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More On Tavarez

OK, so we've gotten some updated information on the Julian Tavarez Status Watch front. He will not be pitching tomorrow, as I previously reported. Rather, he will pitch Tuesday during an intrasquad game.

Right now, while Tavarez awaits his work visa, he's here on a tourist visa. As a result, he cannot yet pitch in games. At some point in the next days, after the necessary visa paperwork is taken care of, Tavarez will make a quick trip down to the DR to claim his work visa. Then, he'll be eligible to pitch in games.

This temporary arrangement is identical to the one Odalis Perez had at the start of camp in 2008.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 15, 2009; 4:22 PM ET
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Next: Some Thoughts On (And From) Lastings Milledge


great posts, Chico. seeing a major improvement already!!

Posted by: NatsNut | March 15, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I saw Flores catching during drills on the field behing the park. He has improved his english greatly but did not give me an answer about when he would play.

He looked good and happy.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 15, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I love baseball.....sorry to be so down on Milledge but that is what I saw......I don't really think any professionals scout would miss the flaws....not sure we could trade him.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 15, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the posts, Chico, and for the detailed reports, JayB. Your passion for baseball comes through. Wish that I was watching live baseball already but it won't be that long now.

(Also, confidential to Tavarez from a few posts ago: Dude. There isn't enough beer in the world...)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 15, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Weird factoid. I was looking at last year's ST schedule and it looks like we have the same record after playing 16 games as we did then: 7-7-2.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 15, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

[from a prior string]

Nice ground-level report. I'm starting to buy into your view on Milledge, but still think that SYR might be a "wake-up" call for him, rather than a trade. Maybe not, but he's better in-pocket than not at this point, no?

Posted by: BinM | March 15, 2009 5:16 PM

Posted by: BinM | March 15, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse


You have made me sad. I really hoped we had shown improvement in ST, at least.

Oh, and does Milledge have an option? That might really do the trick.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 15, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

a dozen more NatsNuts would be welcome in our midst, but as for nunof1, he's just a very unhappy, dysfunctional,low self-esteem guy, who thrives on confrontation. push NatsNut down, in order to feel better about himself? if he weren't here, we would miss him, not unlike those times when a hemorrhoid disappears on it's own. trade milledge and nick for pitching now!

Posted by: nova_g_man | March 15, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

its, not it's

Posted by: nova_g_man | March 15, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, sorry, PHS. I found it encouraging for some reason. But it's only ST, anyway, and not necessarily reflective of how the team that goes north will do.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 15, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Also, yes, NatsNut is the best!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 15, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Casto almost hit a gram slam today but it was a little too short. :(

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

This discussion forum is's also why I sometime fear for our society in a journalist-free future. I'm primarily a lurker here, but trust me I read every post and comment. I appreciate JayBee's passion for the team, even if I often disagree with him. He seems intelligent and reasonable. But I have no idea who JayBee is, or what qualifies him to comment on the preparation & development of young ball players. He might be a former scout, he might be a little league coach, he might just be a guy who hates hip hop and do-rags. But because JayBee sees something in Lastings Milledge, the discussion has now veered towards whether or not Milledge should be optioned to AAA to commence pennance for his various sins against baseball.

Never mind that there've been no outward expressions of frustration in Milledge from Manny, Stan, Rizzo or any of the myriad unnamed sources who pop up regularly in local sports coverage. Never mind that no one who covers baseball for a living in DC or around the country has mentioned this possibility. Because someone on an internet message board didn't like what he saw at spring training, all of a sudden we're having this conversation.

Journalists have historically been agenda setters for public discussion, and while this responsibility has been abused at times, I think we'd all agree that in general the code of journalistic ethics, coupled with the hard work reporters do to familiarize themselves with their subjects, has served us well. Over time reporters develop credibility. Some of you all strike me as mainstream media bashers, but I think the majority of us agree that we read the Post because we can trust the people who write the stories. I'm sorry, but right now I can't trust JayBee. I just don't know his credentials, nor his motives. Not to say he won't prove to be correct in the long-run, I just think if we're going to enter into a discussion about a certain player's attitudinal shortcomings - and how those affect his career prospects - we might want to base it on more than the reporting of one man who we know little about. I hope this will be construed as a commentary, not a personal attack, cuz that's how I mean it.

