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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.

4:02 p.m. -- Pete Orr strikes out, second out. (Ryan Langerhans had flown out to right before the Bernadina double.)

4:00 p.m. -- Roger Bernadina doubles off the right-field wall. Castillo advances to third.

3:58 p.m. -- Your official attendance: 1,973.

It's a little higher, if you include in the figure Washington's baserunners. Two guys -- Chris Marrero and Matt Whitney -- started off the inning with a single and double. Then both scored on a single by Jose Castillo. So... Nats down 6-3. Still no outs.

3:55 p.m. -- Top of the ninth. Washington needs a rally. Cue the Animal Farm scoreboard scene. Former Jim Bowden closer Danny Graves is on to finish things off.

3:49 p.m. -- The first home run of the afternoon: Hit by third baseman Chris Johnson on a 2-1 pitch, a no-doubt-about-it kind to left field. Houston 6, Washington 1.

3:45 p.m. -- Garrett Mock is Washington's next pitcher.

3:42 p.m. -- 2009 trivia, Pt. II: Pete Orr scores the Nats' first run of the spring training exhibition season. To start the inning, Orr had reached on an infield hit and advanced to second when the shortstop's late throw sailed wide of first. Two more grounders advanced Orr home. Nats now trail, 5-1.

3:10 p.m. -- Shell gets out of the inning allowing no more runs, helped big-time by Casto's 5-3 double play. (He touched third for a force out and threw across the diamond.) A final strikeout ended the inning.

3:01 p.m. -- More Astros damage here. After Drew Sutton singled, Michael Bourn doubled down the left-field line. Houston's now up, 2-0. No outs.

2:56 p.m. -- Bottom sixth now, and the Nats get a whole new infield. Kory Casto at third, Alex Cintron at short, Pete Orr at second, Chris Marrero at first. Steven Shell takes the mound.

2:52 p.m. -- Here to lead off the sixth, Ronnie Belliard just drew a walk -- his third of the game. (0-0, three walks, a Nick Johnson-esque 1.000 OBP.) Then, Belliard left the game in place of pinch-runner Pete Orr.

2:43 p.m. -- Houston's Jason Smith just roped a triple to right off Gary Glover, knocking in the afternoon's first run. Through 5, the 'Stros lead, 1-0.

2:37 p.m. -- Gary Glover becomes Washington's third pitcher of the afternoon here in the fifth. Lannan, back in the clubhouse, just had a little round of chit-chat with the media, and reported that all went well, at least as two-inning outings go. "Felt good," he said. "Kept the fastball down. I threw strikes like I wanted to do. 1-2-3 innings. Can't really complain about that. First time out, I was pretty happy about it."

One thing in common with the typical Lannan start from last year: No run support.

2:18 p.m. -- Time for some wholesale changes (except for the score, which remains 0-0 as we enter the bottom of the fourth.) Jorge Padilla is now in RF; Roger Bernadina is now in CF; Ryan Langerhans is now in LF. Martis is on for at least one more inning.

2:03 p.m. -- Austin Kearns is now 0-for-2, two strikeouts. He has left five on base, including two in the top of the third. Still 0-0. Shairon Martis is now coming into pitch for the Nats.

1:54 p.m. -- 2009 trivia, Pt. I -- Who got the Nationals' first hit of the year? Alberto Gonzalez. Liner to center to lead off the third.

1:50 p.m. -- Scoreless through two. John Lannan, go take a shower. Well done for the soon-to-be Opening Day starter. (Wait, that's speculation!)

1:32 p.m. -- All of Mike Hampton's control problems couldn't gift the Nats an early lead. Hampton plunked Willie Harris, then walked Lastings Milledge and Ronnie Belliard... but Austin Kearns struck out in a sad at bat and then Jesus Flores hit into a 5-4-3.

"Well," one in the press box said, "Hampton still has a no-hitter going."

1:15 p.m. -- Here's your reason for the delay: The on-field pre-game ceremonies (for the 25th anniversary of Osceola County Stadium) prevented the starting pitchers from warming up on the bullpens in foul territory here. They're warming up now.

1:12 p.m. -- This game was scheduled for 1:05, but we just heard from the stadium PA announcer that the start time is being delayed until 1:20. Why? Nobody quite knows. Sunny skies. Maybe there aren't enough ESPN suits yet. (Though Steve Phillips was spotted on the field pre-game, and he's easy to spot from the press box, as the sun strikes a coruscating glare off his white head.)

