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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.


"Ready?" he then said, after the pause. A nice grin.

Yes, ready.

OK. Here's what we've got: When the Nats kick things off on Wednesday (Feb. 25) against the Astros in Kissimmee, John Lannan will get the ball. Next game (against Detroit, Feb. 26), Collin Balester. Third game (against the Astros, Feb. 27, Shawn Hill. Fourth game (in Jupiter against the Cards, Feb. 28), Daniel Cabera. Fifth game (against Baltimore, March 1), Scott Olsen.

Acta warned not to read too deeply into the rotation. More than anything, he said, the determinations were made based on how many bullpen sides these guys have thrown. Plus, the spring training rotation is built for flexibility. With four off days on the schedule, things will be juggled around. Still, it's worth noting the current five, regardless of order: Lannan-Balester-Hill-Cabrera-Olsen. Prospect Jordan Zimmermann will have about six weeks to pitch his way into group.

Now, some additional notes.

* Jorge Sosa, who has not yet reported to camp because of visa issues, is expected to be in Viera by Wednesday, Acta said. Sosa, a non-roster invitee, probably hasn't cost himself much because of the missed time. "He's going to be ready to work out on Wednesday," Acta said. "Sosa just pitched about two weeks ago in the Caribbean World Series. He's ready to go."

* Meanwhile, there's still no sign of the now-notorious Odalis Perez. His locker remains empty, and teammates are joking about how to divvy up the real estate. Nobody seems to expect him any time soon -- and by day's end, he might not be welcome either. This is the mandatory reporting date for all players. Once there's a resolution here, I'll post the details.

* got an interview with the buscone involved in the Smiley Gonzalez case. Basilio Vizcaino said of Gonzalez, "He's sad. He did it because he thought if he didn't change his identity he would never sign."

* One other pitching starter that Acta announced: When Washington plays a "B-Game" on Tuesday, March 3, against Italy -- part of the run-up to the WBC -- Josh Towers will get the start. Italy's roster is worth a couple of laughs. If your last name ends with a vowel, chances are good you're welcome on the team. In fact, you can even make the team with a name like Robert Fick.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 22, 2009; 9:49 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Crow: I Don't Think I'll Fall Behind
Next: Bowden: Pick Up The Phone, Odalis


I would expect the next press release would read something like ... Pitcher Odalas Perez has been released by the Nationals for failure to report. No fines were deemed necessary as his presence in camp was deemed as unnecessary.

Posted by: cokedispatch | February 22, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Surely he's waiting through the deadline for another offer somewhere. i can't imagine him making such a reputation-damaging move without some kind of fallback plan. If he doesn't, he's an idiot.

Posted by: NatsNut | February 22, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Uh, yeah, I watched Sosa get lit up in the CWS.

Roberto Ficko? La maledizione! He must have been loading up on the pasta if he's 200.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 22, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

It should be noted that the piece was handled by former WaPo/Orioles beat writer Jorge Arangure.
On the continued no-show by Odalis - he's was an insurance signing, imo. If the current starters come out of Viera in reasonable shape, he'd probably have asked for a release anyway.

Posted by: BinM | February 22, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I mentioned that in the prior post, BinM.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 22, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

About Jorge, that is (notwithstanding the Roberto Ficko comment error message ).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 22, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Also, JZimm has a lot longer than 6 weeks to be a part of the rotation - If he doesn't crack the top five in Viera, he'll start the season in HAR or SYR & pitch his way onto the big club by September.

Posted by: BinM | February 22, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry 1a1 - Harlan's been blog happy lately & I'm behind in my reading.

Posted by: BinM | February 22, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The Italians should only allow Fick on their team if he promises to curse in Italian. And if the only words in Italian he knows are curse words, then he should just say nothing that's not a curse.

Exception: He can speak English while storming into the manager's office naked to demand playing time.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 22, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

That's okay, BinM, I still haven't caught up on yesterday's reading.

I like it, nunof!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 22, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

What language should Fick text Kasten in?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 22, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Fick has been texting Bowden, not Kasten - according to what Bowden said at NatsFest. I would suggest Fick now limit himself to emoticons, Smilies and the like.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 22, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Carpenter-Fick probably would have been a more entertaining combo than Carpenter-Dibble

Posted by: AshburnVA | February 22, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

nunof1 - didn't you get the memo? The Nats don't do Smilies any more.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 22, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Nunof: Oh, I was thinking that it was Kasten.

jca - shooting for Post of the Day, eh? Good one.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 22, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are not simply going to release Perez, which would allow him to sign with another club.

Posted by: dfh123 | February 22, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Natsfan1a1 - Kudos really should go to Nunof1 for the straight line.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 22, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"nunof1 - didn't you get the memo? The Nats don't do Smilies any more.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 22, 2009 12:15 PM"

I guess you guys just don't get jokes, do you?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 22, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

3 Nats -related comments from Cafardo today:

"From the Bill Chuck files: "No matter what Brad Wilkerson does in a Red Sox uniform, he will always have a place in baseball's history books. Wilkerson was the last Montreal Expo to hit a homer and then got the first hit for the Washington Nationals." Also, "What does Alfonso Soriano have in common with Jose C*nseco, Barry B*nds, and Alex R*driguez? They are all members of the 40-40 Club, and that makes Soriano's 2006 season of 46 homers and 41 stolen bases look pretty special right now." . . . Happy 37th birthday, John Halama."

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 22, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

From the espn article
"But Vizcaino, who was questioned by baseball investigators about the case, said Lugo had put his bonus money in his real uncle's bank account, which is why investigators could not locate any record of the bonus.

If true, the sequence of events outlined by Vizcaino would seem to vindicate Washington officials of any bonus skimming since the bonus was never missing, but instead was in another bank account. Last year Lugo, then Gonzalez, denied in an that the Nationals had taken any of his bonus. "

So it appears that the Nats various front office personnel aren't guilty of skimming the prospects bonus (which of course, is good to hear). And as much as the Nats were duped by Frowney, MLB (as a collective) was the biggest sucker.

Did anyone read Keith Law's chat on espn last week?

Is he more resentful of Bowden or Bill Simmons for their current employment?

Posted by: cbm91 | February 22, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Have to admit, nunof, your setup went right over my head. But jca picked up on it. Well done.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 22, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

O.K., so I read the Keith Law chat summary. Seemingly well-read, but many of his attempts at snark or witty responses came off as either condesending or something lower.
It's clear his anger extends beyond just an extreme dislike of Bowden, but to the entire Nationals' orginization, along with some other individuals & Teams.
By-and-large, someone who likes to think "I'm smarter than you, and in a better position to express it", imo.

Posted by: BinM | February 22, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Nunof1 and I will be appearing at the Nat's "salute to comedy teams" night. They will have card board cut outs of Martin and Lewis you can stand next to, the Smothers Brothers will sing the Nationals Anthem, and Abbott and Costello will tell us the line up.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 22, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Baseball America just published its Top 100 prospects list. Total number of Nats on the list:

One (J. Zimmerman at no. 41).

Pretty appallling for a team following a "Plan" that entails trading all high salaried players for prospects, spending FA money on scouting and prospect signings rather than actual players, and building through the farm. I'd be surprised if there are many teams with one or zero prospects on that list.

Posted by: kjm1971 | February 24, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

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