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Nationals Journal: March 8, 2009 - March 14, 2009

Nats Win! Nats Win!

Shairon Martis: Good. "I thought that he was tremendous, other than that 3-2 changeup to Castillo that cost him a run, he was good," Manager Manny Acta said. "He's a guy that you can count that he's going to throw...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 14, 2009; 4:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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Late Lineups

Sorry, forgot this earlier. And a couple of things about Tracee's post about Redding: The word among the Mets folks is that Livan Hernandez now has the inside track on being New York's fifth starter. Nationals: Harris -- 7 Gonzalez...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 14, 2009; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Redding, Cordero Updates

From the Associated Press: The New York Mets have shut down right-hander Tim Redding because of a lack of strength in his throwing shoulder. General Manager Omar Minaya announced the move on Saturday, saying the team would rest Redding until...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 14, 2009; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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The Hitting Coach

Happy weekend. Hope by now you've found our story on Jack McGeary and this notebook with news about Julian Tavarez and Shawn Hill. Today, though, is my last day following the Nationals around, so I need to tie up some...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 14, 2009; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Midgame Update: Eldred Again

Scott Olsen allowed two runs in four innings blah blah blah. But Brad Eldred? All he does is hit home runs. He clubbed his third of the week, this one off Clay Hensley, to provide the Nationals with their only...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 13, 2009; 8:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Rizzo: Let's Not Get Comfortable

Mike Rizzo, the Nationals assistant general manager and acting GM (which brings up the question: Is he assisting himself with the acting?), just filled us in on the reasoning behind the signing of right-hander Julian Tavarez, whose entire body of...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 13, 2009; 7:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Nats Sign Tavarez

The Nationals agreed to terms with right-hander Julian Tavarez on a non-guaranteed, minor league deal that includes an invitation to big league camp. Tavarez, 35, has pitched for 10 teams in a 16-year career in which he has made 786...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 13, 2009; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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A Lineup Suited For A Night, Road, Grapefruit League Game

People think spring training is about preparing guys for the season, about making sure pitchers get their innings in and hitters get their at-bats. Really, it's about juggling the needs of veterans and making sure people don't make two road...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 13, 2009; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Afternoon Reading: The Netherlands

Sneak-peek time: Nats-helper-outer Amy Shipley, based in Miami, caught up with the Dutch baseball team for tomorrow's print edition....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 13, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Minor League Minutia

Today is the official reporting date for all the Nationals' minor leaguers, and it's worth pointing out a couple of things. * Carlos Alvarez is not here. No idea when or if he will be, but visa issues are holding...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 13, 2009; 12:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Larkin to Coach Team USA

Former Nats exec Barry Larkin -- now back with the Reds -- will coach the U.S. team in its second round WBC game Saturday night against Puerto Rico. Larkin is replacing Davey Johnson, who is attending the wedding of his...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 13, 2009; 12:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Morning Reading

First things first: Barry's already sent you to his bullpen story; his notes from the print edition today deal with Daniel Cabrera. And the transcript to Boz's chat from Thursday can be found here, although I'm guessing a lot of...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 13, 2009; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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The Bullpen: Who Is It?

So I wrote about the bullpen situation for the $.75-edition, but it's weird how you can spend 1,000 words on something and still leave out lots of stuff. Particularly, the specifics of some of the candidates. Let's start with this...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 13, 2009; 6:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Braves 6, Nats 2, Middle Of 8th

This one got away from the Nats, mostly on Josh Towers in the sixth, when the Braves had three two-out hits, Nats third baseman Joel Guzman booted a ball, and someone named Freddie Freeman came through with a two-run single....

