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Nationals Journal: February 22, 2009 - February 28, 2009

Chico's Sunday Story

Here's the promised link. (Thanks for all the comments and suggestions regarding my earlier post; you all have clearly given this thought and I appreciate the exchange of ideas.)...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 28, 2009; 10:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Boz's Sunday Column on Adam Dunn

Early look at Boz's Sunday column: The last two months have shaken Adam Dunn. He hit 40 or more homers five years in a row. He went free agent. Nobody wanted him. He signed for a $3 million pay cut...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 28, 2009; 8:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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What to Expect in '09

Jon DeNunzio suggested I post something on NJ about our plans for this season, and now seems as good a time as any. I've tried to share such info with this crowd in the past, but I haven't addressed the...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 28, 2009; 2:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
 
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Control Issues [Updated w/ Quotes]

Presumably, Ross Detwiler, Washington's first-round pick in 2007, will pitch many more times against big league hitters. Presumably, too, none of those outings will be so excruciating. After pitching in Class A last year, Detwiler failed to record an out...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 28, 2009; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Line On Cabrera

Daniel Cabrera was getting the ball over the plate. And given Cabrera's penchant for wildness, that was a good sign. At least until the Cardinals swung at those pitches. Cabrera became the first Washington starter to allow a run this...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 28, 2009; 1:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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A Shoulder And A No-Show

Sorry for the postless a.m. The hours have a way to keep you occupied -- especially when road trips are involved. We're in Jupiter, Fla., right now, about two hours south of Viera, for a game against the Cardinals. Well,...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 28, 2009; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Bad Situations, Positive Things

Earlier this week, Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten appointed Mike Rizzo to head up a tough project in a foreign country. Rizzo knew baseball scouting, not business, yet this project called for him to be a navigator, a negotiator and...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 27, 2009; 9:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Rizzo Explains The DR Mission

As promised, assistant GM Mike Rizzo was at the park today and held court -- at Stan Kasten's approval and encouragement -- about the recent trip to the Dominican. Stan offered a short introduction (groundrules, really). What follows is a...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 27, 2009; 4:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Notes From The Dominican Republic

Svrluga here, with some notes from more than a week in the Dominican Republic. Hopefully some of it's pertinent. I've now been to Jose Rijo's complex in the hills outside the southern city of San Cristobal several times, including on...

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 27, 2009; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Over The Hill

Shawn Hill's one inning came and went with no runs, no hits and no red flags. Three hours from now, whenever Manny Acta does his quick post-game wrap chat with the media, I'm putting the odds at 98 percent that...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 27, 2009; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Waiting, waiting...

The Fire Jim Bowden blog describes the times we're living as "sitting Shiva with Jim Bowden" and that's a pretty good way of putting it. Are you allowed to read while sitting shiva? Probably not, but what the heck. Here...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 27, 2009; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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GMs, Pitchers, Lineups

We're all on official Bowden watch here. Some pitcher could blow out both elbows on the same pitch today and not make a headline. If you're wondering (and I know you are) Bowden is on the field right now as...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 27, 2009; 9:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Friday Morning Leftovers

Some leftovers from yesterday, when the blog posts were flying. The Dallas Morning News' Rangers blog has tidbits about former Nats Chad Cordero and Odalis Perez.. I was looking for Stephen Strasburg news and came upon this column about his...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 27, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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"It Was Time To Cut That Cord"

Here's the story Barry and I double-teamed for Friday's fishwrap edition. By Barry Svrluga and Chico Harlan Washington Post Staff Writers SAN CRISTOBAL, Dominican Republic, Feb. 26 - The Washington Nationals on Thursday abandoned the training facility they once boasted...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 26, 2009; 10:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Kasten: "Mike Physically Led Our Team In There..."

Team President Stan Kasten just finished addressing the media about today's Normandy-like operation in the Dominican. First, I'll highlight what Kasten said in bullets. Then, you'll get the trasnscript. * The Nats will reduce their Dominican operation from two teams...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 26, 2009; 5:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Oh By The Way

There was a game today. Let's summarize in a paragraph. Washington 2, Detroit 1. The Nats are now 1-1. Nick Johnson went 0-for-2 with no injuries. Dmitri Young (who'd missed the last few days with a hand contusion) appeared as...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 26, 2009; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Zimmermann: 6 Up, 6 Down

Boz just called and reported Jordan Zimmermann went six up, six down. Wish I knew more but Boz has moved on to other topics. Chico is busier than the devil working on the Rijo/Bowden situation so I thought I'd throw...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 26, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Smiley Shows Up

Barry again, from the Dominican: Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo -- the Nats' prospect formerly known as Esmailyn "Smiley" Gonzalez -- showed up at the Nationals' soon-to-be-former training complex in San Cristobal just before 2 p.m. local time. Alvarez had not...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 26, 2009; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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The Odd Outfielder Out

This has been an unusual spring training, P.T. Barnum-ish, and that hasn't made us forget about the guys on the field, but it sure has subtracted from the focus they're getting. And that's a shame. On this point, SK and...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 26, 2009; 1:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Important Breaking News

Sorry if I'm the last to know, but ... we're getting a new Screech??!!?? From the Nats: The Washington Nationals will unveil a new look for "Screech" on Monday, March 2 at the ESPN Zone. Fans are invited to attend...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 26, 2009; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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It's Official: Rijo, Baez Out [Update]

From Barry in the Dominican, again: Jose Rijo just emerged from a 10-minute meeting with Nationals officials, including assistant GM Mike Rizzo. He was relieved of his duties as a special assistant to General Manager Jim Bowden. Also in the...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 26, 2009; 11:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Nats Packing Bags In DR [Update]

