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What's the catch?

You can't say the Nats do nothing well. When it comes to stocking catchers up like a Sam's Club stockpiles club soda, the Nats have no equal. Obviously, the team cannot keep four catchers on the roster for long. Johnny Estrada, recalled today, knows as much. Manny Acta knows as much, too. Right now, at least according to the official active roster, Washington has three outfielders. (Trivia question that I cannot answer: What was the last team to have more catchers than outfielders on its roster?)

With Ryan Zimmerman possibly ready to return to the big leagues by the end of this series, the Nats need to solve this puzzle quite soon.

But in the meantime, Estrada is playing tonight. Paul Lo Duca is starting in left field. And oddly enough, the team's starter and back-up both get to watch.

If you're wondering, by the way, Estrada can play first base. Maybe... slightly. He manned the position for one year while a freshman at Fresno City College. (The team already had a sophomore catcher, "kind of a leader," Estrada said.)

Estrada said he feels fully recovered from his right elbow injury. While in Harrisburg, he noticed that his throwing strength had almost entirely returned; he felt a flash of his old arm strength, he said. But hitting big league pitching? He might need some time to adjust. "You can't simulate big league pitching down in the Eastern League or the Carolina League," he said.

Here is some of what Acta said about carrying four catchers.

"Well, [Estrada] completed his rehab and we have to take a look at him and see where he's at right now. It is July. We do have four catchers. And we have to make some decisions. So, we'll take a look at Johnny.

"We don't have any problem with the catchers we have here, because Lo Duca is playing left field today and he can play first base and we are blessed to have a bunch of guys that are very versatile. We have Orr who can play the infield and outfield. Willie Harris can do the same thing. So, we're covered when it comes to the position players."

Other quick notes.

* Odalis Perez said he was fined $1,500 for his Angel Hernandez post-balk tirade. (He's appealing the fine.)

* Aaron Boone, currently on the DL with a left calf strain, is coming along more slowly than he'd hoped. Chances are, he won't be ready to rejoin the team on Tuesday, as originally planned.

* [LATE EDIT] Just before the game, the Nationals removed Dmitri Young from their lineup because of a high blood-sugar level. He has been replaced by Ryan Langerhans, who will play LF. Paul Lo Duca will play 1B. Estrada moves from seventh in the lineup to fifth. Langerhans will bat eighth, and Kory Casto -- initially batting eighth -- will bat seventh.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 18, 2008; 7:26 PM ET
 
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Next: Turner Field and its ace

Comments

With some of these moves that he's forced to defend, I get the feeling that Chico's going to walk into the dugout one day and find Manny dangling from the rafters.

Posted by: Chris | July 18, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I hope pray that the Lerners remember this night and this starting lineup when evaluating JimBow's body of work as general manager. I thought this was the traveling squad for an exhibition game against the Braves at West Palm Beach, Fla. This has got to be one of the worst starting lineups outside of World War II.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 18, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow only $1,500 for completely calling out the umpire. That is great, I guess that MLB went to the video tape and realized that Odalis was pretty much right in his assessment.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | July 18, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

d'oh....newposted

charlie just said that da meat loaf is out of the lineup tonight because of high blood sugar. it could either be atlanta's heat and humidity or he spent the all-star break locked in a bakery.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 18, 2008 7:41 PM

Posted by: natsscribe | July 18, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Just when you think you have seen the worst possible lineup, the Nats post a new one. I don't envy Manny's job filling out the lineup card each night. Woof.

Posted by: John | July 18, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Good to see that Dmitri and his top-notch medical team have gotten his diabetes under control. That $10M contract JimBo gave him is looking like a better and better deal all the time.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 18, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

fatstrada and da meat loaf must have been locked in together. between the two of them, those guys look like that old wrestling tandem, the wild samoans.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 18, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

@leetee: I agree that this is an exibition game / ST-level lineup. The lack of depth in the current team makeup is killing us slowly.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

What a mess......Read again how Lerner family just loves their Jimbo......This team just get worse and worse....No matter how cool Teddy thinks Jimbo when they Stan tells him the Season ticket re up numbers it may finaly be time to dump what is at best a botton 1/4 GM.

Posted by: JayB | July 18, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

And the Nationals play from behind on yet another night...

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 18, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

not to be facetious, but hudson is having a better at bat than most of the guys in the nats lineup.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 18, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

@JimB: you might want to try using preview before posting.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

PloD= RBI-SB = Incredible!

