couple, notably Amy Shipley, whose work I like very much.)

To prime the pump further, here's a question for someone to tackle...

We've been kicking around the idea of hiring us a free-agent pitcher stud, but the notion hasn't got very far. Probably just as well. Pitching acquisition in general can be something of a crapshoot, and acquiring an FA is a session at the $6-million-minimum table.

But -- now, don't turn your head, and don't point -- do you see that guy pacing around over in the corner? The one in the black and gold uni?

His name is Ian Snell, and is he pissed:

And I want him. (At least for a good, long look by a Nats scout. And, BTW, Snell is still arb-eligible.)

Posted by: Hendo | July 25, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse


I don't know how well a guy who "[expletive] hate[s] losing" is going to do on the 2008 squad, though.

Pittsburgh is 41-57 right now. Washington is 42-57. Unless other upgrades are made, Snell could find himself in a similar situation.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 25, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Bells seems to enjoy losing with these guys. Maybe Snell wouldn't mind losing as much with a team that plays the game right.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 25, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Why do you want him Hendo? He seems a ptiching version of Milton Bradley/Jose Guillen type. I haven't ever seen him pitch but, except for his strikeouts, I am not overwhelmed by his numbers (7-8, 3.62 era, 20 GS, 36BB, 108K, 131.2 innings)

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | July 25, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with you. Despite the similarity in wins and losses, the Nats don't seem mired in the "culture of losing" like the Bucs. As a general rule, our guys leave it out on the field (or else Manny will take you off the field).

Plus, Nats front office seems more dedicated to building a winner.

He might come at a discount, too, considering his "pacing around over in the corner."

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 25, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

When I say "I tend to agree with you," I mean Section 506 (AM).

Lowcountry, I think Hendo (and Snell himself) would argue that at least some of these numbers have been inflated by poor play by a poor team.

I have seen him pitch, and he has good stuff. He's no ace, but he would be a decided improvement to the staff. He probably would come at a relatively low cost, so it might not smart as much if he doesn't work out.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 25, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

John in Mpls and Hendo, I definitely find the Snell suggestion intriguing. However, I don't have much faith in the health of pitchers. Given the choice between a bat and an arm at the same price, I say pick the bat. Grow your pitchers, it's a lot cheaper.

Posted by: Section 506 (After moving) | July 25, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Especially pitchers wearing the curly W.

We do seem to have bolstered our minor league pitching enough to believe we'll be able to field some decent talent in the future.

But if he does come on the cheap, it might be worth the shot. Or, like Hendo says, he's worth "a good, long look by a Nats scout."


However, I don't have much faith in the health of pitchers.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 25, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd [insert Rob Fickism here] hate losing too. Losing is real bad, year in and year out. Kinda sucks, in fact.

Particularly when I'd been pitching my [RF2]ing heart out for a team of sad-[RF3]s who don't seem to have a [RF4]ing clue half the time and don't [RF5]ing give a [RF6] about it the rest of the [RF7] time, under a [RF8] ownership group that has had its [RF9] head up its [RF10] for the last 15 [RF11] years.

Hallelujah! Holy [RF12]! Where's the Tylenol?

Now put me in a town containing Fick and a couple dozen others with a fire in their gut. Perhaps I'll turn out indeed to be a bum, or a Bradley. (The possibility cannot help but cross one's mind.)

But perhaps synergy will happen. It does from time to time. Unless Snell is a complete whacko, which the league surely knows by now [insert snarky remark about pitchers in general here], the returns on a half-mil investment could be most satisfying.

Posted by: Hendo | July 25, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Barry's posted the lineup thread, but please keep up the Snell discussion here, if you want.

The more I think about the idea, the more it intrigues me and the better I like it. Might just have to go out and customize me a "Snell 45" Nats t-shirt. (Does Chris Schroder have another favorite number?)

Posted by: Hendo | July 25, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Alright - he might be worth a look. But after last night I want to know if he can lay down a bunt!

Posted by: lowcountrynatsfan | July 25, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Section 506:

If by playing the game right, you mean laying down a sac bunt, lets hope Snell missed last night's (and a few other) games.

In a broader sense, I think that what we're seeing now is that the team's other shortcomings are starting to become visible. I am less worried about hitting than about the baserunning and situational stuff that the Nats don't execute. In a pennant race, you need to get those runners advanced and runs scored.

Sure the pitching is still a problem, but at least there are credible choices available to the Nats... which is more than we thought there would be...

Posted by: Wigi | July 25, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

That's what I'm thinking. If we're looking at a risk-reward analysis, it seems like a good deal. Snell can't cost the Nats that much, so it wouldn't hurt as much if he didn't work out.

I'm allowed to say "risk-reward" because you said "synergy" first. It's pretty obvious both of us are posting from work.

Posted by: John in Mpls | July 25, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, I like the [RFX] format -- I may try applying it over the course of future ballgames!

Not so crazy about the work-type lingo, tho (yecch, you said "synergy").

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 25, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Is there going to be a special Nats section at CBP? Outfield-left, patio (price includes concessions!) seems ok, but never been, so open to suggestions.

Sorry for being off-topic. And food-obsessed.

Posted by: CBP | July 25, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Earthbound glide for the thread, most likely:

natsfan1a, I wanted to say "perhaps magic will happen," but that seems to be what the Pirates expect, and have been for lo these many years, and just the thought of it makes me want to go all Fick again.

Tried to buy a "Snell 45" Nats t-shirt. No dice: can't use someone's real name and number on another team's uniform.

So it'll be "Snell 54". Look for it in 428 in a week or so.

Posted by: Hendo | July 25, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, I was just kidding ya, riffing of John's remarks.

Will watch for the "Snell 54" tee. Natsfan1b and I had ambitions of designing custom tees, but it turns out that you can't combine a number with a letter, either.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 26, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Snell would be an EXCELLENT addition to this staff I think, Hendo. Good call. I've been watching him the last 2 years and I think he can pitch--he has good stuff, has improved his BB:K ratio this year as well as his BAA and whip. As someone else said, he's no ace, but he'd be a great addition to the middle of the rotation.

Posted by: .390 | July 26, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company