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2009; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Through Four: Nats 2, Braves 2

I'm assuming that's it for Daniel Cabrera, who was on his way to his best outing of the spring thus far through three, allowing only a pair of singles and facing 10 men. But in the fourth, some disarray: double...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2009; 2:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Breaking News: Cabrera Gets Hit, Guzman Takes Pitch

Little moments that seem amusing now, but will be forgotten by ... oh, 4 this afternoon. Daniel Cabrera came to the plate for his first at-bat of the spring. In his career with the Baltimore Orioles, Cabrera had 14 major...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2009; 1:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Nada Through Two

Cristian Guzman just made a two-year, $16-million play at shortstop, going to his backhand side to snare a hard-hit grounder from Omar Infante and begin a nice 6-4-3 double play, with Anderson Hernandez in the pivot. Hernandez is smooth at...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Scoreless After One

Donald Duck was involved in the ceremonial first pitch. What else do you need to know? No hits, runs, errors or action for either side in the first. Daniel Cabrera was good, getting a lazy fly ball to left, a...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Pregame Notes

It's pretty warm here in Mouse Land, but not much in the way of news. (To be honest, this place, and the whole Disney "Kingdom", makes me kind of ill, but that's a story for another day.) I'll likely be...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2009; 11:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Off To Disney -- And The Lineup

Swung by HSCS before heading to Lake Buena Vista and the land of mouse ears to speak to Kip Wells and get y'all a lineup. Thank me later. (This lineup is, by the way, subject to change, because some of...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2009; 8:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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A Bit More On Wells

Wow, sneaking out to a movie on the off day turns out to be a bad idea. However, thanks to Sheinin for getting up the news (texting from an empty theater during "Slumdog Millionaire" felt like using a lifeline), and...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 11, 2009; 6:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Nationals Sign RHP Kip Wells

Straight from the press release... The Washington Nationals today agreed to terms on a non-guaranteed minor-league contract with right-handed pitcher Kip Wells. Nationals Vice President of Baseball Operations and Assistant General Manager Mike Rizzo made this announcement. The 31-year-old Wells...

By Dave Sheinin  |  March 11, 2009; 5:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Who Is Brad Eldred?

Some of you have asked about Brad Eldred. I'll say this about him: He's large. Stands 6-foot-5, listed at 270 or 275, and that's not a Dmitri-like 270 or 275. This guy is solid. And he's turning a few heads...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 11, 2009; 3:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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A Mid-Spring Journal Poll

So the Nationals have only played 12 of their 30 official Grapefruit League games, but the franchise, which has not had a winning spring since it landed in Washington, stands at 6-5-1. We don't know much about lots of things,...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 11, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (90)
 
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Morning Reading

A few stories I thought you might be interested in. If not, check back between 10:30 and 11 for some POLL action. MLB.com is reporting that the U.S. consulate in the DR is asking MLB to re-investigate 40 signings. Florida...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 11, 2009; 9:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Zimmermann: Didn't Make The Paper

So by now it's obvious I wrote about Jordan Zimmermann for the $.75-edition, and I think his development is one of the most intriguing storylines of the spring. And I hope some of you hadn't heard the story about his...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 11, 2009; 6:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Final: Nationals 5, Mets 5

As Chris "Mad Dog" Russo finishes his broadcast from an adjacent booth here ... The Mets and the nats played to a 5-5 tie, and I'm pretty sure, at this point, Washington is just happy to get the point. The...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 10, 2009; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Extras Again

Well, Mike Hinckley and Jesus Colome combined to blow the Nationals' 5-0 lead, and the Nationals just blew a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth -- Ian Desmond tried to score on a pitch that got away...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 10, 2009; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Tomorrow's Boz ... Today

Boz -- Thomas Boswell -- has written a column for tomorrow's paper on the World Baseball Classic....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 10, 2009; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Zimmermann Done

Jordan Zimmermann today did something he hadn't done in his first two spring outings: Pitch with men on base. But he did so effectively, surviving his 3-1/3-inning stint unscathed -- in part because lefty Gustavo Chacin got the final two...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 10, 2009; 2:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Zimmermann: Um, Wow

Getting my first look at Cy Young ... er, I mean Jordan Zimmermann ... here at HSCS. First inning went something like this: Flopped single into left from Cory Sullivan, hard groundball single to right from Marlon Anderson, 89-mph slider...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 10, 2009; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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The Cuts -- And A Bullpen Possibility

Before we get to the official list of cuts, something just came up that might be intriguing. The Mets cut reliever Duaner Sanchez, who made 66 appearances for New York last year and had a 4.23 ERA. Stunning numbers? No....