Having said all that, if Johnson gets traded Milledge should be in left with Dukes in center and Willingham in right. But to think that this kid - who's had zero stability or support in his brief pro career, who is clearly our 2nd most talented outfielder after Dukes, who is widely acknowledged to have 20hr/80rbi/30sb potential - doesn't belong in the majors, well, that's wrongheaded and it's not really a conversation worth having.

Posted by: MoMonroe | March 15, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

"who is clearly our 2nd most talented outfielder after Dukes, who is widely acknowledged to have 20hr/80rbi/30sb potential -"
Forgive me, and welcome out from lurking, but what clearly? We have Willingham, Kearns, Dukes, and Dunn, in addition to Milledge. Not to mention Willie Harris and possibly Justin Maxwell (and WMP too).

It's not clear to me at all that Milledge is above any of those guys. He's got *potential* sure, but the only thing JayB is saying is what his impressions are as a fan and what he just saw first hand and that he thinks he should be traded.

We gotta find space somewhere in that outfield and everyone here is calling for one guy or another's trade or, if Milledge has options, that's another answer.

It's one of many, many, many, many, many, many such opinions put forth on this blog. And gawd help us if Manny or Rizzo actually act based on what we speculate here.

Same here, I'm not attacking you personally either. It's just all discussion around here.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 15, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

oh. and also, aw shucks! thanks for the love earlier guys. ;)

Posted by: NatsNut | March 15, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, wait, everybody!

nunof1 has been pretty insightful and entertaining! Lord knows I was on the wrong end of accidentally offending at least one time pretty badly, and you all came to my aid. Let's be slow to vote off the island. The island is certainly big enough for each of us.

Natsnut- love at you, of course.

Pete sake, I would be loathe to lose anybody, negative or positive. We used to have real trolls. Now I think we just have opinions.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 15, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I have watched,played, and for a while coached baseball, as an african-american approaching sixty it has bothered me greatly to see the dwindling number of aspiring black baseball players, like Jaybee i am still very passionate about the "american pastime" that being said I've watched Milledge since he was a NY Met yes i too think he needs to work on his skills,at the plate and in the field I wish Frank Robinson was still with this team in some capacity, actually he should be working with players like Milledge and Dukes and other young players in this orginazation they need constant mentoring particularly from a HOF like F.Robby someone with a track record in the majors.I think Jaybee was a ltlle harsh in his evaluation while i understand, todays young players have too many distactions,money,the media,the blog, and pressure not making excuses for them its just the facts lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater he hasn't been here two years sending him to triple A maybe an option just not now.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 15, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey Natsnut,
You make a point regarding our OF glut. My statement was based on Dunn ending up at 1B, assuming we can find a taker for Nick (or more likely assuming he gets hurts). Among the rest of the guys, when you factor in age and how much room for improvement each player has, Milledge is right up there wtih Dukes. The rest are known commodities. I might include Maxwell, but wiser heads than ours have never really seen fit to give him a shot, and he's never seen fit, to well, be fit for a whole year.

Posted by: MoMonroe | March 15, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse


I appreciate your analysis. We have had Lastings only a year, as dargregmag points out. I guess my thought, in line with JayBeee, is just that if it comes to it, we should remember that we do have options for working with or helping Milledge grow.

I was so pumped up when we got him that it never occurred to me that we would ever consider sending him down. In addition, I think he was very poorly served by the spotlight in NY.

All of that said, I want him to be all he can be, and to be a star, or THE star of the Nats. I mean, really- I bought an old Mets press book just to read about him, I was so excited. However, if he is/stays immature because of a lack of a firm, maybe paternal hand, I hope that is what he gets.

