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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.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 18, 2009; 7:12 PM ET
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Next: Through Three Innings At HSCS


MASN's truly terrible.

When the picture and audio aren't cutting out -- which ordinarily wouldn't bug me when listening to Carpenter and now Dibble -- the quality of the picture looks like it's being filmed with Angelos's old Magnavox Camcorder someone bought him for Christmas back in '85.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | March 18, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Best wishes to the extended Boone family, and best hopes for AFB coming forward - You'll make a great coach someday.

Posted by: BinM | March 18, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Acta has a nice way of letting you know what he really thinks, huh?

Hill had the best stuff on the team. I think it was worth giving him a chance to get through Spring Training. Before he had the shoulder injury, he was looking like he'd overcome the injury thing -- and he was lights out as a pitcher. I would have like to see him get a full chance to get back there. I wonder if Rizzo, being the new guy at the top, didn't feel some special pressure to show he's watching the bottom line carefully.

Posted by: fischy | March 18, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

ok, so Milledge strikes out with 2 men on and then lets a fly ball from the pitcher go over his head. hmph.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 18, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Milledge is not looking good so far tonight. I'm sure JayBee will be filling us in soon enough...

Posted by: BGinVA | March 18, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind Dibble so far, but he is going to have to learn to defer to Bob Carpenter, even if he is saying something more interesting. I have listened to Dibble quite a bit on XM, and I am sort of tired with his old Reds stories. However, he showed he did his homework in his discussion with Mike Rizzo.

I am happy to give him a chance. He seems ready to do the research, although he sounded perhaps a little too enthusiastic about the team's chances at times. Not Ray Knight drooling, mind you, but aiming to please a little much so far.

He cares about the game, he wants to be interesting. He is a pretty bright guy, I think. I am happy to see how it goes.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 18, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Here is something from a story about the WBC:

(Manager Davey) "Johnson said Adam Dunn will play first base, despite the Washington Nationals not wanting their new offseason outfielder to move to the infield. Mark DeRosa would have been a candidate, but the Cleveland Indians told Johnson they did not want him playing first base."

I guess the Indians' desires out weigh those of the Nats. However, I am more intrigued that the Nats did not want Dunn at first.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 18, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

JayBee, if you're sitting there mooching off the Lerners' free wireless, you need to stay sober. Otherwise you're no better than Dmitri sittting there on the bench doing nothing and collecting his money. Oops, too late, right? You're probably drunk already. After all, you post like you're half in the bag all the time already...

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Great play! Bonifacio is OUT at the plate!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 18, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

First time listening to Dibble. Wish he'd pay attention to the game and pause his blathering when something happens.

He's doing what that guy (Reynolds?) was doing on WBC game--not shutting up.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 18, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

God the MASN standard definition picture sucks.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: BGinVA | March 18, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

What's the deal with the camera behind home plate not being able to track a fly ball?

Posted by: theredskin | March 18, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Milledge is a great DH in the making....

Posted by: fischy | March 18, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

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