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Nationals Journal: March 1, 2009 - March 7, 2009

A Few Post-Game Notes

Final score from Tradition: Nationals 7, Mets 5. The Nats are now 4-5 this spring. Some quick post-game notes... * Scott Olsen went three innings (6 H, 2 ER, 2BB, 0 K), and called his second start of the spring...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 7, 2009; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Jose Castillo Injured

[UPDATE, 3:48 p.m.] Castillo has a strained left shoulder, the team said. He will be reevaluated tomorrow. --- Here in the bottom of the seventh, Nats third baseman Jose Castillo was injured while diving for a sharp ground ball. (This...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 7, 2009; 3:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Nats 4, Mets 2

We're in the bottom of the fourth at Tradition Field. Nats lead the Mets, 4-2. Here's your quick-hit recap of what we've seen so far... Best Redemption: After a rough bottom third in the outfield -- he took bad paths...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 7, 2009; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Opportunities Lost, Opportunities Gained

Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena and Dmitri Young have plenty in common, even when they're not sharing space in the trainer's room. Each is coming off a disappointing season. Each is a former Cincinnati Red, brought to Washington by now-departed...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 7, 2009; 12:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Age Apparently IS Just a Number

Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo -- liar or merely a dedicated follower of fashion? Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports that Vlad Guerrero is a year older than previously thought -- 34 instead of 33. Now that Vlad's biggest payday is...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 7, 2009; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Lineup Versus Mets

Hernandez -- 4 Bernadina -- 9 Zimmerman -- 5 J. Guzman -- 3 Patterson -- 8 Montz -- 2 Davis -- 7 Gonzalez -- 6 Olsen -- 1...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 7, 2009; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Morning Reading

First link starts with some news about the Commander in Chief -- as opposed, say, to the Lack-of-Command Chief, notoriously wild Daniel Cabrera -- who is tentatively scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Nats Park this year. I'll...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 7, 2009; 6:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Hill To Resume Throwing In Several Days

Shawn Hill, evaluated today by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, has no structural damage in his elbow or forearm. The Nats right-hander has right forearm inflammation, and should resumed throwing within a couple days, the team said. Hill was given anti-inflammatory...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 6, 2009; 7:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Boz on Cabrera

Boz (Thomas Boswell!) sent me these thoughts about Daniel Cabrera. Hi, Nationals Journal readers! I'm now able to post here as well as Baseball Insider and Thursday chats. Looking forward to it. Nats fans may have watched Daniel Cabrera struggle...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 6, 2009; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Nats-Os Live

It's the O's telecast so that pregame was ... well, never mind. It's over. Amy will send more updates but I thought I'd get us started. The crowd appears sparse. Very sparse. Top of the 3rd: And I have to...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 6, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Cabrera's Strides

From Amy in Fort Lauderdale: Nationals Manager Manny Acta pointed to a host of reasons to be optimistic starting pitching Daniel Cabrera will finally realize his potential with Nationals: Getting out of the American League East, escaping designated hitters,...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 6, 2009; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Chatter Up! Lineup! Exclamation Point!

Barry's got a story from the DR coming in Sunday's dead tree -- I'll post a link to that tomorrow, for you early birds -- and he'll be on live Monday at 11 a.m. to chat about that and anything...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 6, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Letterman, MASN, etc.

Finally, we're going to see the Nats on TV today as they take on the O's in Fort Lauderdale. Chico's getting a well-deserved break, so Amy Shipley is covering the game. Amy doesn't have blog access but I'll try to...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 6, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Morning Reading

The Mike-Phil Rizzo story from the fishwrap edition. The Washington Times takes an interesting look at the team's middle infield situation, noting how the trade of Emilio Bonifacio and the, um, rapid aging of Carlos Alvarez weakens an already-suspect group....

By Chico Harlan  |  March 6, 2009; 7:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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"He's A Scout. And I Am A Scout." -- Phil Rizzo

LAKELAND, Fla., March 5 -- Phil Rizzo never had much to give, just his evaluation. He was a scout, a baseball lifer, and he took small paychecks to travel to far places and watch ballplayers with distant chances of getting...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 5, 2009; 5:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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No Relief

Until today, only one Washington starting pitcher this exhibition season (Daniel Cabrera, on Feb. 28) had allowed any runs in his start. The bullpen, though, is slowly developing into a problem. Let's examine the list. Steven Shell has allowed five...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 5, 2009; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Gustavo Pitches At The Joker's House

Joker Marchant: Gustavo Chacin with a hat? Gustavo Chacin: Joker Marchant with glasses? * Not a strong audition for Gustavo Chacin (pictured above) this afternoon. He combusted here in the third, losing all control. He walked the lead-off batter,...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 5, 2009; 2:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Uh Oh. Shawn Hill. James Andrews.

