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Nationals Journal: July 20, 2008 - July 26, 2008

On new teams and new starts

Just a smattering of items from the notebook here: *Before today's game, Paul Lo Duca sat on a sofa in the clubhouse watching the final outs of the Yankees-Sox game. If Lo Duca had a chance to land anywhere, he...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2008; 10:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Guzman out of tonight's lineup

I'll come back with a little more right after the first pitch, once I file the early notebook. But here are the lineups, as well as some news on the one person missing from it. Shortstop Cristian Guzman is out...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2008; 9:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Thoughts from Cordero

Chad Cordero rolled into Dodger Stadium today just after 3 p.m. He was wearing baggy jeans and a white ballcap, brim entirely un-bent (of course). He also had his right arm wrapped in a thick black sling, pliable but heavy...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2008; 8:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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An assortment of thoughts

Morning ramblings. Or, if you're reading back on the east, noon ramblings. As you will. * I've heard several people assess Washington's busy Tuesday (Rauch dealt, Guzman resigned) this way: With those moves, the Nats have essentially secured their middle...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2008; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Control, closers and clocks

We're taking a little unscheduled detour toward some Joel Hanrahan analysis. Because tonight's game ends so late, I had to write a feature story pre-game; essentially, a stand-in for the usual game story wordage that won't be coming for the...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 25, 2008; 10:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Lineups from Dodger Stadium

Good evening from Chavez Ravine. Awesome ballpark. I am smitten. The vibe is pure 1960s -- faded seats, antiquated signage out front, that iconic fan-like overhand atop the outfield bleachers. Mmmm, suddenly I'm craving hot dogs. For now, I'll just...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 25, 2008; 9:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Leaving San Francisco

Sorry for being quick this morning. I'm at San Francisco's airport, about to catch a flight to LAX. For all of the charms of this city, I gotta say, the airport makes a fair attempt to undo them all at...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 25, 2008; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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"It's a little disrespectful"

Chad Cordero is quite unhappy with what's happened in the last day or two. All along, he knew he was probably going to be non-tendered in December. That decision makes sense, he acknowledged today. But he called the announcement's timing...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 24, 2008; 10:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (112)
 
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Milledge back, Estrada gone

After today's game -- an enthralling pitcher's duel, and a 1-0 San Francisco win -- the Nats recalled CF Lastings Milledge, who's recovered from his groin injury. They also decided to stop carrying four catchers on their roster. To corresponding...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 24, 2008; 7:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Bowden on Cordero, and lineups

In person today, GM Jim Bowden was quick and short explaining the Cordero decision -- which for now, by the way, is merely an intention. If the team had been of mind to tender Cordero's contract at season's end, it...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 24, 2008; 2:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (120)
 
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Cordero's Future with Washington

Just more than two weeks after Chad Cordero had major right shoulder surgery, he has learned of the team's decision to non-tender him at the end of the season. GM Jim Bowden revealed the team's intentions in an interview yesterday...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 24, 2008; 1:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Opener

So long as Luis Ayala is Washington's eighth-inning man, the Nats won't have much need for Joel Hanrahan... or any other closer. Against the Giants, Ayala had his latest meltdown. He faced eight batters, allowed three hits and three runs,...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 24, 2008; 2:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (127)
 
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Boone to have MRI

Aaron Boone isn't progressing as Washington had hoped. Originally, when he was placed on the 15-day DL July 10 (retroactive to July 7), the Nationals had guessed that Boone would return by the end of the Atlanta series. That was...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 23, 2008; 9:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Tonight's lineups from AT&T

Washington Harris - 8 Guzman - 6 Zimmerman - 5 Kearns - 9 Flores - 2 Lo Duca - 3 Lopez - 4 Langerhans - 7 Balester - 1 San Francisco Lewis - 7 Velez - 4 Winn - 9...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 23, 2008; 8:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Eight Thoughts, Observations and Informational Nuggets

Hopefully, this gives a little context to the Nats' biggest transactional day of the year ONE. Here's the story on the Rauch trade and Guzman extension. Here's the notebook, which looks at Joel Hanrahan's new role and Wily Mo Pena's...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 23, 2008; 11:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (249)
 
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The Story on The Deals

SAN FRANCISCO -- In one afternoon, with a pair of moves, the Washington Nationals removed all mystery about the status of their two most valuable veterans and answered several questions about how the team will look next season. The two...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 22, 2008; 10:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (131)
 
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Bowden on trade, contract

Here are tonight's lineups. Below, I've posted a quick transcript of much of the conversation with GM Jim Bowden about the busy day. By the way, two key points before we move forward. * Joel Hanrahan will get the first...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 22, 2008; 8:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Breaking news: Rauch traded, Guzman re-signed

On the same day, the Nationals determined the futures of their two most valuable veterans. They traded closer Jon Rauch to Arizona and they signed all-star shortstop Cristian Guzman to a two-year contract extension, keeping him with the team through...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 22, 2008; 5:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (104)
 
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Pena: Season-ending surgery

Nats OF Wily Mo Pena had successful surgery performed in Cincinnati this morning by Dr. Tim Kremchek. The Nats are saying that Pena will be out four to six months; he'll be ready for spring training. According to the release,...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 22, 2008; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (110)
 
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Light Travels at the Speed of Willie Harris

I got a press release yesterday mentioning that Willie Harris had been named the NL's player of the week -- first time ever a Nats player has won the award outright. With a nod to Chuck Norris, and to the...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 22, 2008; 10:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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A Banner Day

The Nats are off today, and at least for five or six hours, I'll be in the air, heading to San Francisco. (Among the reading material: This book and this magazine article.) (Not among the reading material: This game story...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 21, 2008; 8:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (151)
 
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Numbers far bigger than we're used to

We've got some serious offense on display right now. This is almost Sunday softball-style bashing. The Nats are up 8-2 in the middle of the fourth. Already, they've driven Atlanta starter Jo-Jo Reyes from the game. The third included four...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 20, 2008; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Young must improve fitness

Turns out that Dmitri Young's fitness (or lack thereof) is a big reason why he's heading to the disabled list. Here's what GM Jim Bowden said today about the plan for his first baseman. "Well, it's a two-pronged approach. The...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 20, 2008; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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From Turner Field

Yesterday's game; today's lineup. First, here's your behind-the-scenes glimpse of Washington's clubhouse. Several of us who've followed the team for months agree that the Nats right now seem chirpier and happier than they've appeared all season. Music played in the...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 20, 2008; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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