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Comments galore on the call-ups

The Nats' clubhouse felt crowded today, with just a little of that first-day exuberance. The Wash Times' Ben Goessling observed that it felt like the first day of school. Lots of hugs and good-to-see-yas. Kory Casto is back (with a beard... lots of hard miles). Roger Bernadina is back. And of course, Alberto Gonzalez is back.

The pitchers -- Shairon Martis, Levale Speigner and Mike Hinckley -- are the bigger story.

First, a comment about the one prospect who didn't get called up, Harrisburg's Jordan Zimmerman. GM Jim Bowden had an interesting comment about why the organization decided not to bring up Zimmermann for September.

"Well he had some biceps tendinitis at the end of the year," Bowden said. "Before he got the tendinitis -- this was in early August -- we were thinking about bringing him up and putting him in the rotation, but then when he got the tendinitis, with the innings he'd pitched and the fact that he doesn't have to go on the roster for Rule 5 protection, we felt like it was better to handle him like John Lannan where we shut him down (in 2007). So, we shut him down. And you know, he'll be in big league camp next spring and he'll have a chance to make our rotation out of spring training. But we felt that was best because of the innings, the biceps tendinitis and the fact that we didn't have to put him on the roster."

Now, I'll just let the comments flood. First, I'll post Bowden's thoughts on the overall group of bullpen arms. Then, I'll give you Manny Acta's thoughts on each new arm.


Bowden: "Each guy is different why they're here. Most of our call-ups have been up. Our September call-ups were here in June. So, you've got 22-year-old Collin Balester already here. Our call-ups are here. The rest of these guys are each different. In the case of (Shairon) Martis, he is a guy that deserves the opportunity. (Levale) Speigner came on at the end; we've got to make a decision on him. Mike Hinckley, who since I've been here has never performed... prior to being here, he was the one guy I was told I couldn't trade when I first got here. So, I got a call three weeks ago saying he's now throwing 90-93 mph. We sent four guys in to see him at different times. All four came back with the same response: This guy is going to be a lefty in the bullpen, good curveball, his stuff has come back. We want to see him. Speigner threw great; he was up to 94, and his breaking ball is getting better. We need to see it so we can make a decision on the 40-man for him.


and now Acta...

(on Hinckley's role) He's going to come in and pitch out of the pen and mostly face left-handed hitters so we can see how much progress he made in the minor leagues. That was something we told him when we sent him down: Go down there and try to get every lefty out who comes across your path. He might have a future doing that, so that's what he is going to do. I left for a few years, and that's when he kind of fell off the chart in prospect status here. But when I got over here last year, he was already not the same guy. We just decided this year to put him in the bullpen, and he has that good breaking ball. He has gotten some of his velocity back, and all he needs to do is throw strikes and see if he can take it to this level.

(on Martis) He's going to pitch out of the pen, too, and get some innings, which he hasn't done much in the minor leagues. Nobody has labeled him as either (a starter or a reliever); he's only 21 years old. He pitched well in the starting rotation down (in Class AAA), but the fact is, we do have our five starters right here, and we're just going to give him some innings anywhere we can.

(on Speigner) It wasn't easy (for him last year). It was a tough one, because you can hide a Rule 5 guy if you have a first division club and a starting rotation that can go deep in games. Last year for us obviously everybody had to be out there on almost an every-other-day basis out of the 'pen, and we couldn't hide anybody. You either had to contribute or you were going to get spanked around a little bit. And that was his case. At the beginning he pitched later, and then obviously he couldn't make the adjustment up here and we couldn't hide him. It was tough. But you have to give him credit, because we didn't bring him to big leagues camp this year. He went down there and did a very good job - he went all the way down to Class AA and never complained. He pitched his way to Class AAA, put some good numbers up, and he found himself up here again.