It's the forearm. Again. Forearm discomfort will prevent Shawn Hill from making his scheduled start this afternoon. It will send him to orthopedist Dr. James Andrews for an appointment -- another one -- tomorrow. It threatens to derail his career,...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 5, 2009; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Washington = Cincinnati East

I guess it's not surprising, finding so much Nationals news on the Cincinnati Enquirer website. After all, Cincinnati has done so much for the Nats. So here's some reading to fill the time until Chico arrives at Lakeland (ah, memories...)...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 5, 2009; 9:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Morning Reading

A number of people here, yesterday, expressed interest in sending condolences to Stan Kasten, whose mother, Sylvia, passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's. I'm trying to get information about the funeral and donations; once I get it, I'll...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 5, 2009; 6:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Young Day-To-Day With Back Issues

For the last few days, Manager Manny Acta said today, Dmitri Young has been dealing with back tightness. "We're waiting for him to be 100-percent," Acta said. For the moment, the team believes Young should be OK in a couple...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 4, 2009; 8:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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The Special, Electric And Great Jordan Zimmermann

This spring, Jordan Zimmermann has thrown five innings -- just enough time to make a strong impression, and still not enough time to find a major league hitter who can reach base against him. This afternoon, Zimmermann, Washington's top-rated minor...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 4, 2009; 4:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Zimmermann's Perfect Start

Jordan Zimmermann faced nine batters across three innings today, and it almost became hypnotic. Three up, three down. Three up, three down. Three up, three down. He struck out three, and looked very much like the sort of guy who...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 4, 2009; 1:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Kasten: "I'm a fan of continuity"

I am gonna flesh out a longer news story about the Rizzo promotion. (The linguistics of this are tricky: Is he the interim GM? No. Acting GM? That's about right.) But in the meantime, here is a transcript of what...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 4, 2009; 11:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Rizzo Gets New Duties; Kasten: No Urgency for Search

Saying that his team needed "a little bit of calming rather than more change right now," Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten has given Mike Rizzo control of day-to-day major league operations for the foreseeable future. Rizzo, an assistant general manager...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 4, 2009; 10:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Up For Grabs

Here's the big news of the morning. The Nationals will not be signing Barry Bonds. "It's not a match for us," Manny Acta said this morning, after choking back a little laughter. "You know, I don't think at this stage...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 4, 2009; 9:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Morning Reading

This morning's feature story -- yes, we're back to baseball... at least for that moment -- mentions, in passing, some mechanical adjustments that Scott Olsen is working on this spring. I would have liked to write much more about this,...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 4, 2009; 8:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Perez Says Phone Never Rang

On Feb. 5, Odalis Perez signed a one-year minor league deal with the Nationals, thus beginning a 2-1/2-week tenure with the team that included a few sleepless nights (Perez couldn't stand the thought of his contractual plight) and, as we...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 3, 2009; 7:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Bernadina Hits A Walk-Off

The Nationals almost blew this one. They had a 6-0 lead heading into the seventh, and the Italians looked al dente. But over the final three innings, they mounted a comeback -- scoring two runs against Marco Estrada, three more...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 3, 2009; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Kasten Talks With Zim's Agent

Jim Bowden's resignation has not interfered with the Washington Nationals' hope to reach a contract extension for third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Today, team president Stan Kasten met in person at Space Coast Stadium with Zimmerman's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, to...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 3, 2009; 3:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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The Azzurri Take A Bruising

They served ziti in the lunch room today. That's about where the ode to Italian baseball ended. This one is in the top of the fourth, and right now, the Nats lead the Italian WBC team 4-0. What's going well...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 3, 2009; 2:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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An Accent Takes A Beating

Some time this morning, Nats utility infielder Kory Casto was taking batting practice on one of the side fields at the team's complex here. The only bad news about this was, the particular field where Casto was hitting happened...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 3, 2009; 1:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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After 900 At Bats, The At Bats Resume

During the 2008 calendar year, Anderson Hernandez had, by his count, almost 900 at bats. He was with the Mets in spring training, then New York's Class AAA New Orleans affiliate and then, after a trade, he landed in Washington....

