A battery debuts
OK, I'm putting out a challenge. Anybody with a predilection for trivia, arcana or research has the chance to make my day. If you've got dinner plans soon, don't even try.
I'm trying to figure out when a major league team last had both its starting pitcher and catcher making their major league debuts in tandem. That's what the Nats have tonight, as Luke Montz catches Shairon Martis.
Manny Acta had indicated even yesterday that Montz would catch tonight. Montz made sure that just about his entire family tree made the trip from Louisiana to Atlanta. His parents are here; his girlfriend is here; his brother is here -- 15 people total. That includes two surprise visitors, and Montz is hoping one of those is his grandfather, just diagnosed with lung cancer.
Montz had all the pre-game jitters today in the clubhouse, but he's comforted by his familiarity with Martis, acquired by the Nats on July 2006 in a trade with San Francisco for Mike Stanton.
"Two years ago when he first got traded over from the Giants, he made it over to [Class A] Potomac that year, and we've been together since then," Montz said. "That whole season, and last year in Class AA, and this whole season. He left for Class AAA a little bit before I did, but pretty much this whole season we've been together."
Martis is only 21. Acta today emphasized that the team sees him as a future starter: "We're not auditioning him for our bullpen next year. He's not necessarily here just so we can put him in the 'pen next year. He just earned the promotion, and we're going to see him. We still think of him as a starter."
Martis is from Curacao (or, as Nats Park Clint says, ker-A-ko). He threw seven hitless innings during his one appearance -- representing the Netherlands -- in the World Baseball Classic. In 2007, he led all Nats minor leaguers in wins (14) and innings pitched (151). He represented the Netherlands this summer again in Beijing, going 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. Hopefully his pitching is more of a finished product than his unofficial Web site.
A few other notes...
* Shawn Hill will have arthroscopic right elbow surgery tomorrow afternoon in Pensacola, Fla., performed by Dr. James Andrews. We'll know more tomorrow about whether ossified build-up around there can be cleaned out.
* Collin Balester, who had been scratched from his start (scheduled for Friday) because of a mild left glut strain, thinks he'll be ready to go by Tuesday, when the team opens its series against the Mets. But nothing is set yet. Balester said he thinks his injury occurred when he was warming up before his recent start. During one delivery in the bullpen, his leg slipped a bit. "It slipped one time," Balester said. "That's the only thing I could think of what it might be."
* Jim Bowden said today that Dmitri Young (currently rehabbing with Class A Vermont) will join the team Sunday night, meaning he'll be in uniform on Tuesday. He'll almost certainly come off the bench. "He may give Manny a switch hitter off the bench," Bowden said. "I think we're all very pleased with what Ronnie Belliard has done and Aaron [Boone] has done, but I'm sure Manny will work him in. I don't know what we're expecting. I don't think we'll know until he gets up here and we see him."
Oh, one more thing...
Revised Nats lineup...
Harris -- 7
Guzman -- 6
Zimmerman -- 5
Milledge -- 8
Belliard -- 3
Dukes -- 9
Hernandez -- 4
Montz -- 2
Martis -- 1
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