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Valentin Getting Look At Catcher

For the last few years, Javier Valentin has done too little of anything to feel comfortable anywhere. While with Cincinnati in 2008, Valentin spent time at first base and third base. The Reds often used him as a pinch-hitter. But he started only six games at catcher.

"The problem is, the last few years, I didn't catch enough," Valentin said.

But catching is his trade, and if Valentin makes the Washington Nationals roster, he'll do so as a catcher -- either a back-up or a versatile third-stringer. The more he catches this spring, the better his chances are becoming. Today against the Mets, Valentin went 2-for-3, homering in the fourth inning. In part because of a minor elbow injury to starting catcher Jesus Flores, Valentin has started three of the last five games behind the plate, allowing him a chance, finally, to redevelop some comfort there.

Manager Manny Acta said that the Nationals will pay close attention to Valentin's catching ability. "It's seeing him more behind the plate," Acta said. "He was kind of a third catcher-pinch hitter there in Cincinnati."

Valentin signed with the Nationals on Feb. 3 as a non-roster invitee. The Nationals still like Wil Nieves as their back-up catcher, "but that being said," Acta said, "we brought Javier Valentin to compete for that job, too."

By Chico Harlan  |  March 8, 2009; 5:21 PM ET
 
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Next: Late Night Reading: Dominican Republic and Shawn Hill

Comments

Valentin's definitely getting an opportunity to prove himself, with Flores down. I don't think he'll make the final 25, but if he accepts a AAA assignment, he could be a part of the short-term future for the Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | March 8, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

With the remainder of the minor-leaguers due to report on the 13th, I'd expect the first Nationals' roster "cut-down" no later than the 15th.

Posted by: BinM | March 8, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

BinM: I think there's a roster cutdown Monday, from like 67 to 50 or somesuch.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 8, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Why Selig should consider expanding drug testing to the press box:

Bill Ladson, on Nationals.com, on Shawn "Dr. Andrews will see you now" Hill:
"When he's healthy, it's like watching a young Greg Maddux.

Shawn Hill, shall I remind Big Bill, is a 7-game winner. Lifetime.

Only 348 wins behind Maddux.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 8, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Great day for baseball at space coast today. Lots of fun.

Kearns looked much better than usual with some good at bats, a nice running grab, and a big breakup slide.

Zim looked good too, despite a goofy error. I believe he was 2-2 with a sac fly.

NJ had a couple hits, Martis breezed through his 2, and Milledge had a triple.

Guzman had a throwing error and went 0-3, and Dukes didn't look all that comfy in the box.

Church went 0-3 with a GIDP. I always said he was a bum.

One report that you can't get from the box score is that the players looked really loose. Lots of smiles and good vibes in the dugout. Definitely.

Posted by: nattaboy | March 8, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Chico,

Ladson beat you to the Kearns story....I knew they were holding him out to change his swing.......10 days ("a week or so give or take a few days" by your own new count) for a blister was typical Acta crap. Why this was not done in December and January is the story Chico....everyone new it had to happen...

Posted by: JayBeee | March 8, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Warning. It does not compete. Chico is on vacation. Reset harangue mode to Svrluga.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Warning. "Compete" should be "compute."

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Is there anybody in the Nationals system who has not spent time in the Reds organization?

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | March 9, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

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