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Nationals Journal: February 8, 2009 - February 14, 2009

"How Is Shawn's Arm?"

Not that folks around here ever expected it, but you can cross Shawn Hill off the list of Possible Malcontents list. Absolutely. (Explanation below.) Right now, he feels confident -- cautiously confident -- that his arm will allow for a...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 14, 2009; 4:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Nats Agree To Terms With 23 Players

The Nats agreed to terms with 23 players today, a formality of the spring season, meaning that 62 of the 69 players invited to big league camp now have contracts. Those who still need to work out their contractual terms...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 14, 2009; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The Day When Everybody Is In The Best Shape Of His Life

Clearly, I am a spring training newbie. "Want some sunscreen?" hitting coach Rick Eckstein asked me today, just around 11 a.m., as I followed him to the batting cages. "Nah," I said. "I put some on earlier this morning." Well,...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 14, 2009; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Top Ten Questions For Spring Training

OK. Today it begins. Pitchers and catchers report. Every statistic and every record shares a starting point, zero. It feels a little like the start of a vacation, when everything is alive with possibility, and nobody is yet sunburnt. In...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 14, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Matt Chico, Back On The Mound

Matt Chico has something of a supporting actor role in my dead tree story for tomorrow, but I figured he also deserves a little spotlight. Think back for a moment to one year ago. Chico was coming off a 31-start,...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 13, 2009; 6:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Can Adam Dunn Learn To Hit For Average?

Almost every time Bob Boone has changed jobs during the last decade-plus, he's gained a new perspective on Adam Dunn. Boone, then in the Reds organization, scouted Dunn in high school. ("He looked as big as a tree, and his...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 13, 2009; 1:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
 
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From Viera

This dispatch comes to you by way of the free wi-fi at the Panera Bread, a radiant monument of lunchtime dining that is absolutely the selling point for Viera tourism, if not altogether a reason to move here immediately. As...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 13, 2009; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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MASN's Schedule

MASN will televise 95 Nationals games this season, with the remaining 67 on MASN2. In addition, Washington-area viewers will be able to watch 20 selected Sunday afternoon games on new MASN partner WDCW-50. Those games will be simulcast on MASN....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 13, 2009; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Dunn: "This Is Where I Wanted To Be" (UPDATED)

The story of how Adam Dunn, arguably the most prodigious home run hitter in baseball, came to be standing before a podium in the interview room at Nationals Park yesterday, bathed in floodlights and flanked by beaming members of the...

By Dave Sheinin  |  February 12, 2009; 4:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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More Dunn on the Bog

Sorry, just extricated myself from a meeting and realized I forgot to direct you all to Steinberg's Bog for Dunn details....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 12, 2009; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Nats' Mini-Plans

Sorry, I meant to post something about this yesterday and then things starting happening. While we're all waiting for Adam Dunn to be introduced -- although the Nats' news release was careful not to name the mystery player they were...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 12, 2009; 2:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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If Johnson Is Healthy, Dunn Will Play LF

Provided first baseman Nick Johnson can prove he is healthy, the Washington Nationals prefer use newly acquired free agent Adam Dunn in left field, two sources said today. For much of the last two seasons, injuries have prevented Johnson from...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 12, 2009; 10:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (105)
 
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So, Where Does He Play?

When Adam Dunn swings a bat, fielders hardly ever have to worry about, well, you know, fielding. Last year, for instance, Dunn saw 2,811 pitches. He put jut 12.7 percent of them in play -- the second-lowest total in baseball....

By Chico Harlan  |  February 12, 2009; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Nats Sign Adam Dunn For 2 Years, $20 Million

Aiming to legitimize their lineup and energize their fanbase, the Washington Nationals today agreed to a preliminary two-year, $20 million deal with Adam Dunn, the 29-year-old free agent they have pursued for more than a month. The team is planning...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 11, 2009; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (259)
 
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A Literary Chronology of Washington Spring Training History

In 1901, 80 years before the establishment of Panera Bread, Ban Johnson established the American League. It had eight franchises, among them, the Washington Senators. The team's first official game came April 26, 1901, against the Philadelphia Athletics. In...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 11, 2009; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Chatter Up!

Three baseball chats today. Go here for Boz. Go here for Collin Balester. Go here for Jamie Moyer....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 11, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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The Early Arrivals

Pitchers and catchers do not report, at least officially, until Saturday. But that does not mean that Viera, Fla., is a ghost town this week. First of all, Viera, Fla., is never a ghost town; it has a Target and...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 10, 2009; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Nats Cannot Lure Durham

According to this report from ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, 14-year veteran infielder Ray Durham rejected a minor league contract from the Nationals that would have allowed him to attend spring training, paying $850,000 if he made the ballclub. Durham, according to...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 10, 2009; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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A Modest Upgrade

The Nationals Journal, you have probably noticed, has a minimalist design. There's a little banner up top, a simple font, a clean interface. I inherited this motif, and frankly, I like it. So no, for 2009, we're not exactly planning...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 9, 2009; 4:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
 
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Video: Acta on Hill, Johnson

Today's video clip is Manny Acta discussing the injuries suffered by Shawn Hill and Nick Johnson....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 9, 2009; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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Olsen Signs For $2.8 Million, Avoids Arbitration

Pitcher Scott Olsen today agreed to a one-year, $2.8 million contract, becoming Washington's first arbitration-eligible player to avoid a hearing. Olsen had originally been seeking a 2009 salary of $3.5 million, based on arbitration numbers proposed last month. The Nationals...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 8, 2009; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Glavine Mulls Braves' Offer

From the Associated Press: The Atlanta Braves have made an offer to Tom Glavine, but the 300-game winner hasn't decided whether to accept a significant pay cut. With the start of spring training just a week away, general manager Frank...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 8, 2009; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Strasburg Outtakes

Somebody really smart -- maybe John Updike? maybe a journalism professor? I'm not smart enough to remember -- once suggested that journalism should resemble an iceberg, with only the very best/most relevant facts from the reporting process appearing in the...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 8, 2009; 7:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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