[This report comes relayed from Barry Svrluga, on site in the Dominican] The Nationals this morning are disbanding their operation at Jose Rijo's baseball academy in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, and have ordered at least some of their prospects to...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 26, 2009; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Nick Be Nimble, Nick Be Quick

Spring training, Game No. 2. Nats vs. Tigers. Home opener at Space Coast. There's plenty to watch for today, but I'll list the top three things. * Nick Johnson is batting lead-off. "Speedy, Nicky," catcher Wil Nieves shouted to him...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 26, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Rijo Out, Boz In

Well, let's see, It's Day 2 of spring training, but Day 1 of Boz -- that's Thomas Boswell to you search engines -- in Viera. Soon the phone will ring and I'll say "Hi, Boz," and 15-20 minutes later I'll...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 26, 2009; 8:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Rijo To Be Fired

The Washington Nationals have made the decision to fire Jose Rijo, the member of their front office most closely linked to the Smiley Gonzalez fraud, a source with knowledge of the situation said tonight. Rijo owns and operates a baseball...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 25, 2009; 8:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Nats Have Not Contacted Selig

The Washington Nationals, contrary to a published report, have neither requested nor been granted approval from Commissioner Bud Selig to forgo a rule that would require them to consider minority candidates for a general manager opening, a Major League Baseball...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 25, 2009; 8:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Nats Vs. Astros Running Thread

4:05 p.m. -- Valentin hits a rifle back to the box... but a leaping Graves snags it. Game over. Final score: Houston 6, Washington 3. 4:04 p.m. -- Jorge Padilla walks, loading the bases with two outs for Javier Valentin....

By Chico Harlan  |  February 25, 2009; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
 
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The Voice of the Turtle

This was always a great day back in my time in Detroit, because this was the day we'd crank up the radio at 12:30 to hear Ernie Harwell broadcast the Tigers' first spring training game. Just hearing Ernie's voice meant...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 25, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Rivera, Orr To Participate In WBC

For the last few days, Washington pitcher Saul Rivera kept waffling. Maybe yes, maybe no. Finally, he made up his mind: Rivera, the Nats reliever, plans to participate in the World Baseball Classic. Though non-roster invitee Pete Orr will represent...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 24, 2009; 7:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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The Offensive Prospects

Each just wanted to play baseball. Last year, both Chris Marrero and Destin Hood said this -- albeit in very different contexts. Marrero, Washington's 2006 first-round pick, missed the second half of last season with a fibula fracture, the first...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 24, 2009; 5:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Let The Games Begin

The games are almost here, Ian Desmond is OK, and Dmitri Young still can't grip a bat. Those are your morning headlines. That, plus 17 minutes of weather coverage, coming up... First, the games. Tomorrow, the Nats kick off their...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 24, 2009; 9:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
 
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Nats Ownership Encouraging Investigation Of Bowden

Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden said on Monday that he has done nothing wrong. The federal investigators looking into Bowden still aren't so sure, a source familiar with the investigation said. The Nationals, meantime, are waiting to find out,...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 23, 2009; 8:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Young Is Day-To-Day

Just a little interruption of on-the-field news here today. First baseman Dmitri Young, who was hit on the right hand yesterday by a pitch, has a contusion of his left ring finger. X-rays taken today were negative. Young is being...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 23, 2009; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Bowden Denies Wrongdoing [Updated]

Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden this morning denied any wrongful practices in Latin American scouting, saying simply, "I'm innocent of any wrongdoing, and besides that I don't have any comment." Bowden is the highest-ranking baseball official whose name is...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 23, 2009; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (90)
 
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Nationals Release Holdout Perez

The final line on Odalis Perez's second stint with the Washington Nationals: zero appearances, zero returned phone calls, zero benefit whatsoever. Today, the Nationals released Perez, 31, terminating the waiting game that began almost two weeks ago when the left-hander...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 23, 2009; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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The Nats Plan Their Next Steps

Last night, more details trickled out about the nature of the federal investigation involving Nationals GM Jim Bowden. This morning, the Nationals are still planning how best -- if at all -- to respond to the matter. The latest SI.com...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 23, 2009; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Vote for Your Favorite Comeback Kid

Which of these Nats has the best chance to the Comeback Player of the Year? poll by twiigs.com...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 23, 2009; 7:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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SI.com: Feds Investigating Bowden

Melissa Segura of SI.com, who broke the Esmailyn Gonzalez story, reports that Jim Bowden is being investigated by federal investigators for skimming signing bonuses as far back as 1994 when he was with the Cincinnati Reds. Segura's source is "a...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  February 22, 2009; 10:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Close Calls And Other Practice Tidbits

During this morning's Nats practice, Jesus Flores almost cut John Lannan in half with a line drive, and Dmitri Young channeled Shaquille O'Neal. Other than that, pretty ho-hum. One story actually takes care of everything I teased in the above...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 22, 2009; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Bowden: Pick Up The Phone, Odalis

The Nationals have two simple requests for absent pitcher Odalis Perez, still holding out in the Dominican Republic. They want him to honor his contract. And also -- oh by the way -- they want him to pick up his...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 22, 2009; 3:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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The Spring Rotation Is Set

Manny Acta was asked this morning if he'd set his pitching rotation for the first week of spring training. "Yes," he answered. Drumroll. "Ready?" he then said, after the pause. A nice grin. Yes, ready. OK. Here's what we've got:...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 22, 2009; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Crow: I Don't Think I'll Fall Behind

Baseball America's Kary Booher, in this feature (available to subscribers), examines the upcoming months for two pitching prospects who were drafted last year and did not sign: Tanner Scheppers, a second-round pick of the Pirates, and Aaron Crow, whose backstory...

By Chico Harlan  |  February 22, 2009; 9:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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