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

BIM,

PLoD is playing to get outta here.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 18, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

@leetee: The question is, to where? I don't see where anybody currently needs a loud-mouthed, singles-hitting catcher.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Having to listen to Bob Carpenter do the play by play for this craptastic team just adds serious insult to injury. Or perhaps, maybe we're just getting the announcers the team deserves.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 18, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

@leetee,

I certainly hope we oblige him! (LoDuca)...I would trade him for two tickets to a Kenny Chesney concert (and I detest country music) or a pair of boots. I think he's gone before the trade deadline and I'm hoping like heck he plays great the next week or so.

Posted by: joNAThan | July 18, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

CiL, mute your audio & tune into Charlie & Dave on 3WT(107.7fm); I find them much more soothing than the Carpenter/Sutton combo on the tube. It's as good as Valium at this point in the season.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Echoing the sentiments of others re. the line-up. I was walking home and listening to the pre-game on the radio, and groaning out loud as Dave Jageler read through each spot in the line-up. This is certainly a new low... I'm amazed we got two runs.

Posted by: JennX | July 18, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

What's worse than watching this Nats game with a beer in your hand? Right, looking in the fridge and realizing that someone has raided every single beer.

This could end up being a Netflix night, real soon.

Posted by: Dale | July 18, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if Redding can/is allowed to go beyond 6 innings tonight, but I'm not seeing it.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Good call, BIM--it's better even though my directv has a delay--so I hear what happens before I see it. So I can look away.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | July 18, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Need I say more about Estrada (1-bounce attempt on K.Johnson's SBA)? JimBo, for the love of the team and the fans, CUT HIM!

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

@CiL - LOL!

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

New season of Monk in ten minutes. :-(

Posted by: nsfw | July 18, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Bet - Pop-up to infield to end the inning.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, he grounded out instead - my bad.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Why give Casto the green light there? He should have been taking all the way.

Posted by: John | July 18, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Good move - pinch hit for Redding gets a single.

Bad move - allowing Plod to hit and kill the rally.

Posted by: SF Fan | July 18, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

My hopes for Redding today were clearly in vain.

Dale- Sorry about your raided beer. But do you really think you will miss anything if you miss an inning or two while you go out to get more? Don't you think that each inning you watch will only make you need the beer more?

One last thing- if Barack Obama knew/believed that only 9,000 households would be watching this game, would he have paid for the commercial I just saw?

Posted by: Positively Half St. | July 18, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

SF Fan-

C'mon, you can't pinch hit for the catcher this early!

Oh, wait, PLoD isn't the catcher, and we have 4 anyway. My mistake.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | July 18, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Wait, Bergmann is a reliever? Did I miss something?

Posted by: SF Fan | July 18, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, can anyone come up with a post All Star game MLB boxscore that has only one starter beginning the game with a batting average higher than .235. Just imagine how it would look if Guzzie got hurt or took a day off. This roster stinks.

Posted by: McNatland | July 18, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

All 4 batters on the bench hit higher than .235...

Posted by: SF Fan | July 18, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Bergmann hasen't worked since the 10th, but I'm not commfortable with Manny using him this way either.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Positively,

The beer is really not enough. This would start a cycle of baseball depression for which the only known cure is perhaps, dare I say, football season.

Posted by: Dale | July 18, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The beer is really not enough. This would start a cycle of baseball depression for which the only known cure is perhaps, dare I say, football season.

------------------------------------------

That, or Spring Training 2009

Posted by: Positively Half St. | July 18, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

From DaveJ: "Estrada makes another bid for a base hit". What, was it too low?? Estrada doesn't make "bids" for base-hits, he grounds into FC/FO/GO; it's what he does.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

And I too noticed that this lineup has Guzman hitting some 80 points higher than the next highest hitter on the team. This lineup card should be framed and pointed to as example A for why the 9000 televisions tuned in is about to dramatically shrink.

Posted by: Dale | July 18, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

@Dale: I echo +HS - Football might fill time (AA), but the only cure is Spring Training (getting clean).

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Odds on GIDP?

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Bet off - FC4-3.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm the lead voice in the "Sack captain Red@ss" club. Sorry, that's just the way I'm built.

Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Gooz!

C'Mon Kearns

Posted by: Positively Half St. | July 18, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Did the Nats just score 5 runs on Tim Hudson?

Posted by: joNAThan | July 18, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I miss Milledge, Dukes and Zimmerman.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | July 18, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Nah that was the AAA ST pickup team

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Now that the DP we like!!

Posted by: InParis | July 18, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

C'mon FLop, get the rally started!

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 18, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Did I really write that?

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 18, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

not guzman! he's the last nat standing.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 18, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

**sigh** the typical futile nats rally. come close enough to lose by a run.

Posted by: natsscribe | July 18, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

lol shocker Kearns doesn't come through

Posted by: Jason | July 18, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

You guys are far too negative for my taste. I'm going back to the WeveGotHeart.com ladies.

