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On Hernandez

Let's sort things out with Anderson Hernandez. On-field stuff aside, he seems to fit in well with the Nats. Today, he was surrounded in the clubhouse for a good hour by several of the teammates he knows from winter ball in Dominican. Emilio Gonzalez and Ronnie Belliard and Cristian Guzman formed a veritable roundtable around their new teammate and had him laughing straight up until batting practice.

Tonight, he's starting -- not bad for a guy who was in the minors on Sunday (with a .203 batting average) and on the waiver wire Monday. But after Guzman and Alberto Gonzalez are healthy again, Hernandez's role becomes nebulous.

Guzman is the starter. Gonzalez is another defense-first back-up, probably with more long-term potential than Hernandez.

So, what to expect down the road from Hernandez?

The conversation today with Manny Acta tried to riddle things out.

---

Q: What are you looking for from Anderson?

MA: You know, we just like to have a shortstop out there so we don't have to be putting guys out of position there. Just to go out there and give us the usual defense he can play, and he can contribute and help us win a ballgame.

Q: Is he more a defensive player than an offensive player?

MA: Well, that's always been his strength, that he's a good defensive player. But throughout the minor leagues, he hit in every level he played. So he hasn't hit up here at this level; obviously he hasn't played as much either. But we like people who can catch the ball and this gives us some depth now.

Q: How did Guzman look yesterday [in BP]?

MA: He looked good on the field, and we're anticipating that he might be able to play tomorrow.

Q: Where does Gonzalez stand right now?

MA: Gonzalez is in Florida right now. Their rehab has kind of slowed down now because of the weather, and we're planning on moving him and Dukes out of there so they can do some more activities. (I talked to GM Jim Bowden later. Dukes and Gonzalez will be shipped up to Columbus tomorrow.)

Q: When you first got here, shortstop was a major issue as far as depth. Between Guzman, acquiring these two guys, how do you think the organization is set up?

MA: We're very happy the way we're sitting with having Gonzalez and having Hernandez now. Our depth up the middle wasn't very good before, and now we have Bonifacio, too. It's good. Starting today, basically, we won't need to (play) guys who with all due respect, shortstop is not their best position.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 20, 2008; 6:59 PM ET
 
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Next: A Consistent Pattern

Comments

Tolman!!!

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 20, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Tim Tolman sucks. Zimmerman didn't have a prayer - that throw was already headed in towards the plate as he rounded third.

Posted by: BSG | August 20, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Tim Tolman would have to improve to suck.

Posted by: Anomolous | August 20, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Hernandez is already better than Kearns...

Posted by: BSG | August 20, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Does Carpenter really think that people who live in DC refer to it as "Washington"? Please send the hillbilly back to Oklahoma.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Not watching, listening; had wondered whether that out was on Tolman...

Posted by: BIM | August 20, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Hernandez is a good defensive player, eh?

Posted by: BSG | August 20, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Now Carpenter prematurely calls a double play and ends up looking like an idiot. No reason for a TV guy to do that. None. Just shut up and let the play happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

iSht! Nice throw, newbie.

Posted by: BIM | August 20, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Hernandez OVER ThROWS FIRST!!!

He is fitting in just fine.

Thank you for for another great addition Jimbo

Posted by: CBinDC | August 20, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Hernandez can pitch better than Ayala too

Posted by: uh oh | August 20, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

So much for defense first?

Posted by: SF Fan | August 20, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Bob: "Welcome back to Philadelphia. A beautiful night for baseball. Bob and Don with you, along with Debbie Taylor and a one-nothing lead." Uh, Bob, the Nats are LOSING.

Posted by: Carpenter Stinks | August 20, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

@CBin: You can't saddle that trade directly on JimBow; Ayala wanted out and had earned the "Gas Can" Ayala moniker. I think all the GM's on planet NJ would have taken him for a chorizo & a bag of BP balls at this point. The team got what they could for him, and id Guzzie wasn't dinged, he wouldn't be here right now.

Posted by: BIM | August 20, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea where I am...

Posted by: clutch hit | August 20, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Which is worse: The Nat's offense or hearing Carpenter say "Don't be a jive turkey" and hearing Sutton say "I think I will wear an afro" when talking about an upcoming 70's night at the ballpark

Posted by: Which is worse? | August 20, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

3-0. This game's over. I'll check back in later, just in case. Good night all...

Posted by: BSG | August 20, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

BSG,

The game is over, but I can't get enough of Ryan Langerhans pinch hitting.

Posted by: No Way Jose Rijo | August 20, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

So long NJers....I can't think of anything positive to talk about, so I'll just stay quiet until I do.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 20, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

it's all about the strasburg sweepstakes now, baby! c'mon seattle, start winning a few, wouldja?

Posted by: jf | August 20, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are hard to watch when they aren't scoring any runs. This game has been brutal

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 20, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Debbi Taylor just said that Jack McGeary plays college ball and pro ball. Ummmm that would be against NCAA rules, Debbi.

