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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 paragraph. Today, Lannan was one of the 14 Nats pitchers throwing live BP. (They go eight minutes, throw to a rotation of four or five hitters.) Everything was going smoothly until Flores smoked a liner back to the mound. Lannan was throwing from behind the L-screen, but somehow, the ball whizzed just to the right of the cover and skidded off the lefty's rear.

Lannan was fine, and remained on the mound to finish off his bullpen. And once that was apparent, everybody had a good laugh about the matter. That's when Young, bat in hand, waiting for his turn, yelled to Lannan... -- well, it's something Shaq rapped about to Kobe. (I would hereby provide a YouTube link, but I want to stay on the FCC's good side.)

Also, pt. I: The one pitcher who didn't finish his bullpen session today was Jason Bergmann, who, about midway through, noticed a cut on his right middle finger -- the result of a curveball. Bergmann didn't seem particularly concerned and said later that his truncated session was "just precautionary."

Also, pt. II: No running/conditioning drills after the practice today. Sunday.

Also, pt. III: During infield drills today with the "first teamers" -- that is, the guys with legit shots at the Opening Day roster -- here's how everybody lined up across the diamond:

1B: Nick Johnson, Dmitri Young

2B: Anderson Hernandez, Jose Castillo

SS: Cristian Guzman, Alberto Gonzalez

3B: Ryan Zimmerman, Ronnie Belliard

Meanwhile, in the outfield, we had Josh Willingham, Austin Kearns, Lastings Milledge, Wily Mo Pena, Willie Harris, Elijah Dukes and Adam Dunn. (Dunn had practiced during the two previous days at 1B. Harris, meanwhile, had practiced earlier this week on the B-diamond... at second base.)

By Chico Harlan  |  February 22, 2009; 5:50 PM ET
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"Hey Kobe, how's my ass taste?"

Posted by: von_bluff | February 22, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

It's way too early to read the tea leaves about the position where Dunn or Harris or some other players will end up this year. It's certainly an interesting observation but a trade or an injury can change everything. Once we get closer to opening day and once the Nats start making some cuts, then the answers to our questions will become clearer.

Posted by: grforbes | February 22, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

[just bringing this ahead from last thread]


... one of your 'pros' suggested: "Stan Kasten still pursuing The Plan"

... of the rest of your 'pros', I have some agreement and not much confusion. (I'm still cogitating over the 'cons'.) But at this point - ST at the start of '09 - I'm getting a bit fuzzy about what exactly Stan's Plan was or is. Can you or anyone else, explain it succinctly once more? Thanx.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 22, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

"- Back rent controversy"

Would you give this one a rest already. It was only a controversy because the press played it as one. The situation has been resolved with exactly the outcome the Lerners sought when they initiated it, which BTW is an outcome that every fan and indeed everyone except those city council members who did not want to complete the stadium construction in the first place should be happy with. The rent has been paid, and in exchance the city has agreed to complete the punch list of things in the stadium that were not built correctly - something they should have done as a matter of course without the Lerners needing to withhold rent in order to get them to do so.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 22, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

nunof1 - You are right, old news, but if they don't have that stuff to hold onto, what will the haters have to talk about?

On other news more pressing, news report says Dmitri Young was hit on the hand today during BP and will have XRays tomorrow. Good luck with that DY.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 22, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Is Dmitri Young's injury on his eating hand?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | February 22, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"The situation has been resolved with exactly the outcome the Lerners sought when they initiated it..."

Did the Lerners get the $100k/day liquidated damages they were requesting? No? Because that was an outcome they sought also. You don't need to overstate things here, because your general point is good one. But the liquidated damages request was a ridiculous one under any construction of the agreement.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 22, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

From what I understand, according to the contract, the Lerners were indeed owed the $100k/day liquidated damages. Considering the District agreed to the punch list, it would have been easy to prove that the damages were to be paid. I think the Lerners did not because they felt the public pressure. But I think if they went to court over it, they would have won.

Posted by: swang30 | February 22, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"Did the Lerners get the $100k/day liquidated damages they were requesting? No? Because that was an outcome they sought also."

Did they ever do anything beyond threatening to press this in court? Because sometimes a threat is all that is needed to prove a point or achieve desired results. And had they pressed it, it would not have been a ridiculous request because the $100K/day liquidated damages amount came straight from the contract. It wasn't something they made up out of whole cloth. Had it gone to court, the court might well have decided it didn't apply. But there was no way it would have been dismissed out of hand as you imply.

In any case, this was a clear case of the Lerners playing hardball with the city and letting them know what it means to be a major league city. Well played on the Lerners' part.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 22, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

This whole dispute was subject to arbitration, so I'm not sure why you are referring to "court." The Lerners did file an arbitration demand, and they did seek the $100k/day liquidated damages in their demand. So it was an outcome that they sought, and which they did not obtain...which is contrary to your initial statement that they got "exactly" the outcome that they sought.

You might contend that it was well-played leverage, and that's fine if you want to argue that. But that's different than what you stated initially, which was that the Lerners got everything they sought. They didn't, which is what I pointed out.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 22, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

CoverageisLacking, you confuse strategy and tactics. That's okay, surely this is not the first time you've been confused.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

ABM/nunof1, far be it for you to ever admit that you are wrong about something. I'm not confused about anything, I'm being precise. Listen, the fact is that the Nats did seek liquidated damages, and they did not get them. So they did not obtain "exactly" what they were seeking, as you incorrectly stated. I'm not going to parse or try to guess whether or not they *really* wanted to obtain LDs or not. That's not the point here.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 23, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

CoverageIsLacking, I doubt you or anyone else is still reading this thread. But if you are, let me just point out that the situation I stated had been resolved with exactly the outcome the Lerners sought when they initiated it was the rent dispute. You are the one who raised and continues to press the liquidated damages thing. That was clearly a tactic they used and abandoned early on in their attempts to get the city to complete the stadium in accordance with the contract the city had entered into with MLB, the previous owners of the team. That particular tactic may have been unsuccessful or even unwise, but they were ultimately successful in their strategy of getting the city to complete the stadium. So were you confused about that? Precisely.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Y'know -- if the Nats just start referring to Alberto Gonzalez as "Smiley", they can pretend the whole thing never happened....

Posted by: fischy | February 23, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

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