(on a change of philosophy with Sept. call-ups this year... last year they had more top prospects) It is a different group of guys, because the other guys were on a lower level. They were more down-the-road future guys for us. (Ross) Detwiler, we knew he wasn't going to be part of our immediate future, and (Justin) Maxwell actually impressed us, but we didn't think he was that close. But these guys are guys that are either going to contribute to this club next year, or we're going to find out that they're not going to be part of it. So these guys, it will be easier to read for us.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 1, 2008; 2:43 PM ET
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Next: At the root of the W streak


Maybe JimBow learned his lesson a year ago when recalling Mazwell and Detwiler caused both to be prematurely placed on the 40-man roster.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 1, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Redding threw alot of pitches in the first. I hope he is just getting warm. BTW: This line-up is my favorite. I think Harris is our best lead-off man and Bonifacio batting eighth is where he belongs. (Willie just singled, to enforce my statement about lead-off) GO NATS!

Posted by: Nick from Germantown | September 1, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

This lineup is my favourite too, Nick. And, they came through with two and gave Tim a breather.

And leetee1955, I think this looks like a much wiser callup strategy. They have to make decisions on these guys, and now's the time.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 1, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

And Florida just beat Atlanta with a sac fly in the bottom of the 9th. Playing for 4th place......

Hmm, guess we'll see the new guys out of the 'pen today.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 1, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

ok. can dukes please not be hurt on that play? thatd be great...

Posted by: natsinthevalley | September 1, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Interesting inning. Isn't this the second time Redding has had to score from 1st on a triple? Especially when he should be resting on the bench after a sac bunt?

Hitting for the cycle in an inning is cool. Thank you, Nats...

Posted by: cat daddy | September 1, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love this newly-discovered offensive production from our Smashionals!
(he types as Boni strikes out...)
Keep it up, this is especially fun against the Sillies!

Cheers and happy baseball!

Posted by: nats del negro | September 1, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Good info.
On vacation and out of touch but the espn crawler shows Nats up by 6. Wow!

Go Nats!

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | September 1, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Top 5th markjd4469 (a Philly fan)

"Can someone please tell me which of these teams is SUPPOSED to be the team with the potent offense? The only thing offensive today is the whole Phillie performance!!"

Yeah ndn, it's fun and a good job by Tim[now that one can comment]
Did Victorino bunt? If he did he's a POS....

Posted by: cat daddy | September 1, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

yeah, baby!

Posted by: natsscribe | September 1, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

that would be win #7

Posted by: SF Fan | September 1, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

WIN #7 in a row! Great job by Readding. Great catch by Zim. Nice hitting, fielding and executing. #8 tomorrow!!! Be there!

Posted by: Nick from Germantown | September 1, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Nats roll a 7, Phillies roll craps. Seven words for seven in a row. GO NATS...STAY HOT

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | September 1, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Haven't read the post or comments yet but I just have to say WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! The last time that our guys won 7 in a row? That would be during the fabled June '05 win streak.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 1, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Go catch the Braves, keep rolling Nats.

At least with J Zimmerman we didn't hear that he is day to day. I like that they are being precautious with him.

Posted by: Cabraman | September 1, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I know we want the 1st draft pick, but I wouldn't trade this 7-game streak. I really want it to go to 11. It would make up for a lot of pain this year.

I really hoped to see Hinckley today, although I am much more excited about Shairon Martis longterm. The win is all that matters, though. That, and the fact that we at least have one pitcher in double digits for wins this year. Way to go Redding- I am amazed we didn't trade you.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | September 1, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Redding is interesting. I don't mind having one of him or Perez back next year. If he's over his injuries, then he could help for a few years. Rotation is a big spoon full of sugar in this take your medicine year.

Oh, Cat Daddy - Another of our Expo loyalists? Their some of our "favourites." Or are you our secret Aussie connection??

Posted by: PTBNL | September 1, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"Their {sic - They're} some of our 'favourites.'"

My editor also is hoping for innings management on some of our young starters like Lannan, but not really expecting it.

Posted by: PTBNL's editor | September 1, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

So the AP story says that both dugouts were warned in the 3rd inning (after Victorino got hit by Redding, and Zim got a high and tight.) Happ hit Dukes (again!) in the 4th, why wasn't he ejected? Is it because Dukes has a reputation for hogging the plate?

Posted by: SF Fan | September 1, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Well then I guess there's only one thing left to do.

