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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 infield for the next two seasons. They also have the likely first and second batters in their order. Both Emilio Bonifacio, acquired for Rauch, and Guzman, are singles hitters who don't get on base as much as you want for a top-of-the-order guy. Plus, their power contributions are basically nil. Is this the middle infield that can make your team the best in the division? Well, the Phillies have Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. The Marlins have Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla.

Another way I've heard the Guzman re-signing assessed, relevant only depending on what turns Washington's rebuilding takes in the next two years: Guzman used to be tradable. Now, with this new deal, he's not.

* Not to be ignored the last two games, both losses: Because of Tim Redding's eight-inning complete game Thursday, and because of John Lannan's gutsy seven innings yesterday, Nats relievers have pitched just one inning in the last two games. That's what you call a complete rest. Much needed.

* Chad Cordero plans to be at Dodger Stadium today. Hmmm, interesting.

* This is just an observation. But you might be able to argue that Lastings Milledge, who returned to action yesterday, represents the rare Nats position player who actually hit his target date for coming back from an injury. Austin Kearns, right after his elbow surgery, was supposed to be out three to four weeks; he missed more than a month. Nick Johnson was initially supposed to miss four to six weeks; he'll miss the entire season. Aaron Boone was initially supposed to miss three games after the all-star break; he's still on the DL. Ryan Zimmerman initially tried to battle through his shoulder injury without a DL stint; instead, he missed eight weeks. That said, Paul Lo Duca returned from his right fracture on time. And Ronnie Belliard missed the expected three weeks-plus with his calf strain. Still, the overall trend just shows you: Trust injury timetables like you trust used car salesmen.

* John Lannan: 15 quality starts out of 20. I'm not the biggest fan of using quality starts as a measurement of pitching quality -- six innings and three runs is the textbook definition of averageness -- but still, if you sort through the league leaders in quality starts, here's what you get:

Dan Haren (ARZ) - 18
Tim Hudson (ATL) - 16
Tim Lincecum (SF) - 16
Mark Buehrle (CWS) - 15
Aaron Cook (COL) - 15
John Lannan (WAS) - 15
Cliff Lee (CLE) - 15
Johan Santana (NYM) - 15
Brandon Webb (ARZ) - 15

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2008; 12:46 PM ET
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