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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 the team is stretching before its 1:05 game against the Astros.

Here are some morning notes, a side dish to the coffee -- which, by the way, is very much needed today.

* Many good nuggets left over from the Bowden-Rijo relationship story, but here's one that couldn't sneak into the paper. Still, it's worth mentioning. Rijo's comeback in 2001 was just epic. He'd been out of baseball for seven years and had five surgeries -- including three ligament replacement operations. But Bowden loved that Rijo never gave up, and even when the pitcher's comeback looked improbable, Bowden was always ready to facilitate it with a new contract. After Rijo made it back to the big leagues for his first game in 2001 -- some seven years removed from the big leagues -- Bowden called the moment "biblical," and said, "If the good Lord's going to bless someone, give someone a miracle, he's going to pick someone like Jose Rijo. Jose represents the word perseverance better than any baseball player, probably ever in the game."

* Shawn Hill takes the mound today for the Nationals. The team plans to take a cautious approach with its right-hander, who missed more than half of the 2008 season with elbow and forearm injuries. Today, Hill will throw just one inning, a departure from the programs Washington prescribed for its previous starters, John Lannan and Collin Balester, both of whom went two in their Grapefruit League debuts.

"We're going to baby him," Manager Manny Acta said.

But today, Hill gets the first real chance to prove he's healthy, something even the team is skeptical about, given his track record. There are two real barometers here: How Hill fares on the mound, and how he feels tomorrow.

If he can show he's healthy this spring...

"It'll mean a lot," Acta said. "I think he knows that. It's a given -- if he's healthy, he'll be in our rotation."

* Jorge Sosa still has yet to clear up all of his visa problems, and remains in the Dominican. Acta, who had previously said he expected the pitcher in the middle of last week, is now uncertain when Sosa will arrive.

Today's lineup

C. Guzman - 6
Milledge - 8
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - 3
Dukes - 9
Willingham - 7
Young - DH
Belliard - 4
Flores - 2

Scheduled pitchers


By Chico Harlan  |  February 27, 2009; 9:38 AM ET
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Next: Waiting, waiting...


Uh, not funny about the pitchers, but point taken. Throw some salt over your shoulder or something.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 27, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Also, go Shawn! Not a bad lineup.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 27, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Wondering if any of the Nats fans here noticed we have a redesigned and consolidated Nats/MLB section now:

We're doing this site wide because we think it looks a lot better and the "league" pages -- MLB, NBA, NHL, etc -- did not get much traffic. Also, this is a way to give you all the (non-blog) news you want in one stop. Of course, we also positioned the blogs prominently in the new design.

Comments? Complaints? I usually expect this blog's readers to have something to say on these sorts of things ...

Jon DeNunzio
Sports editor,

Posted by: Jon DeNunzio | February 27, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I hadn't noticed (dead-tree reader here), so thanks for the link. Looks good to me. Perhaps you could add ST radio and TV info to the schedule.

Today's game will be on the radio locally, BTW.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 27, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Other than the DH, today's line-up looks a lot like what we might see Opening Day, doesn't it?

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | February 27, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Looks good Jon.

Also wanted to point out that Nats Journal can now be found on the mobile washpost site - BIG thank you! Is there anyway to get the comments to show up there too?

Posted by: BangZoom | February 27, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Jon, I did notice, and that's precisely why I came here to comment.

I really like the new setup. I saw it coming when the Capitals page merged with CI, and I was hoping the format would eventually migrate over to baseball and NJ.

First of all, NJ is a lot easier to find now. I wouldn't mind a picture of Chico instead of the Nats logo, but I suppose that's up to him. Besides, it does kind of continue the photo-free tradition Barry started.

Secondly, it just makes more sense for BI to be near NJ. I love the links on the left of this page, and I think the Nats/MLB landing page is an extension of that ease of navigation.

Great job.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 27, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The new/redesigned Nats section looks like an improvement, but it looks really really narrow. Like the rest of, there's literally 3" of unused space on the right side. Other sections are acceptable, but somehow the Nats section looks extra squished.

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | February 27, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse


I hadn't noticed the new page either, as I have bookmarks linking directly to Nats Journal and Baseball Insider. The new page looks good and useful. One item that might make it even better is a separate box, somewhere towards the top, where you pull together the recent work of all the baseball columnists. I enjoy reading the columns in addition to the blogs, but tend to skip over the "news." Having a place to find the latest columns pulled together (other than would be great.

Posted by: wahoo2x | February 27, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather see Johnson at first, Dunn in left and Willingham in reserve on Opening Day. Because what that would mean is that Nick is still healthy and producing when the season starts. Over the course of a 162-game season, there will be plenty of ABs available in LF-1B for the trio of Dunn-Willingham-Johnson even if all three of them remain completely healthy all year. The nice thing about having real depth on the roster is that the particular lineup on Opening Day doesn't mean all that much. Except for ceremonial reasons, who plays that day is not important to your team's overall year. So give the nod to Nick on OD because he's the longest-serving National, but know that if he goes down or has a bad day your season isn't lost before it even starts.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 27, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Jon --

Looks great. My only concern is where the Orioles coverage is. Where can I go to find information about my second favorite team in baseball?

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | February 27, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

He he. You know good and well what conclusions we'd come to, Chico, with your emphasizing the *2001* Amazing, Biblical Comeback. Was that a consideration in leaving it out?

Posted by: NatsNut | February 27, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"My only concern is where the Orioles coverage is. Where can I go to find information about my second favorite team in baseball?"

I believe they still have a daily newspaper in Baltimore, although I hear it's been shrinking lately. ( said "The poor slimmed Sun looked like a pamphlet. Just 28 stripped-down broadsheet pages in three sections. Reminded me of those weekly supermarket chain ad inserts.") So perhaps you might want to throw that paper a bone instead of asking the Post to dilute its Nationals coverage so soon after they finally seem to have figured it out. I bet the Baltimore Sun even has a web site...hey, they do:!

Posted by: nunof1 | February 27, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Teddy, try this link:

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 27, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

nunof-You win the battle of snark.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 27, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It's like you read my mind, NatsNut.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 27, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Sitting in traffic this morning on the Atlanta interstate listening to the local sports talk station discussing the NL East the host wouldn't even mention the Nationals saying "they are not on the radar" talk about your disrespect.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 27, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Ah Chico I guess you didn't get the news that the DC varsity squad just broke the bank with a 100M contract to some guy who wears a helmet and pads. Even if they hang Bowden from the flag pole down there in Vierra that story won't even see the light of day in the WAPO or any other media outlet in the metro. Just the way it is.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 27, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the feedback! Answered most of the questions in the more recent comment thread (with "Waiting, Waiting" post) ...


Posted by: Jon DeNunzio | February 27, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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