Win the whole #@!&* thing.

Posted by: Jake on the draft pick | September 1, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

the nats now seem to protect hitters in the order, add nick to order next year and we mignt be able to take this offence to next year

Posted by: pat from frederick | September 1, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

OK, NatsFan1a, 2 sweeps and a first game against Philly. You have the bridge.

I'm 10-7 for tomorrow, very possibly 10-51, up in the cheap seats.

Posted by: CE | September 1, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

sffan, i didn't see dukes get hit, but warning the benches doesn't necessarily mean they automatically have to throw out anyone that hits a batter. it's still up to the judgement of the ump whether it was intentional or not.

Posted by: 231 | September 1, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, yeah, I'm an Expo loyalist since 1984. But, the spelling thing is more the blame of a British grandmother sending children's books at Xmas to a central Texas boy. The colour "grey" is also her fault. Nice catch, though...

Great win today. 10 for Redding and just 10 more to avoid that triple digit thingy. Sad that Chico went to the trouble of posting a huge article on the callups, but the comment flood didn't happen because they didn't get in the game.
Thanks, Mr. Harlan.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 1, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

So what does a solid, healthy September do for the Nats front office? What kind of mindset would the front office have if the Nats finished the rest of the season at .500 and end up 21-14 over the last 35 games? Is that enough of a sample to reinforce the core players only need an additional bat and starter to be competitive? Or will the organization continue to sign cast offs to one year deals and let the 23 year olds play with a merry band of gypsy free agents as support?

I had hoped the first two thirds of the season would push the organization to reevaluate and make changes, draft Strasburg and overhaul the roster.

But now I am at a crossroads. The last two weeks has me seeing through Nats tinted glasses I guess. I don't see a superstar that can carry an offense for 30 days like Vlad Guerrero or Papi Ortiz, but 3-4 guys hitting on this team makes it pretty solid. Taking walks. Big innings. Hitting with RISP. Decent pitching from the starters and the bullpen. Its fun to watch and follow.

I hope the Nats settle for Alex White in the draft and slide by the Braves for fourth in the NL East. I hope the momentum carries over into the offseason and the Nats make a splash or two in free agency. I'd love to be in Vegas at the Hilton during the meetings and celebrating a big signing in December.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | September 1, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, CE. Well done!

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 1, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

As I now have the bridge thanks to ce, I will say "warp speed, Nats!"

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 1, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Maybe JimBow learned his lesson a year ago when recalling Mazwell and Detwiler caused both to be prematurely placed on the 40-man roster.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 1, 2008 2:50 PM

He did. He didn't fold and give Crow the major league contract like he did with Detweiler. See, that's why the ML contract was such a big deal

And Maxwell is already 24 . . . so if it was ever going to happen for him it better be soon

And, just for the transaction junkies . . . Arizona DFAed Emiliano Fruto to make room for David Eckstein. Another useless pitcher traded by JimBo.

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | September 1, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Ain't this fun?

I am liking the idea that the opponent can score 3, 4, or 5 runs and we still win, (and I bet the pitchers do too.} It's also fun to see the whole dang batting order contribute in the scoring. Gosh, I guess healthy players do make a difference in the lineup. Nice pitching, too!

Posted by: Dale | September 1, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

John Rauch has a record of 0-3 with only one save in 16 innings for Arizona. So far I would say that Hanrahan has been the more effective closer over this period. Rauch's ERA is over 6! I would wager that the trade is definitely in the Nats favor at this point. I do recall seeing a great many posts on this journal blasting Bowden for making this trade. Ironic, isn't it?

Posted by: Dale | September 1, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

GRiP...pretty sure Detwiler didnt sign a major league deal although I believe there were hints of an "understanding" between both parties that Detwiler would be called up if he was successful in A ball.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | September 1, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse


rauch is not the closer. they traded for him to become a setup man again. the fact that he has a save at all is probably because lyon had pitched a few days in a row and needed a night off. so only having one save really doesn't mean anything. his save isn't comparable to hanrahan's saves.

still, you're right that he hasn't pitched as well since going to AZ. but we're talking sample size here.

