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Early-morning bits n' pieces

(If you don't read to the bottom of this post, at least look at this graphic, which is excellent.)

Manny Acta really likes the movie "Slapshot", and was very happy to find out that Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau was an extra in the movie. Acta does not, however, allow "Rocky" to be shown on team buses or flights because he grew so tired of it during his years in the minors. (Acta also does not eat salmon from the postgame spreads, because it is much like "Rocky," in the way that a movie and a fish dish can both taste the same if you have it/see it too often.)

Wait. This doesn't really qualify as news, does it?

Okay. John Patterson's agents, the Hendricks brothers, have not returned messages from me or Sheinin, but the Rangers' Web site on is reporting that he's close to signing a minor league deal with Texas. Given where he's from, that might work out well.

Johnny Estrada just threw from home to second, and he's feeling better. But given the development late yesterday that Wil Nieves was sent to minor league camp, Acta confirmed this morning that Jesus Flores will be the backup catcher to start the year.

"According to our schedule, Estrada is not going to be out for so long, and Flores is not going to be hurt as much with the time he's going to be up here," Acta said. "Also, from the get-go, we think we can find him some playing time because of Lo Duca being fresh off that surgery."

If Estrada was three weeks or a month, they wouldn't have done the same thing.

Tim Redding: He'll see a doctor later today about his back. But right now, no MRI or anything is scheduled.

Acta also said that a decision has been made about the first base job, but he is not going to announce it today, or tomorrow. But guess what: If it's not Nick Johnson, I'll eat my hat. Or one of my hats.

Shawn Hill will throw two innings in a minor league game today. Unfortunately, it's at 1 p.m., same time as the game against the Tigers, for which the lineup is:

Guzman -- 6
Milledge -- 8
Zimmerman -- 5
Young -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Lo Duca -- 2
Dukes -- DH
Lopez -- 4
Harris -- 7

Bergmann -- 1

One more addition: When the club traded for Rule 5 pick Garrett Guzman yesterday, he actually passed through waivers before the trade. (This was not clear from the transaction issued by the club yesterday.) Why is that important? It means the Nats have another spot on the 40-man roster. They only have 38 slots filled. You would think that would mean there's some movement to come.\

And I want to bring your attention to the $.35/$.50-edition this morning, which had a thorough story on A1 by Dan Leduc and David Nakamura on the development around the ballpark, both now and in the future.

There is also a very cool interactive graphic that shows you what development is planned for each block in that area.

Perhaps not as interesting, but as important to the development of the franchise on the field, is my story that focuses on the rotation at Class AAA Columbus, which is -- at least in terms of potential -- a huge upgrade over a year ago. And the notebook, which has a bunch of stuff you probably already know, including the recurring Lopez-is-on-the-block theme.

More later.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 24, 2008; 9:05 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Redding: "I'm going to be ready"
Next: Estrada throws, hits; Redding feeling OK


There getting FLop a lot of time. Why do you think?

1)Putting him out there for scouts re a trade?

2)Putting him out there to actually attempt to get him in a groove?

3)Putting him out there because he is our 2nd baseman as something is already in the works for Belly?

Posted by: Corey | March 24, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

#1 is my guess, Corey.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Slapshot! Can Manny get any better?

Corey I hate to give up on guys, but at this point I think its to showcase Lopez.

Posted by: Bazz | March 24, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Slapshot is a great movie on so many levels, but "so worn out of it." Get some sleep Barry. Duke will be back next year.

Posted by: Cindy Lou | March 24, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Nice move for JP if he ends up in Texas. Their rotation is still flux. They have developed some talent or had it go through the system (Volquez, Danks, Young) but have not identified and kept healthy 5 guys in the majors (McCarthy, Milwood)(5 Guys - mmmmm). He gets his fastball back, he'll get a shot.

Keeping Guzman is nice move. I'm a bit surprised he was waived through the majors. Baseball America actually featured him (right behind Brian Barton and Randor Bierd, who look like they'll make the Cards and Os) in its preview of the rule 5 draft and said what the Nats are saying - a player who eventually will have an Orlando Palmeiro type career as a 4th outfielder.

Posted by: PTBNL (I'm not gone yet) | March 24, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

does the rocky ban go to all editions or just the original? has he seen 3??? or 4, for that matter?

Posted by: theraph | March 24, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

They gotta be playing FLop to showcase him. The only problem is that he keeps committing errors, nobody is going to give us more than a bucket of balls and a used catchers mitt for him.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | March 24, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Check out for a much more comprehensive inter-active map, news, etc....

Posted by: 315 | March 24, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | March 24, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Hey, improved 10-day forecast for Sunday. Cool, but no rain.

I felt a lot more sympathy for Lopez after reading Barry's article about him a few weeks ago, and there's nothing wrong in and of itself with his not wanting to sit on the bench, but the lack of team-spirited comment from him bothered me. I will be bummed if we trade away Belliard.

Posted by: Section 109 | March 24, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to find room for a Rule V guy to begin with. If a team had claimed Guzman off waivers, he'd have to play up all season for that club. Hard to make that kind of room for a fourth outfielder.

Shame to lose PTBNL in the trade, though. He'd been blogging his butt of all spring.

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 24, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Worried about pitching health. Hill on DL, Redding dinged his back. Of course, they are both minor and will be back quickly but until they are actually back, I'm nervous.

