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Health, Marriage And Sickness

Notes, notes, notes...

* Acting GM Mike Rizzo on the Bard signing: "We figured, liked I said, that we'd never stop trying to improve our club, be it inch-by-inch or step-by-step. We think it's going to be a competitive situation." On the competition with Wil Nieves and Javier Valentin for the back-up job: "There's three guys that are fighting for the back-up catching job... And we've got two weeks to figure out who's the best of the three. We're going to give them equal opportunities to play."

Bard actually arrived at Space Coast earlier today and passed his physical. He will be with the team tomorrow.

* We had a marriage proposal at HSCS today; apparently, somebody took the "H" in that acronym to suggest that history should also mean eternity. With all due respect to love and happiness, this was a bad idea. Microphone in hand, the gentleman popped the question in the second inning, and either his voice or the technology was stammering, because the message never quite got out. You just heard a few key phrases... "Will you be with me forever and make me the world's biggest baseball fan?"

The SCS crowd didn't like his chances. It booed, almost in unison, "Noooo..."

But she said yes.

* Jordan Zimmermann said after his start today (2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER) that "obviously I didn't have my best stuff." He struggled to locate his fastball, and his breaking balls felt a little flat. "I got hit around a little bit today," he said.

Over the last 48 hours, Zimmermann has been battling the flu, but he told pitching coach Randy St. Claire today that he had no problem throwing. That contrasted with Friday, when the team sent him home from workouts in the morning because he'd been up vomiting.

The only positive from this outing?

The team saw a bit of his competitiveness.

"He had a built-in excuse," Acta said, "and he didn't use it."

* How-not-to-run-the-bases 101: In the sixth, Elijah Dukes hit a shot to left, and right off the bat, it had the feel of a home run. That must have been Dukes's feel, too, because he watched. When the wind kept it in the park, Dukes had to scramble -- a kind of oh-god-what-did-I-do move -- and barely made it to second.

* Rough, rough day for the Nats pitchers, including Rule 5er Terrell Young, who walked three and allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning. The Nats, despite this outing, like Young's raw ability; there's a reason they selected him in the first round of the Rule 5 draft in December, after all. But the question here is more about whether the team can afford to "hide" such a raw prospect in its pen. Keeping Young on the roster would be more like a 6 1/2-person bullpen than a seven-person bullpen. More likely, the Nats will try to work out some sort of trade with the Reds -- Young's old team -- if they want to keep him in the organization. That way, he won't need to be up in the big leagues all year.

* Speaking of Dukes... he started in CF today.

* The attendance was 6,182, largest of the spring. (But not a sellout.)

* For this game, the Nats brought up catcher Derek Norris, ranked by Baseball America as the organization's sixth-best prospect. Last year, with Class A Vermont, Norris hit .278 (.463 SLG) with 10 HR and 38 RBI in 227 at bats.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 21, 2009; 5:10 PM ET
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Has anyone lee seen mlbtr? Sounds like boris wants dice-k money already

Posted by: theredskin | March 21, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Ps my fat fingers can't type on an iPhone

Posted by: theredskin | March 21, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Here's the item to which theredskin refers, from Ben Nicholson-Smith on's Peter Gammons heard from some club officials that top amateur pitcher Stephen Strasburg and his agent, Scott Boras, could demand $50MM over six years if he's selected first overall by the Nationals in the June draft. If the Nationals pick Strasburg and seem unwilling to pay him as much as he wants, Boras could threaten to send the prospect to pitch in Japan for a year. If the Nats are scared off, the Mariners and Padres are next in line for Strasburg.

So how could an amateur player get away with these lofty demands? Strasburg has struck out 74 and walked only seven in the 34.1 innings he's pitched for San Diego State and scouts rave about his stuff.

Posted by: traceeh | March 21, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Thank you tracee

Posted by: theredskin | March 21, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"Boras Big-Top" has shown some wear & tear in this off-season, but will probably get what the market will bear, +10% for Strasburg. Think $10-12M bonus over 3 years, with an immediate 40-man status upon signing. That way, the clock starts ticking for Scott's next payday.

Posted by: BinM | March 21, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow, am I suprised. 12-11? That's pretty good considering it was 12-1. GO NATTTSS!! :)

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Who does Boras think is going to come up with those kind of $$$ in Japan, or would he go there 'on the cheap' - their economy is on the fritz as well, or doesn't he bother to look at the WSJ anymore?

Posted by: BinM | March 21, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, Buster Olney just predicted at least $20 million on Baseball Tonight.

I think he's right. You have the perfect storm of an unbelievable prospect, a cut-throat agent, and a team that HAS to sign him. The $60 million for 5 years doesn't sound too far off base. Scouts are saying that he's a #2 starter right now. He's better than AJ Burnett right now. He lives at 101 MPH for gosh sakes.


Posted by: db423 | March 21, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Nats brought up catcher Derek Norris

and he gets an rbi hit. good for him

Posted by: sjt1455 | March 21, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

#4 (& others):

Boras sets the bar high in all of his negotiations; that's his MO. $60M in the current market is just bluster, IMHO.

Anyway, talking $$$ about draft picks at this point in the season is just silly.

Posted by: BinM | March 21, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Have been out and about today so am not up to speed on posts on comments, but am I the only one who saw Rizzo's comments and thought of this?

Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch. Niagara Falls!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 21, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Okay, having just read the post, a few thoughts.

1. They booed a marriage proposal? Wow. Tough crowd. But it all worked out anyway because she said "yes."

2. Sounds like the Reaper really gutted it out today.

3. I love that they almost came back in three innings, and I'm liking the comebacks generally.

4. We need a literary moniker for Bard, methinks. Without further ado.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 21, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

"Sounds like the Reaper really gutted it out today."

Perhaps more yesterday, in literal terms, as a result of which today the Cards said "don't fear the Reaper"... sorry, I just couldn't resist...

/shows self out, heading to Napster

Posted by: Hendo1 | March 21, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Dukes may make a bone-headed move or two, but he's not a complete klutz in the outfield like Milledge. Lastings needs to go to an AL team in need of a DH/4th outfielder.

Posted by: fischy | March 22, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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