By Chico Harlan  |  March 3, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Morning Notes

Just some morning notes here, and there's only one suitable way to start it off. * Last night, at 11:38 p.m., Sheinin and his wife welcomed Lyla Jo into the world. She's nine pounds, 1.6 ounces, Sheinin said. "And she's...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 3, 2009; 8:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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For Now, Kasten Is In Charge

Team President Stan Kasten greeted a few media members just before lunch today by saying, "I'm here at the advice of my advisors." Those would be his PR guys, Mike Gazda and John Dever, who notified Kasten of the Fourth...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 2, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (121)
 
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Hanrahan To Participate In WBC

For Angels closer Brian Fuentes, it was family issues. For Toronto closer B.J. Ryan, it was mechanical issues. For Minnesota closer Joe Nathan, it was shoulder issues. En masse, Team USA lost a slew of relief pitchers, which is why,...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 2, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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From Quiet Space Coast

All along, today had been designated as an off day -- even for those who didn't resign over the weekend. Right now, Space Coast Stadium is a ghost town. A few pitchers (I'm spotting Marco Estrada and Shairon Martis, among...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 2, 2009; 9:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Poll: What is the Nats' Next Move?

The Nationals now have a decision to make. Should they promote from within, giving the job to assistant GM Mike Rizzo? That has the advantage of being a quick resolution with a known quantity who seemed to handle last week's...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 2, 2009; 7:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Some Things Resolved, Some Things Not

By Chico Harlan Washington Post Staff Writer VIERA, Fla., March 1 -- Day-to-day, for 1,580 days, Jim Bowden survived as general manager of the Washington Nationals. The uncertainty never bothered him, at least until it cost him his job....

By Chico Harlan  |  March 1, 2009; 8:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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More on Bowden

Here is the story Chico and Barry teamed up on re Bowden. (And I'm really sorry it took so long to fix the link. Long day.)...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 1, 2009; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Dunn To Participate In WBC

Last night, Adam Dunn received a call from Davey Johnson. The Team USA manager, preparing his team for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, had a question: Did Dunn want to temporarily leave his new team for an even newer team?...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 1, 2009; 3:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Boz on Bowden ... and Something Off-Topic

Here's Boz's take on today's news. Want some non-Bowden news? Nice piece from Florida Today on bench coach Jim Riggleman....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 1, 2009; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Second Chances

Like few others in his industry, Jim Bowden craved a good comeback story. Perhaps no general manager had a keener sense for comebacks, and certainly no general manager had a greater desire to facilitate them. Throughout his 16-year history running...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 1, 2009; 12:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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No Request Yet To Interview LaCava

I've spent the morning calling a few of the ballclubs that have prospective GM candidates, and so far none of them, including the Toronto Blue Jays, have been contacted by the Nationals for requests to interview Jim Bowden replacements. I...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 1, 2009; 12:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Bowden Resigns [Update]

From Chico in Florida: Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden resigned this morning, saying he felt he had become a distraction to the club. The Nationals did not immediately name a successor or an interim GM. "It is an emotional...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 1, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Bowden Statement

Jim Bowden's statement, released this morning by the Nats: I am today resigning my position as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Washington Nationals. It is an emotional decision that saddens me, but one that I feel is...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 1, 2009; 9:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Kasten Statement

Stan Kasten's statement, released this morning by the Nationals: We greatly respect and admire the decision made today by Jim Bowden. He showed characteristic poise and maturity, and demonstrated his selfless love for the game and the Washington Nationals. We...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 1, 2009; 9:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Bowden Resigns

Jim Bowden resigned this morning as Washington Nationals general manager. The team has not yet named a successor, even on an interim basis. Bowden said, "It is an emotional decision that saddens me, but one that I feel is in...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 1, 2009; 9:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Bowden Resigns

From Chico, who's in a news conference right now: Jim Bowden resigned this morning from the Washington Nationals, saying he felt he had been a distraction. More in moments....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 1, 2009; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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