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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 in the clubhouse this morning. We might go the rest of the season without seeing NJ back in the lead-off spot -- that could hold true even if an injury doesn't explain the reasoning -- but Manny Acta had a simple logic here. He wants to get Johnson two at bats before the fourth inning, when he'll probably exit.

* Collin Balester is starting, but top prospect Jordan Zimmermann will follow. "This outing is not going to make or break him," Acta said of Zimmermann. Basically, the Nats are just looking to see Zimmermann's command and composure. Not like the latter part should be a problem. "I think the environment here -- it's easy to handle," Acta said. "If anybody can't handle pitching in front of 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 people in spring training, that's a -- I don't know if there's anything worse than a red flag, is there? Is there a color worse?... But, no, it will be his command and composure out there and ability to not back down from big-name, big league hitters.

* We get our first look at Adam Dunn, batting fourth.

Here's the afternoon lineup for the Nats

Johnson - 3
Dukes - 9
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - DH
Willingham - 7
Patterson - 8
Desmond - 6
Orr - 4
Nieves - 2

Scheduled pitchers:

By Chico Harlan  |  February 26, 2009; 9:45 AM ET
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I know they're out of their natural order, but is anyone else just giddy at the prospect of these names all healthy and in a regular season game together:

Johnson - 3
Dukes - 9
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - DH
Willingham - 7

Posted by: wahoo2x | February 26, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

We expect a running thread! Let's Go Boz!

Posted by: mjwies11 | February 26, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Black Flag is worse, but only if you're an insect.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Yes to both giddy and running thread!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

New posted...

506 - Good stuff. I start it the day after the WS ends and shave it Opening Day - which for me is a holiday. I haven't worked an Opening Day in my life.

If this info is still accurate there are currently 4 minority GMs in MLB:

Ruben Amaro, Jr - Philly
Omar Minaya - Mets
Kenny Williams - ChiSox
Tony Reagins - LAA

Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 26, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Nick Johnson's firt at bat today;

There's the wind-up and there it is, a line shot up the middle, look at him go. This boy can really fly! He's rounding first and really turning it on now, he's not letting up at all, he's gonna try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center,
and here comes the throw, and what a throw!
He's gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he's out! No, wait, safe--safe at second base, this kid really makes things happen out there. Batter steps up to the plate, here's the pitch -- he's going, and what a jump he's got, he's trying
for third, here's the throw, it's in the dirt--safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base!
He's taking a pretty big lead out there, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher glance over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted down the third base line, the suicide squeeze in on! Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close,
here's the throw, there's the play at the plate, holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!

Posted by: estuartj | February 26, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of ST games, carrying forward a couple of posts:

It's super to have games being played! I watched some of a couple of ST broadcasts yesterday (slow work day): Giants @ Indians and Red Sox @ Twins. BTW, MLB Network has released their ST game broadcast schedule:

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 9:48 AM

Note: except for March 18 (not included for MLB Network) they seem to be the same games that are scheduled for MASN, so I'm not sure how that will work.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 9:51 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the laugh, estuartj.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

One more note, I believe that Nats radio broadcasts are scheduled for today's and tomorrow's games.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Nice play-by-play, estuartj! (Or should I say "Harry Caray"?)

Posted by: JennX_ | February 26, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Is there a definition of "minority" to which teams must adhere when interviewing for such positions? And exactly which positions require minority consideration?

There are statistical minorities and there are sociological minorities. Women, for example, are not statistical minorities, but they are sociological minorities. If a team interviewed a woman for an open GM position, would that satisfy MLB's requirement?

Honestly, I'm only asking out of curiosity.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 26, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Nothing triggers a new post like a response from JohninMpls...

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 26, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I love me some Harry Caray, IMO the last 4 words of take me out to the ball game are "Let's get some runs!" Plus you got to love a guy that does a sound clip for a meatloaf song, and he even sounds sober on the album (though that may be an editing trick).

Posted by: estuartj | February 26, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Great to see Desmond in the lineup after the hand scare.

Also, it strikes me that our batting order works pretty well with a DH, it's the only way to get all of the bats into the lineup (Johnson, Milledge (in lieu of Patterson above), Dukes, Dunn and Willingham). Bodes well for interleague play I guess (barring a trade).

I am by no means a Bowden hater, and I have no reason to believe that he is responsible for the Frowny Fiasco or guilty of any wrongdoing. Having said that, I'm not sure that a fresh start would not be welcome. Among other things it might unclog trade negotiations (e.g., an outfield asset for a prospect and a veteran reliever).

Posted by: BobLHead | February 26, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

My belated compliments on the "Nick be nimble" headline for Nick the Stick.

Kim Ng could fill the bill on both counts, JiM.

Also, nothing says "new post" like a comment from BobL (good to see you, though).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I believe the soundbite you're referencing was Phil Rizzuto, not Harry Carey.

Posted by: BinM | February 26, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

And the song was "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" from "Bat Outta Hell".

Posted by: BinM | February 26, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse


Before we go any further
Do you love me?
Will you love me forever?
Do you need me?
Will you never leave me?
Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?
Will you take me away, will you make me your wife?

Posted by: Tracee Hamilton | February 26, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Yea Tracee - You've got it.

Posted by: BinM | February 26, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

That's the second time today Tracee has written something that has made me laugh out loud. Methinks she's getting comfortable with NJ nation...

Posted by: natinbeantown | February 26, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

You're the best, Tracee!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 26, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Phil Rizzuto, not Harry Caray.

Posted by: fischy | February 26, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse


That was AWESOME! Only in dreams my friend, only in my dreams.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | February 26, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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