None of us should forget- he led the sorry team last year in an offensive category or two. If Eckstein can help, if time can help, perhaps he can continue to lead the team as he matures.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 15, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorry guys. I reposted the following in the wrong place. Damn laptop keyboards - no good with fat fingers.


[from earlier today]

"So, he 'beer-goggled' (thx to +1/2 St.) his way into Viera with the Nationals; At least he's honest. We'll see if he can actually make the staff in the next couple of weeks.

Posted by: BinM | March 15, 2009 1:40 PM"

hey BinM,

... I want nothing more than to get good baseball from Julie. And I was on-board with this signing the minute I read about it, and said as much.

... but when I read his insensitive (a good safe and charitable description) comments about a 600 -lb wanting to be mistaken as J-Lo ...

("... you're just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo."),

my whole impression of him changed, and I began to see him as some others here do - as a clubhouse problem waiting to happen.

... sorry, but it's my right to change my mind.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 15, 2009 7:38 PM

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 15, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Dargregmag,I agree it is a great loss to the national pastime, the nation, and the kids who don't even know what they're missing. But my impression of Frank was always that he had no patience for apparent hardheads, or any perceived lack of effort. And to paraphrase Luke 16:31, if Lastings won't listen to his coaches, he wouldn't listen to Jackie Robinson raised from the dead.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 15, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Good Discussion here....Problem with waiting for Post to report any opinions is that Chico does not have that role as Barry schooled us all a few years back. Waiting for Boz to notice things like Milledge is a non starter. In other cities like Boston or NY or LA media would do this work but here in DC....not so much. Another problem with this team is that Acta refuses to speak openly and honestly to the Media and Chico just prints his quotes. Recall Acta and Stan and Jimbo told us a bunch of Bull for two years about this team and its baseball operations. Hell we can't even get an honest answer out of them about Jimbo leaving or Ross D being a bust.

So what we are left with is posters on blogs who go to games and report what they see. I an not a scout but I have played a lot of baseball....I have played at a high level and I have coached. I have watched a lot of baseball....I love baseball....that’s all I got for eyes and some experienced eyes at that....

The Launch was out of this world…….

Posted by: JayBeee | March 15, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

An example of the problem with Chico and his reporting.....he told us that Milledge made a bonehead play in the first inning running into an out at third base with less than 2 ours and Zim coming up....I left this out of my observations because I did not want to pile on. It was really bad...the ball was just barely into the outfield and he was out by 3-5 steps......but CHICO will not follow up and push Acta on this play. He will not ask about it, he will not report on it and if he did he would print an Acta quote than tell us nothing and makes us feel like we know nothing about baseball for even asking about it......Chico does not know enough about baseball and is too young to stand up to Acta and say, Hey Manny, you have made this exact play the focus of 2 Spring Trainings now. It does not seem far for you now to dismiss the issue because you want to stay positive.....Milledge has had a problem with this and he does not seem to be taking your coaching to heart....what are you doing about it. This is a fair question and I would like a fair response for my readership and your fans who pay good money to watch your team.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 15, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

let's judge you on your performance, lastings; how did that work out for you on sunday? your upside may be there, but it is not substantial. baserunning, fielding your position (center field!!!), taking pitches. you are 23, going on 19. that is the problem.

Posted by: nova_g_man | March 15, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Adam Dunn just hit a solo HR!!! 8-0 USA. Game will be called off soon. Mercy!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 15, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Dunn just did again! A monster shot to center with a flick of the wrist! AMAZING...

Posted by: AlexL925 | March 15, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Catching up on today's reading and am pleased to see things went a little better for Balestar. Not a great outing but he avoided the big inning at least. Was he scheduled to go four today though?

Thanks for all the insight, JayBee. I, too, have been more of a Milledge supporter but I thought you made some solid points today. And sending him down to SYR - or whoever the extra outfielder turns out to be - makes a lot of sense to me now that it has been mentioned. I'm sure that one of the things that Rizzo has encountered is that every other team in the league know that we have a glut of outfielders and is looking to make a deal on the cheap. Storing one of them away in the silo for a few weeks might bring us a higher price.