Speaking of heads. Jim Bowden, seated in Row 2 along the first base side, is wearing a straw fedora -- what he calls his skin-cancer protection hat. It makes him look a bit like Chi Chi Rodriguez.

---

We are coming to you LIVE (channeling my best Musberger here) from Osceola County Stadium, in Kissimmee, Fla., home of gun stores, a Gold's Gym, and the Houston Astros. This a charming little stadium, actually. It's just one deck -- dark green seats, a beige-and-maroon brick motif outside. John Lannan gets the start against Mike Hampton.

Looking for a scoop, one of us asked Manny Acta this morning if we could take this as a sign that Lannan will absolutely, definitely, without equivocation be the Nats' opening day starter on April 6.

"No," Acta barked, just about diving down the throat of the questioner.

(But it was all in good fun. Acta has joked for the last few days about the non-evaluative nature of these first games. In other words: Read into this at your own risk.)

That said, we're thirsty for some games. So today, we'll provide some running blogging as this one goes on. Watch for updates on this thread. My opening-line predictions: Lannan throws 35 pitches. Wily Mo Pena goes yard. Nobody gets injured.

Now, the lineups.

Washington

Harris - 7
Milledge - 8
Belliard - 4
Kearns - 9
Flores - 2
Pena - DH
Eldred - 3
Guzman - 5
Gonzalez - 6

Houston

Matsui - 4
Bourn - 8
Pence - 9
Blum - 5
Michaels - 7
Erstad - DH
Boone - 3
Smith - 6
Towles - 2

By Chico Harlan  |  February 25, 2009; 12:40 PM ET
 
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Next: Nats Have Not Contacted Selig

Comments

I'm assuming that is Joel Guzman at 3B

Posted by: Brian_ | February 25, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Yay! Power of the guilt trip!!!

Thanks, Chico!

Love to know how Milledge does in the debut. And I'm with Brian - I assume Joel Guzman and Alberto "Stop Calling me General" Gonzalez.

Just happy to know that somewhere right now, grown men are throwing a little ball back and forth and trying to hit it with a stick. Makes the world a better place, I think.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | February 25, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Me, too, 295. Thanks, Chico! Play ball!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!

It's here! The first pitch is here! Spring is here! Hooray!

Posted by: erocks33 | February 25, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Do they use a DH for all spring games?

Prediction - Nats pitchers combine for a no-hitter. Not.

Maybe it would be fun to guess what traveling player won't get into the game...I'll guess Viento and Marrero, only because they rhyme.

Posted by: estuartj | February 25, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

And another thing about JimBow and Rijo ...

Just teasing.

Play ball. Hope springs eternal. And I'll take WMP to strike out twice over homering.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | February 25, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Is Aaron F. Boone out for revenge? Will he pull a FLop and up his game now that he's no longer a National? These are the real stories of Spring Training, the stories the Washington Post is afraid to address.

And isn't there a nudist camp in Kissimmee? Why isn't the Post reporting from there?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 25, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's the Baseball Prospectus story referred to by a previous poster:


Nats strongly considering change
by John Perrotto

The Nationals, according to multiple industry sources, are strongly considering firing general manager Jim Bowden and replacing him with Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava.

Bowden has been implicated in a bonus skimming scandal in the Dominican Republic and is reportedly being investigated by the FBI. Jose Rijo, the former major-league pitcher and a special assistant to Bowden, has taken a leave of absence in wake of the allegations.

LaCava is highly regarded inside the game and has interviewed for GM jobs with the Pirates and Mariners in the last year-and-a-half. Commissioner Bud Selig reportedly has given Nationals president Stan Kasten permission to hire LaCava without interviewing minority candidates because of the special circumstances of a change of GMs being necessitated after spring training has started.

Posted by: AshburnVA | February 25, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"Do they use a DH for all spring games?"

IIRC, the DH is used in the spring if both teams agree to it, regardless of what league they are from.

Posted by: Brian_ | February 25, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

ARGH! I hate SOCH.

Posted by: Section506 | February 25, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly, it really does feel like spring!