Posted by: firejimbowden.blogspot.com | July 18, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

It was unfortunate that they were put in the hole early by Redding but I was impressed with the way the Nats battled back, even if they did fall short in the end.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 18, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Also: welcome back, Jenn!

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 18, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

SF Fan, snippet from the team site:

...For Jason Bergmann, however, the layoff provided too much time -- between his last start and his next one.

With that in mind, Bergmann will be available out of the bullpen for the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Atlanta, and manager Manny Acta said he intends to get Bergmann in at least one game. He'll then make his scheduled return to the rotation next Tuesday in San Francisco.

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 18, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, natsfan1a. I turned off the game after posting, though, to watch Atonement. Much more uplifting... :/

Posted by: JennX | July 18, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

What a nice game! Battled to the last out. Should have been an extra-innings affair but Kearns got jobbed out of an rbi by the 1st base ump who wants to see himself and Chipper on tv. Thursday night I was watching the O's loss to the Tigers with a life-ling O's fan, and we agreed that if it goes to the last at-bat, the game's a success. 70% of batted balls end up in outs-even Kearn's lashed line drive that would have put the Nats in the lead if it had been among the 30% which find the green grass. The team fought hard. It was nice to see Lo Duca make the tough pick on the double play at 1st, plus his rbi and stolen base. The 9th was a thing of beauty with Felipe coming through in the pinch, followed by Willie Harris. It was an exciting, hard-fought game. I'm looking forward to tommorow.

Posted by: flynnie | July 19, 2008 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Steinberg now has an every Friday feature in which he lists the "most viewed" stories to answer "internet media critics." No mention of how the story was linked to the front page. It's like reporting a game without mentioning that the home team got to start each inning with a man on third and an extra out. Anyhow, I posted this so you don't have to:

*******************************************

Once again how to lie with statistics. When the Nats gamers are not linked - AT ALL - to the front page, or are linked under the sub-heading "more local news" there are less hits. Be sure to do a front page feature on these rock-solid numbers. It's becoming a tradition. Put Ronnie Belliard's walk-off against the O's in the bottom of the 12th on the front page with a color photo instead of b+w on E7 and there would be a massive number of hits. But you don't care so your readers don't care. And it has become a point of honor with you, an argument you must win, Steinster, that no one cares about the Nats. So just keep those eyes shut tight at the 100,00+ that showed up for the O's series. Affect an attitude of glib ennui. You make the Times Sports section look better every day.

Posted by: flynnie | July 19, 2008 1:32 AM

Posted by: flynnie | July 19, 2008 2:08 AM | Report abuse

You're welcome, SF. Hope that you'll get to see our guys in person in the next series.

I thought the same thing about that play with Kearns at 1st, flynnie. It was an exciting game to watch. Also, they are hitting Hudson pretty well lately, it seems. Lo Duca's running reminded me a bit of Baerga (funniest baserunner ever) as he nabbed his base. That was fun. :D

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 19, 2008 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for replying to Steinberg, flynnie. I hadn't seen the item, as I don't tend to follow the bog unless a fellow fan points me there to view his latest salvo. Wonder when "follow the money" became "follow the clicks"?

Posted by: natsfan1a | July 19, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

These quotes are so shallow and stupid.

"Everybody, one through nine, battled real hard," Langerhans said. "I think it's one of those things that even though it's a tough loss, it's something we can build on."

This team continues to suck big time. What a terrible lineup. Kearns is not a number 4 hitter. For that matter he is not a 1 ,2,3,5,6,7 hitter. He might play better for someone else but he certainly does not like playing here.

Posted by: mjames | July 19, 2008 7:28 AM | Report abuse

What a difference watching Nats baseball in HD makes. As a FIOS customer, I only get to see this once in a blue moon when they are on MY20 in HD. FIOS does not support MASNHD.

I know Steinberg has minimized the whole HD issue in his discussion of 9000 viewers, but like many thinks, he is wrong. It is a huge issue. Team sucks big time and that is the big issue, yet games in HD would help catch the passing fan's interest for sure.

On that note Steinberg has re-opened another thread recently where he argues HD is not an issue because less than 30% of homes have it.......again just bad use of stats on his part. People who have HD watch sports!

Posted by: JayB | July 19, 2008 8:02 AM | Report abuse

trade lo duca for glen gibson (who has been terrible)!

Posted by: longterm | July 19, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Even on bids for base hits, the Lerners are cheap, is that what you're telling me?

****************
From DaveJ: "Estrada makes another bid for a base hit". What, was it too low??
Posted by: BIM | July 18, 2008 9:07 PM

Posted by: Section 3 | July 19, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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