NatsNut, I feel compelled to jump on the bandwagon and send out some love as well. Your popularity here is a tribute to your ever graceful witiness.

And a hearty welcome back to Chico (the writer, not the pitcher). It probably has not been said enough: but, sincerely, we do appreciate your coverage of our beloved Nats and your willingness to maintain our little cyber home here. Here's to hoping for a year on the beat with good news to report and maybe even some September haughtiness as we make our push for the play-offs.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 15, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Also - big news today that I did not read elsewhere - ELDRED WALKED (go figure).

Posted by: lowcountry | March 15, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

"nunof1: that was weird, considering I was agreeing with you about the haters.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 15, 2009 4:42 PM"

Well, in that case I apologize. I was presuming this load of condescension you wrote was being dumped on me, since I was the one who raised the issue of continuing use of the terms dysfunctional, tightwad owners and laughingstock.

"Also, just catching up on the previous posts, for the person who is still livid about Nats being a laughingstock, tightwad disaster I think you're just a little behind on the team.

Most of us here have been following the developments of spring for awhile, so we've had a chance to calm down."

This blog can be rather dysfunctional at times, can't it?

Posted by: nunof1 | March 15, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, particularly the last-word-itis parts.

This blog can be rather dysfunctional at times, can't it?
Posted by: nunof1 | March 15, 2009 11:09 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 15, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

And as long as I'm in a mood...

I was in Aruba about 14 years ago. I didn't much like it. But I was hoping for a comeback after the US pitcher threw behind a hitter for a team full of old guys and high school kids they're beating 8-2, because the guy in front of him just hit the only home run that team has EVER hit in WBC play, and he watched it about as long as Jimmy Rollins stood and watched his own. It's the same mindset that leaves anonymous notes in lockers. Crabs in a bucket. Boorish, insecure, bullying crabs, in this case. "Look at the scoreboard," David Wright? How bout you look at the standings?

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 15, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

We had a prior engagement so I didn't get to see tonight's game, but I did see a clip of the HR on Baseball Tonight and I didn't think that the Netherlands player admired his work any longer than some MLB players do from time to time (cough...Ronnie).

Anyway, I don't know whether he'll go back to check the earlier thread on the Bog but I posted a message there for the Dutch fan that Steinberg interviewed earlier this week. I've not seen that many of the WBC games year but I did see the Netherlands' second defeat of the DR and it was a thrilling game that I'll never forget. Those kids should hold their heads high after advancing as far as they did, IMO.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 15, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

They played tough. If they'd had better outfield defense in this game, it would have been much closer. Rollins 2-run home run was unearned, and both triples, albeit legitimately crushed, were misplayed off the wall. Probably wouldn't have made a difference on JRoll's, but Roberts might have been held to a double with a better play off the wall. Kingsale's routes in CF made Lastings look like Joe D.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 15, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Japan-Cuba, otoh, was a clinic. Get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in, and get six innings out of Dice-K.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 15, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

2-0, Mexico over S. Korea now, bottom 2

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 15, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

no sooner do I hit ...
make that 2-1, Mexico, totally crushed out to left.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 15, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

anybody want to take me up on a wild-ass prognostication? (purely intuitional): tavares pitches more innings for the 2009 nats than balester...

Posted by: natty-bumppo | March 16, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Milledge needs to be mentored and learn how to be professional. Its part of growing up. One of the major issues with young athletes, shoot, young folk in general (and I'm not that far removed from being young, really!) is a) they have a sense of entitlement and b) and this is especially the case for athletes--they are coddled and catered too and thus develop an attitude that makes it difficult for them to accept accountability. Granted, I don't know Milledge--and in fact none of us do, so I'm just speculating. Two things I do think we can agree on--after he returned from injury, Milledge played very well. And he also seems to care about winning--though it may show up in different ways than some of us accept and/or appreciate.