Posted by: Debbi Taylor is an idiot | August 20, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Bright spot: Estrada looks pretty decent

Debbie Taylor stinks

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 20, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals are five games away from the longest losing streak of a Washington baseball team of my time. The 1959 Senators dropped 17 straight. The expansion Nats twice lost 14 in a row and once lost 13 in a row. You know it's gotten bad when hardly anyone cares enough to blog during games.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 20, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

How 'bout those 2008b Nationals!?! Section 506 where are you???

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Terrible hitting = more losing = higher drafting spot. These guys are geniuses.

Seriously though, the Nats were more respectable when they first came from Montreal. How could it have gotten this bad?

Posted by: The Plan is working | August 20, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

FLop is Hitting .333 in 36 games for the Bob Carpenter's beloved Cards. Wound meet salt. Salt, wound.

Posted by: Softball Girl | August 20, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Could the post game show have a worse set?

Posted by: MASN does stink | August 20, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

have you forsaken us, father flynniegan?

Posted by: natsscribe | August 20, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Hard to believe that we couldn't get anything for him.

FLop is Hitting .333 in 36 games for the Bob Carpenter's beloved Cards. Wound meet salt. Salt, wound.

Posted by: Softball Girl | August 20, 2008 9:41 PM

Posted by: Bowden is a FLop | August 20, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Softball Girl,
re: FLop, that's 36 AB's. He's found a way to get 12 hits in August. Which I would make fun of, if it wasn't approaching the Nats' team total.

Egads, this reeks. I guess a silver lining is that while 95 losses and a decent finish would allow the FO to sit back, say the plan is working, and wait on the kids, 105 losses and a tailspin forces their hand at least a little bit to make some changes (*Harris* or even JimBo) and to get some legitimate MLB help for 09.

Another season of this and the resulting Clippers-esque "loser brand" would be tough for the Lerners and Kasten (no strangers to successful ventures) to swallow. I think they're ok with slow progress, but you have to, you know, pro-gress.

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 20, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

@Softball Girl

The 29 other GMs aren't going to do anything to give JimBow any help because of his excessive demands in trade talks. Why offer the Nats any help when you can see them slowly die on the vine? Many media outlets have chronicled how JimBow often asks for a pound of filet mignon in exchange for a pound of ground round in trade talks.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 20, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

NiB: thx

ABs not games. My bad.

Posted by: Softball Girl | August 20, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

@ leetee1955

What you said goes along with a quote I read today from Aaron Crow's father saying that other GM's were congratulating Crow for sticking it to the Nats.

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 20, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Source, NatsVerse? It would be interesting to read it in context.

Posted by: Atlanta | August 20, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Yep, Aaron Crow sure got the last laugh.

Posted by: John O. | August 20, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Context for Crow's Dad comments:

http://blogs.cjonline.com/index.php?entry=7791


Some Crow news courtesy of Hendo's Hutch:

http://blogs.cjonline.com/index.php?entry=7791

Also, from the Coverage is Happening Department, the Kids Post area of the Style section had a piece on the Nats yesterday (including an interview with Teddy). In today's Style section, an escapes piece on Harrisburg mentions the Senators. Attaboys and gals (as the case may be) for those items.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 20, 2008 11:56 AM

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 20, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

The exact quote is:

"There have been numerous teams that have shown elation over Aaron's decision," Kevin said. "Teams know what Aaron can do. It takes a lot of guts to do what he did, and that's the way he pitches. All the other 29 teams realize that, too."

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 20, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Easy for them to talk when it costs them nothing. Which one of those 29 GMs will be the one to give Crow $9 M and a major league contract next year?

In the meantime, there are 300 some days left for Crow to reduce his value beyond what being in a draft with Strasburg and other pitchers one year (or more) younger than him has already done. In that sense, the other GMs are also happy because if Crow's value drops, their 2009 first rounders have an living example of what happens if you take your chances.

It's a win-win situation for everyone - except the Nats and Crow.

Posted by: L Street | August 20, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Natsverse,
I don't read that as giddiness over "sticking it to the Nats" at all. I read that as "happy this talented kid will be available to draft next year."

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 20, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Don't wish Crow ill will, but I won't shed any tears if something happens and he ends up going much later in the draft. Bowden should still go. On him I do wish ill will

Posted by: 117 F | August 20, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

If it makes any difference the franchise record for consecutive losses is 20 by the initial Montreal Expos in 1969.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 20, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

With our trip to Wrigley this weekend and Manny (Ramirez that is, not Acta) and company coming to town next week, 20 losses in a row is a distinct possiblity.

Posted by: BSG | August 20, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

NIB,

My thinking was why would multiple teams show elation? Only one of them can draft him. So unless multiple teams have a plan to draft him I am not sure why teams would be "elated". It is all spin by the Crow family anyway. Who knows what exactly was said and what was meant. You might be right.

Natsverse,
I don't read that as giddiness over "sticking it to the Nats" at all. I read that as "happy this talented kid will be available to draft next year."

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 20, 2008 10:55 PM

Posted by: NatsVerse | August 20, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, normally i'm pretty sportsmanlike, but I'll be pretty satisfied if Mr. Crow meets Dr. Andrews sometime in the next 8 months..