Posted by: OldDude | February 25, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

MLB At Bat on my iPhone is telling me that the game has been delayed. Why is that? Have federal marshals arrived to lead JimBo off in chains? More importantly, will there be video of the perp walk up on washingtonpost.com?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 25, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

yay! my heart is much improved by the arrival of bats swinging at pitched balls. as for rijo/bowden, i think the red queen had the plan: "sentence first, trial afterwards."

Posted by: natty-bumppo | February 25, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

If it is true that pitchers normally outpace hitters in Spring Training, Mike Hampton should be concerned. One HBP, two walks in the first three batters. Not so hot a start. Thankfully for Hampton, Kearns is batting clean-up today.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 25, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Bases loaded - 0 outs.
Keanrs K
Flores GIDP

Posted by: dclifer | February 25, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Dang. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. Kearns K, Flores GIDP to end the bases-loaded, no-outs threat in the top of the first.

The comfort comes in knowing that Kearns and Flores will not regularly (ever?) be batting 4 and 5 during the season.

Posted by: faNATic | February 25, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"Austin Kearns struck out in a sad at bat", wait - is it still 2008?

Posted by: estuartj | February 25, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The Astros play-by-play guy has a man-crush on Lannan.

Posted by: dclifer | February 25, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

... okay. I've 'seen' enough. Trade AK, Mr. LaCava, and now!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 25, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I would like some explanation as to why AK's AB was "sad."

Did we forget its birthday or something?

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 25, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Nice inning from Lannan. The Astros announcers seemed pretty impressed with Lannan.

Chico, you heard anything about this LaCava thing?

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 25, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

No one willing to go on record, but sends e-mails to anonymous bloggers....

Sounds like BS.

Posted by: Section506 | February 25, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"Austin Kearns struck out in a sad at bat and then Jesus Flores hit into a 5-4-3."

Bah! These guys stink! Get 'em out of here!!! (Nothing like a good old first day overreaction!)

But, sheesh, does that inning sound just like the '08 vintage or what...Ugly K, GIDP.

Oh, and Chico, by the way...did Bowden buy a ticket to get in? I mean, you know, I'm not saying, I'm just saying...

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | February 25, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

How many times can the words "Austin Kearns" and "sad at bat" show up in the same sentence before he gets his walking papers?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 25, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Quit squeezin' him, Blue!

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 25, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I am an anonymous source. I have it on good authority that the Nats are also considering George W. for GM. Apparently they are impresed with his experience developing strong young players during his tenure with the Texas Rangers; has demonstrated enormous fiscal restraint; and he has experience setting up camps in the Caribean.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 25, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

About a 9 pitch innning there for Lannan. Looks like he'll be able to start the 3rd inning if Chico's pitch count prediction is correct.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 25, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Some honest to goodness decent press on the Nats:

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3933644&name=Neyer_Rob

Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 25, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm loving these Houston announcers.

"Now up, Lastings Mileage. Do you get good mileage with that hybrid?"

Posted by: dclifer | February 25, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Transcript from Kasten's trip to Toronto this winter;

Hey Tony, interested in being our GM?

Love to, but what are you doing about JimBow, last I heard he was so far up Mark Lerner's but only the Segue wheels were showing.

Don't you worry, there is some messy, messy laundry down in the Dee-Aaar that we're going to pin on old trader Jim.

Must be good if it will get Jim out of Mark's butt.

When you lose 1.4 million of old man Lerner's money it's as easy a shooing a fly...

Posted by: estuartj | February 25, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Kearns 0-2 with 2 K's. I like the guy, so I hope this is just rust.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 25, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Austin Kearns is now 0-for-2, two strikeouts. He has left five on base, including two in the top of the third."

You may as well copy that to your clipboard for use in every running game thread.

Posted by: pondaz | February 25, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

natbisquit:

"and he has experience setting up camps in the Caribean"

... good one! But you forgot; that part of the world is known for its 'walks'.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 25, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Welcome new season! Hope springs eternal (except, perhaps, in regards to Mr. Kearns)but here is to hoping . . .

p.s.
I like the authority of your anonymous source natsbisquit.

Posted by: lowcountry | February 25, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Chico--A Nats fanatic named Jenn flew in from DC for a few days of Nats baseball. She's a season ticket holder, a tour guide, and a huge fan. She's in the 2d row, behind home (white, blonde hair). If you're in the stands, you might want to say hello.

Posted by: bmfc | February 25, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

How are you guys listening to the game?

