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Dmitri's Chances At Roster Spot Dwindle

After missing almost three weeks with a back problems, first baseman Dmitri Young today took his first step toward a recovery. At the Nationals' spring training headquarters in Viera, Young took 30 swings this morning.

With Young eyeing his return, though, the Nationals are having a harder time envisioning Young making the Opening Day Roster. Young, 35, has not played in a game since March 1. His injuries in the last week -- first, a bruised hand; now, back tightness -- outnumber his hits. (He's 0-for-4.)

Asked today if Young has already missed too much time to make the roster, Manager Manny Acta said, "Almost, yeah." But he added the team won't make a decision on Young, due to make $5 million this year, until they finally get to see him playing. "We have to wait until he's healthy," Acta said.

The absolute best case for Young? He comes back quickly, looks sharp and forces the team to consider him as a bench player. If that's the case, Young's endurance/stamina won't be such a problem, because as Acta said, it's not like he would have to be playing nine innings five days in a row.

More likely: Young is either cut or starts the year as a very expensive Class AAA player. Young has not yet indicated to the team whether he'd be willing to start the year in Syracuse.

A few other notes...

* This is a big start for Collin Balester today. He's obviously one of the guys fighting for the No. 5 starter's job. And he hasn't pitched well this spring. (11 IP, 8 ER, 4 HR, 6.55 ERA, 6 BB, 6 K). The other 22-year-olds in camp, Jordan Zimmermann and Shairon Martis, have combined to allow three runs in 25-1/3 innings.

* Several times this spring, we heard Gustavo Chacin, one of the six players cut yesterday, mentioned as a possible rotation candidate. It was mostly obligatory. Chacin missed much of last year with injury problems -- he spent the rest with Toronto's Class A Dunedin -- and the problems hindered him this spring, too. Chacin still doesn't have the endurance, and in his last several outings, it's showed. Good through an inning or two, wild after that. Chacin, even when he signed a minor-league deal, told the Nats that he was willing to head to Syracuse as rebuild himself. Seems like that is the plan.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 20, 2009; 1:04 PM ET
 
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Next: Another Rough Start For Balester

Comments

If there are any mathematicians out there, would it be correct to say that Dmitri's chances for a roster spot are inversely proportional to his weight? Or perhaps his blood sugar level?

Posted by: nunof1 | March 20, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

You can do it meat! What a good bat to have on your bench.

Posted by: nattaboy | March 20, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I believe Dmitri's chances are |0|

Posted by: Brian_ | March 20, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"Young has not yet indicated to the team whether he'd be willing to start the year in Syracuse."

Chico, since Dmitri is not on the 40-man roster, I don't think he can reject an assignment to Syracuse, unless he also wants to forfeit his $5 million, which I would venture is rather unlikely. Am I missing something here?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 20, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I would rather have both Zimmermann and Martis in the rotation than either Balester or Daniel Cabrerra.
Notably, Cabrera's history has been very consistent -- and not in a good way. While sometimes he appears unhittable (in short spurts), his history is that he very wild and hittable in the first two innings, and then runs out of steam (and is again very hittable and wild) in the fifth and sixth innings. See http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7325/situational;_ylt=ApGlbBcc4OFS_AqU3UAVJxKFCLcF?year=career&type=Pitching
Maybe, he could be a better long or short reliever. But the fact that the Orioles, with their weak pitching staff, gave up on him speaks volumes.

Posted by: Bob_L | March 20, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

We could say Dmitri's chances are "slim," but that would be mean-spirited...

Posted by: TimDz | March 20, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

1. DaMeat. 2. Kearns. 3. Manny.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 20, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Balester had a brutal first inning today. 3 hits, one of which was a HR.

Posted by: usmc53 | March 20, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

If Dmitri's chances are |0|, that still puts him ahead of WMP, right?

Posted by: nunof1 | March 20, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

When is Wells scheduled to throw?

Posted by: lowcountry | March 20, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm really sad about Meat Hook not making it back. He is my Nationals guilty-pleasure. Despite all of the reasonable arguments for cutting him and lack of any reasonable argument for keeping him, I really want to keep him.

What is your all's Nats guilty-pleasure?

Posted by: Section506 | March 20, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Mine was Shawn Hill.

Posted by: usmc53 | March 20, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Bally made it through the 2nd unscathed--2 Ks!

Posted by: ramgut | March 20, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

My Nats guilty pleasure is the Ben's Half Smoke All the Way. Truly the gift that keeps on giving, in oh so many ways. I took my Dad to a game last year, he had one, and my Mom had to wash his shirt three times to get the chili stain out.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 20, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Jesus Saves Colome is mine.