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 10, 2009; 11:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Today's Lineups -- And Some Cuts

The Mets, who have something like 16 players in the World Baseball Classic, bring a team north from Port St. Lucie today. Here's who they're bringing (check out that No. 3 hitter), and who the Nats will send out: New...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 10, 2009; 9:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Kearns, Eckstein, and Adjustments

So I have -- in the past, by my fellow scribes - been accused of being the president of the Austin Kearns Apologists Club. It's a nice club over which to preside, because I'm the only one who wants to...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 10, 2009; 8:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Final: Nationals 8, Astros 6 (10)

Bonus baseball is great. In Viera, even better. Here's how this one was decided in the 10th. Leonard Davis hit a one-out single up the middle. And then someone named Brad Eldred just absolutely drilled a pitch out to left,...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 9, 2009; 10:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Balester on Balester

Still 6-5 Nationals in the sixth, and all of the regulars have hit the showers. But here's Collin Balester's assessment of Collin Balester. Both homers, Balester said, came on fastballs that were up in the zone. "I'm pushing the ball...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 9, 2009; 9:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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All Offense

Anyone who's seriously interested in this game is likely listening to the dulcet tones of Charlie Slowes and Dave Florida on WFED-1500 AM, but in case NJ is your only outlet, here you go with an early update. Collin Balester...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 9, 2009; 7:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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Lineups -- With WMP; and a 'Frowny' Update

Wily Mo Pena will return to the lineup tonight against the Astros after dealing with his shoulder problem. Manny Acta said the strapping outfielder isn't good enough to playin the field yet, but he'll DH for a few days. Also...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 9, 2009; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Afternoon Reading (And Viewing)

Spring training night games can make for some long afternoons. We're here to help you pass the time. Dan Steinberg has some Adam Dunn shots and thoughts on the Bog. The Twins remain one of the teams most interested in...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 9, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Viera ... Home to Choices

Greetings folks. Svrluga here, trying to re-familiarize myself with this place. Chico moved a bunch of stuff around, and the staff is totally different (not that I don't enjoy them, but my Journal people were my Journal people and I...

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 9, 2009; 10:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Morning Reading

It's a rare Monday appearance for yours truly, so forgive me if I'm more glacial than usual this morning. I'm also on the DL with a mysterious right arm ailment caused when I changed seats on the Orange Line last...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 9, 2009; 8:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Bullpen Help Arrives

Just a few minutes ago, I checked out of the Residence Inn -- home for the last 25 nights, which is sort of unhealthy no matter how many Panera Bread salads you eat. This 25-day period, need I say, was...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 9, 2009; 7:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Late Night Reading: Dominican Republic and Shawn Hill

Hi everyone- As people surely remember, Barry was down in the Dominican Republic last month, digging into anything and everything connected to baseball prospects, the buscones who love them and the teams that set up facilities to help players, buscones...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 8, 2009; 10:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Valentin Getting Look At Catcher

For the last few years, Javier Valentin has done too little of anything to feel comfortable anywhere. While with Cincinnati in 2008, Valentin spent time at first base and third base. The Reds often used him as a pinch-hitter. But...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 8, 2009; 5:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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With Camp Coming, Alvarez's Arrival Uncertain

For almost three weeks now, the Washington Nationals have known their prized Dominican prospect is Carlos Alvarez, 23, not Esmailyn Gonzalez, 19. But they still don't know when he'll be arriving in Florida. Though Nationals are set to begin minor...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 8, 2009; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Some Post-Game Notes

Some post-game notes... * The Nats, with an 8-3 victory, are now 5-5 in the Grapefruit League. * With runners on first and third in the second inning today, Manager Manny Acta called for a suicide squeeze. John Lannan was...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 8, 2009; 4:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Long-Term Development vs. Short-Term Need

The Nationals think highly of Shairon Martis. For the moment, they just aren't quite sure what to do with him. Martis, who doesn't turn 22 until later this month, projects as a future starter. With Shawn Hill's health in doubt,...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 8, 2009; 10:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
 
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Today's Lineup Vs. Mets

Guzman -- 6 Milledge -- 8 Zimmerman -- 5 Johnson -- 3 Dukes -- 7 Belliard -- 4 Kearns -- 9 Valentin -- 2 Lannan -- 1 Scheduled pitchers Lannan Martis Ledezma Brownlie Glover...

By Chico Harlan  |  March 8, 2009; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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