Posted by: Section 303 | August 21, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

hochevar drafted late first round in 2005, became first pick overall the year after. He pitched for the fort worth cats the year leading up to the draft, as well. It can happen sometimes. It isnt like this kids career is over or anything. and yes, debb taylor does sound and act like a preschool teacher lol

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Manny vs our late-inning pitching = more pain. (But I'll be there next week because, yes, I do want to see Manny Being Manny.)

Posted by: samantha7 | August 21, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

We're building an image here that is going to take a long time to repair, one that, in the short term, may cost us talents like Strasburg. Is everybody really that naive to think that Strasburg won't call Boras and give the big fat ixnay to DC, and that Boras won't then make that happen? I mean, come on.

This organization is in a BAD way right now. Jim and Stan may be selling The Plan to us, but they need to start selling it to the rest of the baseball world because it's obvious nobody else understands or even knows about it.

Posted by: Carl Williams | August 21, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

"Is everybody really that naive to think that Strasburg won't call Boras and give the big fat ixnay to DC, and that Boras won't then make that happen?"

If the Nationals get the number one pick next year and are intent on drafting Strasburg, there's nothing Boras can do to prevent that from happening. And once they draft him, he either has to sign with them by Aug 15th or wait until the next draft to get picked by some other team, just like Crow is doing now. This is MLB, not the NFL. Different draft rules apply, chief among them that draft picks cannot be traded in MLB. Players really do not have any choice over which team drafts them, as Crow found out the hard way.

Posted by: do you feel a draft here? | August 21, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

That was a very damming assessment of the Nats by Heller in the Times today.
Manny may in fact be a casualty. I am no fan of Bowden and he should be fired immediately. I think his arrogance , conceit and bluster has set the Nats back years. His attitude had a role in the Crow debacle. If I was Kasten and the Lerners I would have Rizzo as the interim GM or have Kasten take over until a new one is found.

Speaking of GMs Brian Cashman would bring respect and credibility but I am not sure he could operate without a 200mm budget and we know $200mm is not going to happen with the Nats. I also hope the FO does not go and saddle itself with a monstrous FA agent contract just for the sake of placating the fans. We have to be smart. Kasten and the Lerners have to start repairing this team's reputation. Unless they hire a GM with respect in the industry, one can forget about signing Strasburg. He will not come.

Posted by: mjames | August 21, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

The latest post.

Posted by: What's new? | August 21, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

What could happen regarding Strasburg is that Boras will say he won't sign for less than $15 million or $20 million. That will scare off a lot of teams (not just the Nats) so that Strasburg drops to the Yankees or some other team that is willing to pay.

The Nats aren't that concerned about building a winning team. It is still hard to believe they passed on their #1 pick for the sake of $500,000. What if the Redskins did that? There would be a huge revolt in this town.

Passing on your #1 for $500,000 in MLB is equivalent to fighting over who pays for a FedEX in the shopping mall business.

The only bright side for me is the losing steak. If the Nats can get the losing streak up to 20 or 25 games, the Nats might begin to feel an urgency to invest in their future.

Posted by: EdDC | August 21, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

No wonder they move players out of Viera to get some more rehab time. Habitues of Space Coast Stadium in March may want to check out Florida Today web site to decide whether Viera ain't more ideal for Oly diving and swimming trials.
http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

Posted by: Sand Hills Native | August 21, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

If the football team's #1 pick passes gas, the picture is on WaPo page one above the fold.

**************
What if the Redskins passed on their #1 pick for the sake of $500,000? There would be a huge revolt in this town.
Posted by: EdDC | August 21, 2008 8:54 AM

Posted by: Not really a fair comparison | August 21, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

This August reminds me of many Augusts of yesteryear when the Senators/Nats were always in last place. Many of us veterans of those years have a comfortable feeling that in a drastically changed world the Nats are the one item that hasn't changed. Even the terrible service at the concessionaires is reminiscent of the old days at Griffith Stadium. We old-timers are in a comfort zone.

One pesky thought: I would like to see some evidence (perhaps next year?) that the boys of summer have received instruction from someone somewhere in the rudiments of baseball. Pitchers who can't pitch, batters who cannot hit, bunters who can't bunt, fielders who can't field. Clearly, Acta is not teaching—he just looked away when Ballester came back to the dugout after unsuccessfully trying to bunt last night. Hernandez's lollipop throw to first was a classic. Is this Bowden's job, too?


Posted by: JohnR(VA) | August 21, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"If the football team's #1 pick passes gas, the picture is on WaPo page one above the fold."

And the crack WaPo web team is already hard at work perfecting the smell-o-vision technology to complement that.

Posted by: what, you think i'm kidding? | August 21, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

That would be Emilio Bonifacio, not Emilio Gonzalez, Mr. Harlan.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 21, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Right. Bonifacio is the speedy one. Got it.

******
That would be Emilio Bonifacio, not Emilio Gonzalez, Mr. Harlan.

Posted by: John in Mpls | August 21, 2008 1:41 PM

Posted by: NR Sr. Harlan | August 21, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

And the crack WaPo web team is already hard at work perfecting the smell-o-vision technology to complement that.

Posted by: what, you think i'm kidding? | August 21, 20

Posted by: again, we are the butt of your jokes... | August 21, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

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