Perhaps sending him down would serve as a wake up call, or on the flip side it could crush his confidence. What he needs is some tough love--for mistakes such as today's base running incident, and the like, not to be tolerated. A wise coach I once worked for used to say (to coaches) that we are "either coaching it or allowing it to happen." Here's to hoping that Grisson, Listach and especially Acta can continue to mold him into the player he has the ability to be. By no means do I think he's a bad guy, so I'm more than willing to let him grow on the job.

Posted by: jfromPG | March 16, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Maybe, but I bet Balester gets more action at the clubs...

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 16, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh ... Vinnie's boys are down 3-2 on another -- what's Korean for "Shouldn't that have a stewardess?"

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 16, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Many of the posters here have a great deal of knowledge about baseball, having played and coached -- and even if they didn't. But I doubt that as many know how to be a newspaper reporter, especially on a regular beat and what you have to deal with. Why in the world would anybody here expect Chico to CONFRONT Manny on an issue as petty as Milledge making a base-running blunder? DUH! How stupid would that be, when you know what kind of answer you'd get? Come on! You can't burn bridges like that.
In any case, Chico's dead-tree (I hate the expession, but I can't fight it) story has no quotes from Dukes. Is that because the Nats still have the protective cacoon around him or he's not talking? And Willie Harris was amazingly candid about Lastings being less of a player than Dukes.
And what about Tavaras quote? It's only worth playing for the Nats at 4 a.m. when your drunk??? Get him out here.

Posted by: nats24 | March 16, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm with FJB on this. The Nats must keep Johnson at first bast for as long as he stays healthy. The man has too much up-side, and with his injury history, he won't bring anything back in a trade. Much more likely to be a candidate for comeback.

That means Dunn and Dukes are really the only two with a lock on outfield positions. Only three of this group get to stay: Milledge, Kearns, Harris, Willingham, Mo Pena and the youngsters (who can be sent down this time). A good problem to have.

Of these, Harris is a keeper. He's the infield-outfield utility player that this injury-prone team needs.

Looks like we eat Mo Pena's contract. No one will trade for him.

Kearns, Milledge or Willingham have to be flipped. My sense is that Willingham is the odd man out, as his spring hasn't been great, he's not that young and he doesn't have a millstone contract.

Combined, Dunn, Dukes, Milledge, Kearns and Harris is a pretty strong outfield, both defensively and offensively.

Posted by: nattydread1 | March 16, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

JayBeee, your observations about Milledge make me think about Allen Iverson - "practice?" Baseball has room for self-absorbed egotists - Manny anyone? - because of the individual nature of their actions on the field. So being a jerk during warm-ups while really annoying isn't a disqualification. But he's accountable for the on field results. Seems to me he either develops enough power to justify being in LF or he has to become a competent CF.

Lord knows I'm no athlete or coach, so I don't know the culture of a sports team. I work with folks way lower on the physical skills food chain. But I do know that there is a powerful difference between effort with the right intent and motivation and effort that's imposed upon someone. In my world it's hard to remediate visual spatial skill deficits, particularly when the challenge is dynamic. In LM's world that's tracking a fly ball. He can't get better by just going through the motions.

So if the connection you seem to assume between his actions and body language during warmups and his true effort during work is correct, your conclusion to dump him is supportable. Because he does have athletic potential, I'm willing to give him more time, but I see your point.

I don't care if you are just a blogger. Takes one to know one!

Posted by: utec | March 16, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse


Never thought I would read the phrase "visual spatial skill deficit" on this board--but I must ask if you were referring to Tavarez's 4 am club vision as well? Clearly he may be a poster-child for said condition!

Posted by: jfromPG | March 16, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

From MLBTR: "Kicking Jim Bowden while he's down: Gammons says Nationals outfielder Austin Kearns was claimed on waivers last summer but the Nationals pulled him back."

Am I correct in assuming this means they were trying to send him to the minors, and he had to clear waivers first?

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 16, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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