Posted by: stoneda29 | February 25, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

MLB Radio...15 bucks for the year.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 25, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Relief pitching, relief pitching ... got to find out if they have a bullpen or not.

Posted by: periculum | February 25, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Kearns should visit the nudist camp while he's in Kissimmee. Might stiffen his bat.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 25, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

thanks Cavalier83...signing up right now

Posted by: stoneda29 | February 25, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

AUSTIN "SU$K BAG" KEARNS!!!!!!!! GOD I HATE HIM. I've been listening to the game on MLB radio and it's just awful to listen to Kearns up at bat.

For what it's worth, the Nationals Pitching staff (Lannan, Martis) so far have pitched VERY well.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | February 25, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh happy day!

First game of spring training.

Jim Bowden is on his way out.

And the Nats get some good press. Somebody else recognizes that they might win more than 70 games.

Posted by: nattydread1 | February 25, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Chico, I would be interested to hear what Eckstein has to say about/is doing with Kearns. Last season, as many of discussed here at length, Austin's swing was really bad, and weak. Maybe that was because of his injury, maybe not.

Anyway, I think I recall reading that he bulked up a bit over the offseason, which would probably help. But what does Eckstein have to say about the swing? What is Eckstein working with AK to do? Has AK changed his swing at all? Thanks.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 25, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Chico, please run over and tell the Astro announcers that only having two hits through five innings on the first day of spring training is not a "cause for concern" for Nats fans.

Posted by: lowcountry | February 25, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Somebody at ESPN.com is finally giving the Nats some grudging respect.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3933644&name=Neyer_Rob

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 25, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Game is also being carried live on XM Baseball Channel 176.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 25, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Do they wait til the game is over to announce Jim Bowden's firing? Or maybe they do it during the 7th inning stretch?

Posted by: nattydread1 | February 25, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

>MLB Radio...15 bucks for the year.

This is a good deal. I'm up in Harm City and there's no Nats radio up here.

Posted by: Brue | February 25, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

bmfc - I have never met Jenn, does Chico need to meet her because she is such a big fan or because she is smokin? Sorry can't see the game and am just wondering.

Posted by: bigcountry22 | February 25, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Osceola County Stadium is a non-smoking facility, I believe.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 25, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Is Marrero due up this inning, first MLB at bat (sort of).

Posted by: estuartj | February 25, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the updates Chico. Keep them coming and go Nats!

Posted by: vash462 | February 25, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It has been 20 minutes since your last update. What's going on down there?

Posted by: vash462 | February 25, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

5-0 Astros so far.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | February 25, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Nothing good. The Astros just got three more.
________________________________
It has been 20 minutes since your last update. What's going on down there?

Posted by: vash462 | February 25, 2009 3:33 PM

Posted by: lowcountry | February 25, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I know it's just spring training, and a lot of our regulars aren't down there, but it sure would do some good for our collective morale if we'd see some offense for pete's sake.

Posted by: JennX_ | February 25, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

No reason to "Hate" Austin Kearns as he is a terrific person. He tries hard, but the offensive #'s just aren't there.

Unfortunately for the Nats, I think he is costing the team $9,000,000 this year. OUCH!!!!

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 25, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Hi, JennX!

Thanks for the link to positive news, leetee.

Also, link to live boxscore for those without Gameday Audio:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/boxscore.jsp?gid=2009_02_25_wasmlb_houmlb_1

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

That was a heads-up fix of the score at 3:24, Chico. Attaboy!

Also, an attaboy to Orr for getting the Nats on the scoreboard.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals are lighting up pitcher Graves. Two National runs are driven in, the score is now 6-3. RALLY TIME!

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | February 25, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

or 3:42. ANYway, way to rally and show some heart, Nats!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Chico!!! Where'd you go to school? Did you learn anything?

What is Animal Farm? I hope to God you meant to say Animal House and was just distracted by a shuttle launch or something.

That's a mistake that could get your NJ pass revoked, leader or not. Ask JimBo if there is room in the unemployment line.

Posted by: Corey42 | February 25, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

That's Animal HOUSE, not Animal Farm, Chico. You Post guys are lost without your copy editors, aren't you? Poor Courtland Miloy can't even spell his own name without his. http://tinyurl.com/c74wjz

Posted by: nunof1 | February 25, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The first heartbreak of the season... *cue melodramatic music*

Posted by: JennX_ | February 25, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Animal Farm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm_(video)

I'm pretty sure that's what Chico was talking about.