I pray for his buttocks and his family every night before I go to bed... in that order.

Posted by: sec307 | March 20, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

CiL is of course correct that Dmitri is already at Syracuse, rosterly speaking. I assume Chico meant the alternative would be retirement from baseball. Which might make sense, if he doesn't need the money. Recall that 2 years ago, when he was first signed to a minor league contract, he said he'd lost his enthusiasm for the game, until being around the youngsters brought it back. FWIW

*********
"Young has not yet indicated to the team whether he'd be willing to start the year in Syracuse."

Chico, since Dmitri is not on the 40-man roster, I don't think he can reject an assignment to Syracuse, unless he also wants to forfeit his $5 million, which I would venture is rather unlikely. Am I missing something here?
Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 20, 2009 1:29 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 20, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

being seen in public with Nats stuff on is mine.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Sec 307, I hope that's not like praying for surf.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 20, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

" Recall that 2 years ago, when he was first signed to a minor league contract, he said he'd lost his enthusiasm for the game, until being around the youngsters brought it back. "

I bet he hasn't lost his enthusuiasm for five million bucks yet. In this economy?

Posted by: nunof1 | March 20, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

My guilty pleasure is collecting the plastic beer cups after the game. Got about 50 last season, most of which are being used in the way G-d intended at VT.

Posted by: ramgut | March 20, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"What is your all's Nats guilty-pleasure?"

... clearly for me, there are two:

Lastings Millidge and Julian Tavarez.

... these are the kind of players (flakes?) that I love to see everyday and have around for the comic relief, as much as to prove my own underlying sense of the way things are is not misguided.

... if only we could get Bill Lee to come out of retirement.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Da Meat Loaf gets his $5 million for either summering in Syracuse or sitting the bench with the Nationals. I know he has diabetes, but he can't continue to dine out on what he did two years ago. If Manny is waiting to see DML healthy and playing, he may as well be waiting for Godot.

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Any chance of some updates on the game? I think the "live" boxscore operator fell asleep.

Posted by: BGinVA | March 20, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

$5 million is an awfully guilty pleasure. Shawn Hill was a lot cheaper -- about 15% of Meat's wages? And, with a helluva lot more upside.

Posted by: fischy | March 20, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

BallyStar just punched his ticket to SYR - 4 inn, 9 hits, 5 runs (all earned), so far.

Posted by: sec307 | March 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Balester gave up 4 in the 4th. His line so far: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO

Posted by: wnorton81 | March 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

5 runs in 4 innings.

Bye bye, Balester. Not really sure what they see in him.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, Guuz used to be my guilty pleasure. Not that I don't root for him now, but I also did back in the day when he was "Boosman" to many.

natscan, wouldn't that be something? Lee is one of my fave baseball eccentrics.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@1a1

Charlie Slowes is my guilty pleasure, if only for these two utterances

"...just past a diving Vidro" on occassions to numerous to count regarding the second baseman's pathetic lack of range, and "where was he going? what was he thinking?" on Nook Logan's baserunning brain lock a few years

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 20, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"Not really sure what they see in him"

He's 22 years old. Obviously not ready but it seems a tad bit early to write him off

Posted by: Brian_ | March 20, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Cheers Dmitri! You had a good run but your body is failing you. Syracuse it is...

My guilty Nats pleasure is wearing authentic curly "W" hats everywhere I go. The team is trash and is pretty irrelevant but those curly "W" hats? Classy and classic!!

Posted by: MEssex | March 20, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Bally Star as Blasted Star. New post.

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 20, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Soon after being sent to AAA, Dmitri will be "injured" and unable to play so that he can collect his paychecks without having to make the bus trips.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | March 20, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

gotta start getting rid of these guys who can't seem to stay healthy, and keep the guys who want to play....hill, pena, young...bye-bye

Posted by: outrbnksm | March 20, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

gotta start getting rid of these guys who can't seem to stay healthy, and keep the guys who want to play....hill, pena, young...bye-bye

Posted by: outrbnksm | March 20, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Young's chances are nil and he only has himself to blame i mean Jimbo gave him the powerball lottery and a new lease on his baseball life with that contract, his back problems are a direct result of his refusal to stay in any kind of shape and his diabetes situation is self induced. He's had more chance's than the law allows.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 20, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I was at today's game and there were a lot of Detroit fans asking me why Dmitri didn't make the trip and how was he doing. He is still very popular in Detroit and Tigers fans still think he is going to come back. I wish that were true.

Posted by: baseballphotosbycheryl | March 21, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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