Posted by: 231 | September 1, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Hi, we lost again today.

Posted by: Notlanta | September 1, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

So did we.

Posted by: Blo's | September 1, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from Boston. Went to Fenway again and had some thoughts. Since that's such a rare occurrence (actually, both are pretty rare occurrences for me) I thought I'd share:

*It's impossible not to be excited when you're in a sold out stadium with ecstatic fans. We bought season tickets in the lower bowl off a guy who wanted to dump them so he could go back and watch the game and so the people around us were real, real nice and not very intoxicated. It was a lot of fun. They cheered a lot, and though it wasn't always "at the right time" in baseball terms, the time was always right for them.

*Boy, being in a playoff race DOES NOT mean you play like professionals. I saw game 2 of the White Sox match-up and the amount of slacking out of Chicago was just embarrassing. As soon as they got down 5-2, they just started phoning it in. Everyone but Griffey just looked like he was trying to go home. I have never, ever seen the Nats play that lazily. It was so bad that it took away from some spectacular Boston playing.

*Where are the minorities? I know the stereotypes about Boston, the Irish, etc, but good gravy! I did not spot a single black fan and only a couple of fans of other races or elasticities. Fans, employees, scalpers, and so on: no minorities! I know Nats Park isn't a bastion of diversity, but good lord, we look like the United Nations in comparison.

*Both teams used a ton of pitchers. 5 each. With designated hitters, of course. I couldn't figure out why they were changing every inning. Anyone? I figure Boston's starter only threw 89 in 5 innings because it was his debut. But as for all the rest.... ?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 1, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, 506! What a turnaround! Dukes is back, Willie Harris is for real, Guz heats back up, Zim is back today with, to quote Dave, "A titanic blast! Over the center field fence and through the garage doors!" Lastings is looking good, Angel Hernandez just needed the brighter lights of the major leagues to see the ball, and Bonifacio is driving opposing pitchers crazy - even today when he got decoyed by Kendrick into a pickoff, he's more fun than the circus! Our park is definitely more comfortable than Fenway, and, after my first week in Boston I went up to a black lady I saw in Newton and asked, "Where is everybody?"

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

With this hitting + our pitching in May and June, we coulda been a contender. A nice, long win streak at last, and

Let's win 25!

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Great post explaining those called up, Chico, which, until this, I did not understand. Now it makes sense.

I was astonished at the number of Philly fans who left the park when it was 6-0 in the 4th! Most of those who parked in the lot at the foot of the Douglas Bridge were Philly fans, some of whom had a good tailgate going. Their beer was cold and the Nats were hot! But the Phillies have some very patient at bats, and for a while there I thought Charlie and The New Guy were going to make Baseball Tonight by walking in 7 runs. The Great Labor Day Bang-Zooming of the Phils!

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Yes Los Doce Ocho and Dale, seeing these guys play like this, seeing the potential, seeing a lineup without the deadwood, gives great hope that a wholesale turnover and FO firings are not the prescriptions for next year. Seeing these guys play as a team is quite fun.
Have any of the big star signings or trades really catapulted any team into lead?

506, how cool to go to Fenway. I paid no attention to the AL, until Orlando Cabrera was traded to the Red Sox in 2004. I was amazed how many substitutions, both bench and bullpen, are made in AL games. I hate the DH, but NL managers actually play more conservatively based on having a pitcher's spot in the lineup.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 2, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

My Universe is spinning out of control. The Nats win 7 and JB's reasoning seems...well... rational. still haven't forgiven JB's draft debacle but hope springs eternal.

As flynnie says,"It's more fun than a circus."

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | September 2, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait till Da Meat Hook gets back from Florida. Then I'll hear the circus music!

Posted by: 419E | September 2, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I was supposed to move to Vermont yesterday because GCL play had ended.

Posted by: NR Meat Hook | September 2, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm up!

Posted by: New post | September 2, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Great posting, Flynnie, but I think that you meant Anderson Hernandez (methinks that Angel Hernandez needs more than bright lights to improve his vision ;-)).

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 2, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

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