Posted by: sect104 | February 25, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Although he typed "Animal Farm," I think that he meant "Animal House," as the video from that film has been used at Nats games. Or maybe he meant to suggest that "Big Brother" is watching those who weigh in on NJ from their workplaces (luckily, my boss is very nice and a big Nats fan - in fact, she's #1(a) in my book).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Nuh-uh, it's not a heartbreak, my fellow baseball buddy. They didn't get shut out and they rallied to make it interesting. Plus, it takes hitters longer than pitchers to get ready. Remember folks, it's a long season (and it hasn't even started yet ;-)). Go Nats!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey, thanks to NatsNut and MatureDude for the help in figuring out my multimedia plan for the season. (Seems I need to do more mousing over; could have answered some of those questions myself ...)

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 25, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"Somebody at ESPN.com is finally giving the Nats some grudging respect.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3933644&name=Neyer_Rob"

What do you mean, finally? They lost 102 games last year and they have a (possibly law-breaking) cartoon charcter of a GM with a long history of lousy teams as the guy trying to fix the problem. What kind of respect do you think they deserved?

Posted by: pondaz | February 25, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

So great to have actual baseball again, can't wait till they count...

Hey Chico, any word on the JimBow to LaCava trasition? They say you always get fired while on vacation so maybe that drive out to Kissimmee was to prepare for the kiss of death?

Posted by: estuartj | February 25, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

1a: That's why it's a heartbreak-- I'm tired of the Nats rallying to make it close/interesting. As I said, I know it's just spring training, and I know I'm being melodramatic. I'm mostly being silly but a little bit of me is thinking, in spite of myself... here we go again!

Anyway, it's officially baseball season and the thermostat's above freezing. So life can't be too bad. :)

Posted by: JennX_ | February 25, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Boy howdy did I dislike the Houston radio guys. It was like listening to paint dry.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | February 25, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I hear you, JennX. I'm with you on the start of baseball and the warmer weather. Woohoo!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

And now, for somethign completely different: CHONE projected standings and team power rankings.
http://www.baseballprojection.com/2009standings.htm

The good news for the Nats - yet another very credible projection system has them surpassing their 2007 record. Hooray progress! 74 wins, slightly worse than the Marlins median projection.

The bad news - CHONE's projects them to be the 3d weakest team in MLB. I guess that is progress, but it's Slowsky pace.

The best news for Poopy - O's projected as 15th strongest team. The tough news is that they are in the division with the 3 strongest teams, and Toronto ain't a slouch. O's could win the NL West, but project as 5th in their division with the same record as the Nats. So they will continue to draft high to stregthen a team that is already middling.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 25, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Since we're talking about the TTMNBN, I see they lost by a larger margin than the Nats today.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

So, Baseball 2009 is officially under way - is there a more sure sign that warmer weather is just around the corner?
With a "home" game on the books for 2/26, what are the chances we'll see at least part of the "A-team" on the field, rather than the "travel" squad? Can't wait.

Posted by: BinM | February 25, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Cchico- what's up with Bowden

Posted by: theredskin | February 25, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

With Kearns getting half of the Golden Sombrero this afternoon, I'm beginning to wonder if he'll make the roster.

It seems that either WMP or AK will not make the 25-man, and if WMP can show some pop, I think he'd be more valuable off the bench as a pinch-hitter. Harris would be the late inning defensive replacement (even if he's at 2nd) and besides, what would you rather have - a power hitting pinch hitter or a defensive replacement?

Of course, this depends on Pena showing that his shoulder is healthy. If Kearns can show something at the plate, then he's the shoe-in as the fourth OF. But if WMP can put the bat on the ball a little (I know, big 'IF'), I think the Nats cut their $8mil loss and designate AK for assignment - which would mean his release or trade.

A lot of the value to Kearns is his D, but if he's not going to start, I would rather have more power coming off the bench.

Kinda nice to have position and roster battles, though. It feels like we're a real team!

Posted by: sec307 | February 25, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

@307:
One ST game isn't much of a sample size to base anything on, let alone roster slots for the 25-man. Let's see what the numbers look like around March 10th, or so.

Posted by: BinM | February 25, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

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