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Bienvenidos a Miami!

Much going on last night. First, the win, which was described here (hopefully most of you have read it by now). Serious sense of relief in that clubhouse.

Here's a left-over Austin Kearns quote I didn't get in the gamer:

"You take it any way you can get it right now," Kearns said. "I think everybody agrees that we're way better than what we've been, but that don't mean nothing when you're taking a loss every night."

Well-put. The other news: Paul Lo Duca to the disabled list. I'm sure many people are wondering why this didn't happen when Lo Duca was plunked by a pitch last Sunday. A good question. It seems neither the team nor the player expected it to stay this bad this long. Lo Duca's hoping to go down to the minors in 3-5 days to get some at-bats. The move is retroactive to April 14, so he could return, I believe, on the 29th. It'll be interesting to see how Acta uses Wil Nieves now. He has looked very good defensively.

I also want to make sure people see the "Nationals Report" online. It's easy to find in the paper, because it's above the jump of the Nationals story from the front page of the sports section (or just above the story if the story runs inside, which could happen a lot during Caps/Wiz playoff time). It might not seem major, but in that "Personnel Dept." section there are often injury updates and lineup stuff, things I just don't want to waste space on in the gamer or the notebook but are pertinent to the team. (This is one reason why I still prefer the $.35/$.50-edition, but that's just me.)

Shawn Hill: We had this discussion yesterday, but let me put it another way. If I put the over/under on starts in the majors he'll make this year at 20, what do you take?

I'll get you lineups as soon as I have them. A pleasant day here in South Florida.

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 19, 2008; 2:51 PM ET
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Next: Saturday night lineups


Im probably in the minority here but im going to take the over and say he will be fine for the rest of the season.

Although I am fully prepared to eat massive amounts of crow...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | April 19, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

i'm taking the even. 18 starts that go past the 3rd, then 2 where he's pulled before that and takes a week to recover.

Posted by: go Johnson | April 19, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I predict that Shawn Hill will start fewer games this season than the number of Nationals-related columns Boswell will write, and I'll spot Boz every column he's already written since spring training began. (Remember, his Orioles column from there doesn't count.) In any case, the number of Shawn Hill starts and Boswell columns will be less than 20. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the sum of those two numbers is under 20.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Four games and he'll be back on the DL.

The mere fact that he still has pain in his arm and he threw batting practice in Columbus should throw up a whole bunch of red flags, but I am guessing a good portion of the organization is colorblind.

Posted by: NatsNQ | April 19, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

No I am not scared, and neither should you be!

Posted by: Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf | April 19, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Once around the horn, looking at the current organization depth chart, and an early "who to look at" in the coming months...
#1 (Pitchers -12)
Starters - Current staff: O.Perez, M. Chico, J. Lannan, T. Redding, S. Hill.
Rank - Lannan (2), Redding (2/3), HIll (2/3, if healthy), Chico (4/5), Perez (5).
In minors: J. Bergmann (COL-AAA), M. O'Conner (COL-AAA), C. Balester (COL-AAA), R. Brownlie (HAR-AA),
C. Van Allen (POT-A), J. Zimmerman (POT-A),
Relievers - Current staff: S. Rivera, J. Colome, J. Hanrahan, L. Ayala, J. Rauch, R. King, C. Cordero.
Rank - Same as current staff, w/exception of Rauch for Cordero @ closer. If Cordero is truly injured, claim Sanches.
In minors: B. Sanches (COL-AAA), L. Spegner (HAR-AA), J. Perrault (HAR-AA), A. Munoz (HAR-AA), Z. Zinicola (POT-A),
Y. Novoa (POT-A), A. Carr (POT-A).
#2 (Catchers -3): P. LoDuca [DL], J. Estrada, W. Nieves.
Rank: [In Minors], LoDuca, Nieves, Estrada.
In minors: J. Flores (COL-AAA), L. Montz (HAR-AA), B. Peacock (POT-A). D. Ivany (POT-A).
#3 (First Base -2): N. Johnson, D. Young [DL].
Rank: N. Johnson, D. Young, [In Minors]
In minors: L. Broadway (COL-AAA), L. A. Jimenez (HAR-AA), C. Marrero {PAT-A)
comments: C. Marrero - 5 errors in 14 GP - YIKES!
#4 (Second Base -2): R. Belliard, F. Lopez, W. Harris.
Rank: .R. BeIliard, F. Lopez, [In Minors] .
In minors: P. Orr (COL-AAA), B. Boone (COL-AAA), W. Bergolla (HAR-AA).
#5 (Third base -1): R. Zimmerman, R. Belliard, W. Harris.
Rank: R. Zimmerman, [In Minors], R. Belliard.
In minors: Y. de Caster (HAR-AA), M. Rogelstad (POT-A)
#6 (Shortstop -1): C. Guzman, F. Lopez.
Rank: C. Guzman, F. Lpoez, [In Minors].
In minors: R. Olmedo (COL-AAA), I. Desmond (HAR-AA)
comments: Desmond - 3 errors in 14 games @ AA, not good.
#7 (Left Field -3): W. Pena, E. Dukes [DL], L. Milledge, W. Harris, R. Mackowiak.
Rank: L. Milledge, E. Dukes, W. Pena.
In minors: R. Langerhans (COL-AAA), J. Maxwell (HAR-AA).
#8 (Center Field -1): L. Milledge, R. Mackowiak.
Rank: [In Minors], L. Milledge, [In Minors].
In minors: R. Langerhans (COL-AAA), J. Maxwell (HAR-AA).
#9 (Right Field -1): A. Kearns, L. Milledge, E. Dukes [DL], R. Mackowiak.
Rank: A. Kearns, L. Milledge, E. Dukes.
In minors: R. Langerhans (COL-AAA), J. Maxwell (HAR-AA), D. Brown (POT-A).
Overall: Unless Dukes is coming back in the next two weeks, it might be time to "cut bait" with Mackowiak, call up Maxwell & drop him into
CF/#7 batting order for 30 days; move Milledge to LF & sit WMP down until he gets his stroke back. A majority of the other immediate
roster moves will be resolved through the Disabled List.

