Some Pre-Game Notes
Notes, notes, notes.
* Reminder: Watch everything tonight on MASN. Rob Dibble. Bob Carpenter. MASN, my friends. Their updates are more instantaneous than mine. And in HD! (Or is it? Not sure. Either way, newspapers haven't mastered that trick yet.)
* With his son, Aaron, about to have open-heart surgery, Washington Assistant General Manager Bob Boone was coping today by praying for his son and, just a little bit, trying to think about baseball. This afternoon, Bob Boone watched Washington's batting practice. He smiled a little. But he also acknowledged that his Aaron Boone's surgery -- which could take place within the next week -- "is robbing him of something he really wants."
That is, his career.
Last year, Aaron Boone played for the Nationals, grafting part of the family tree into the organization. But Boone departed in the offseason to Houston. Now 36, he has known since college about a heart condition with a defective aortic valve. Every year, Bob Boone said, Aaron has gotten a physical to examine the condition, knowing he would need open-heart surgery if it worsened. This year, it worsened.
"He goes in every year and they always say, 'OK.'" Bob Boone said. "He always thought he would be 50 when he had to have this fixed."
* You'll notice a new name at shortstop tonight. Daniel Espinosa. He was Washington's third-round pick in 2008, and currently in minor league camp. The Nationals brought him over as a sub for tonight's game because they wanted to give regular shortstop Cristian Guzman (toe) one more day to rest, and because their other shortstops -- Alex Cintron and Alberto Gonzalez -- have seen plenty of at bats of late. Espinosa hit a home run in yesterday's intrasquad game, and is wearing No. 95 right now.
* An interesting exchange from the Q&A with Manny Acta today. Asked to explain the timing of Shawn Hill's release, the manager said, "Well, there is more to the Nationals than me. The people upstairs felt this was a decision we had to make."
* Here's what Jason Bergmann said about Hill: "Shawn, certainly when he's healthy, is one of the best pitchers I've ever seen. He's got tremendous stuff, and he's got a great work ethic, too. It's not easy to come back and battle those injuries like he did, and continually battle back. He's still got what it takes to be a major league pitcher. And I think through the years this battle has had such a wear and tear on him personally. You guys have come in here and asked the same questions for, what, three years? And we wish him the best. He's been a great teammate... and a good friend for a lot of people around here."
* Leading contender to sign Hill? Perhaps the Mets. It's just a guess -- nobody who knows has told me as much -- but Hill has a relationship with Omar Minaya that traces back to Montreal.
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