However, pretty great to know that if Redding can't go, Lannan is ready. And if Hill can't get back when he wants, we can go with Clippard or Mock or Ballester. Much better spot than last year.

If Hill and Redding can hold, I think we can hang around .500 this year. I am very confident we'll stay well ahead of the Marlins all year. Can't imagine HRam has the same year as '07 and losing Cabrera is a massive drop off in production.

Posted by: Avar | March 24, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Give me Belly. Take Mr.FLop. Package with some young gun arms from Minors and maybe we'll get a ham sandwich.

Please keep Belly...

Posted by: NiceNat | March 24, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

This may have been discussed in one of the weekend posts, but has anyone heard anything regarding the opening day ticket lottery?

Posted by: Matt | March 24, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Other than Detwiler, what does the AA Columbus rotation look like for this season?

Posted by: NYC Nats | March 24, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

We won't even get the ham sandwich. Bowden is going to demand a steak and fries for them both and isn't going to get it. Same is true for DY. Get comfy on the bench guys.

Posted by: Section Zero | March 24, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Likely Opening Day AAA Columbus rotation - Collin Balester, Garrett Mock, John Lannan, Tyler Clippard, & Mike O'Connor

Likely Opening Day AA Harrisburg rotation - Shairon Martis, Marco Estrada, Carlos Martinez, (possibly) Brad Meyers, & (possibly) Cory VanAllen

Likely Opening Day A Potomac rotation - Ross Detwiler, Jordan Zimmermann, Jhonny Nunez, Adrian Alainz, & Yunior Novoa

Posted by: Brian | March 24, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

NYC Nats - I don't think the AA roster itself has been set. Nationals Farm Authority has a great projection at of all the minor league rosters. Click on older posts to get to the AAA and AA rosters.

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | March 24, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Speak of the devil himself!

Posted by: Nats fan in NJ | March 24, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"Shawn Hill will throw two innings in a minor league game today. Unfortunately, it's at 1 p.m., same time as the game against the Tigers."
Don't worry, we have two beat writers covering the Nats in Florida, so we'll have Hill's outing covered for you.

Posted by: Mark Zuckerman | March 24, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Just thinking out loud through this trade talk.

The whole point of shopping Felipe, I thought, was because Felipe doesn't want to be benched and they're being stubborn about keeping Belly at 2nd because he's the better 2baseman.

So if they're being stubborn on that point, why would they trade Belliard when they'd end up getting the same result as if they just benched him-Felipe would still be playing 2B.

I don't see them getting such great players for Belliard that they are more than the value of keeping and benching Belliard and playing Felipe anyway.

This is what makes me think Belliard stays.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 24, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like Lopez has until July 15th to either get his act in gear or at least become marketable. Otherwise, he's off to join John in Mpls to complete the Guzman deal.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 24, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse


I think I understand what you're trying to say, but look at it this way. What is preferable?

1. MLB 2B: Belliard
MLB back up: Lopez
AAA 2B: B. Boone


2. MLB 2B: Lopez
MLB back up: B. Boone
Plus some prospects or other useful pieces picked up by dealing Belliard.

The rationale for dealing Belliard is that with Lopez and Boone, the team can get through the season, and the Nats might pick up some useful players to boot.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris can also play 2b and as of now, I think, is on the outside of the roster looking in. If we make a trade, he'll be the backup, not Bret.

Posted by: 307 | March 24, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse


I still think answer number 1 looks better, unless your "prospects or useful pieces" are really, really sparkly. And I wonder if other teams would give up the amount of sparkle necessary to make your answer number 2 worth it.

I guess I'm thinking what section zero said about the ham sandwich above. Bowden will ask for alot, especially for Belliard. Probably more than others will pay.

Then again, I have absolutely no idea what possible prospects are or would be offered, so I'm really just talking out of my, um, ear.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 24, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse


I'm of course talking out of my, um, ear too. What our discussion has solidified in my mind is that the prospects do indeed need to be "sparkly". JimBo seems to have said as much.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

ESPN reports that JP has signed with Texas...

"It's no-risk for a guy who has had success in the big leagues," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said, according to "We want to bring him in, get him healthy and send him [to Triple-A]."

Posted by: JP | March 24, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse


I thought Barry's article yesterday on Manny's base running philosophy shed some light on this. I doesn't appear that Willie Harris is his type of player. He's fast yes, but he has low SB percentages and seems to have made a lot of baserunning blunders this spring.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

i thought bboone changed his mind and retired...

Posted by: 231 | March 24, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Nah, someone posted that here but they were mistaken. They heard it from Charlie and Dave but turns out they were talking about Javy Lopez.

Far as I know Boone is still with us in the minors.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 24, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm up.

Posted by: new post | March 24, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the help everyone its much appreciated. As for my next question, what are the possibilities of the Nats trading both Belliard and Lopez seeing as were still building for the future and neither player appears to be in the Nats long term plans?

Posted by: NYC Nats | March 24, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Not much, I think, for reasons discussed above, unless as part of a package. The Nationals would have to get at least a close-to-ready MI prospect or 2, and that ain't gonna happen.

What are the possibilities of the Nats trading both Belliard and Lopez, seeing as we're still building for the future, and neither player appears to be in the Nats' long-term plans?

Posted by: NYC Nats | March 24, 2008 01:09 PM

Posted by: CE | March 24, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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