Posted by: BIM | April 19, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the verbose post - It's something i've been mulling over for a while. Just my opinion.

Posted by: BIM | April 19, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

my o/u is still six. the clock is ticking....

Posted by: natsscribe | April 19, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

20 Barry? Have you been in the sun today?

If money is involved I would say under 10 even but I would not be at all surprised if this is the only one this year.

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

419/Anonymous you're stealing my material.

I agree the sum for both will be under 20.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 19, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

contrary to the profusely squint-minded negatorians, i'll take the over. as the last nats park subtenant remarked encyclically, "people who have hope live differently."

Posted by: natty bumppo | April 19, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I'll take a grain of salt.

Hill needs to show me tonight that he has something. Then, tomorrow, and for the rest of the week, he needs to show me that he's fine.

Repeat that 10 times every five days and I'll take your 20.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | April 19, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I'll take the over, he feels like it's getting better as he pitches so hopefully he's over the hump and if he doesn't screw up by getting on base he will be fine.

BIM - you left off Detwiler in you pitchers list and Bill Rhinehart at 1B in Hagerstown.

If Hill can give us just five good innings I like our chances a lot, tomorrow night might be more problematic unless Perez pulls out something really strong. Either way we need to hit at least as well as we did last night to have any chance...

Posted by: estuartj | April 19, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barry,

What is Acta saying about WMP's At Bats?

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I can guess what Willie Harris says....."looking good to me". I though Harris had glasses last season.....maybe I'm on to something?

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

If I'm this 419 person you guys keep bringing up, then you're Sheinin, Coverage is lacking.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

and another thing. i, too, cannot get enough of boswell on baseball. since i am always trying to learn, i don't care if he writes about the nats, the o's or the gawdforsaken worst team in the league when it's not us.

unfortunately, he gets to write about golf and any other damthing he wants because he's a senior sports columnist and that's your reward for riding the team bus on the beat the majority of your career. among the post's glaring sins and sinners, boswell is not among them.

that said, for those of you who missed his chat this week, here he packs more juice into three paragraphs than most of our blog commentary strings manage. yeah, there are more of us NJ folks and some of us know quite a lot and have balanced temperaments, but he's the real deal.

Quoth the Boz:
At many levels, the Nationals look panicky right now. Why on earth is Cordero __who looks like he may be seriously injured__ on the ML roster, not on the DL or rehabbing in the minors? What's the hurry with Hill? Doesn't he have too much long-term value to risk? Why is Pena back when his timing is non-existent?

Watching Cordero on Wednesday night was almost too sad to see. Facts: His velocity was down in Florida. He felt a "sharp pain" and heard a "pop" when throwing on Opening Night. He's a trooper, so he comes back as fast as he can. Then, he throws 10-to-12 mph slower than normal IN A GAME. The poor kid can't get the ball to 80 mph. There's a road-side batting cage machine down the road from me that throws 80. And we all hit it.

MRI's don't show everything. Cordero has a spectacular early-career record even if he escapes a lot of jams and gives up some homers. All that matters are the numbers, babe. Career 2.79 ERA and 128 saves at age 26. He should be treated like pure gold. And, right now, he's being treated like Just Another Guy. Somebody in the organization needs to stand up and say, "Shut this guy down until he can throw 89 again or until we find out what's wrong with him."

Posted by: natty bumppo | April 19, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

He'll make as many starts as he makes. If everybody here applauds and takes the over, will his career live?

"Shawn Hill: We had this discussion yesterday, but let me put it another way. If I put the over/under on starts in the majors he'll make this year at 20, what do you take?"

Posted by: CE | April 19, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree Boz was really strong in the Chat....I have an idea, maybe a column would be a good idea (sorry CIL).

Posted by: JayB | April 19, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Natty bumpo, thanks for copying that from Boz's chat. The problem with him--other than the fact that he rarely writes about baseball any more--is that when he does write about baseball, he doesn't write topically and critically like he did in the chat excerpt you posted. Instead, his writing is usually reminiscing about the past, or ruminating on the future, or some combination of both--i.e., baseball writing as "literature."

It would be great if Boswell were to really write some topical, opinionated columns, on a somewhat regular basis. I would love to see what he has to say in print, and I think it could open up some interesting debates. Unfortunately, we just haven't gotten that from him in a long long time.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | April 19, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

No problem JayB, my comment about the anonymous poster stealing my material was I had made a specific joke yesterday about taking bets about the # of Nats columns Boz will write this year. I figure if someone is going to steal my jokes, they should at least sign their posts and own up to it.

Posted by: Coverag is lacking | April 19, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

to follow up on a comment yesterday, where someone (don't remember who) said the nats should be drafting for positional need, this is from an interview with Mike Arbuckle, the Phillies assistant GM.


When asked what positions the Phils are seeking, Arbuckle gave the right answer. "You have to be very careful about trying to draft toward a particular position, simply because of the time it takes to develop players to get to the big leagues...So you try to draft the best available player in each round, the guy that we would view as having the highest ceiling."

Posted by: 231 | April 19, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I learned from the Bob Carpenter MASN commercial that there is no DL for broadcasters. Is there a DL for columnists? If there is, then why is the Post waiting so long to put Boswell on it? He hasn't written about baseball since Opening Night. Didn't sending him down to the Redskins beat last fall to work on his mechanics do any good? Why is the Post operating its already mediocre baseball department shorthanded this season?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

No idea how long Hill will last. No idea, and I don't want to predict.

The signs are all bad. His last start in Columbia was worrying. I'm hoping the coaches have had a good look.

He deserves some quality starts, and we deserve some quality starts.

Good luck Shawn. We're rooting for ya.

Posted by: Natty Dread | April 19, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Shawn's pitching seven innings in every game from now until the post-season. And the Nats will win every single one. You can take that to the bank.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 19, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I think that Hill is a tough kid, and I don't question his makeup or his heart. His history and his recent performances are cause for concern, however. I hope I'm wrong, but I have to take the under. And I get the feeling that the organization is rushing him back, which is even more troubling.

Posted by: blueson | April 19, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Boswell has been covering the Masters for years. And, of freaking course, he has more insight in a couple paragraphs of his chats than you delusional neophytes have in a whole thread.

Geez, now that you all have convinced yourselves you can run a baseball team, you also think you can run a newspaper. Amazing.

Posted by: mike8 | April 19, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

New! NEW! NEW!!
Now with Lineups(r)!


Posted by: !Surprise Rafters! | April 19, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

(Applauding Mike8 for Barry, because if he did it himself someone would write a long post suggesting he be fired immediately, but you KNOW he's thinking it.)

Posted by: MIB | April 19, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

No, MIB, the "delusional neophytes" were convinced of the ability to run the paper long before considering how we would run the team.

But in defense, whatever is wrong with fantasy newspaper is also wrong with fantasy baseball.

Hot stove. Do not touch.

Posted by: i hate walks | April 19, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

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