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Nationals Journal: April 12, 2009 - April 18, 2009

Injury Problems, Closer Problems

So much to discuss here. Hopefully the Wash Post doesn't rent Internet space on a per-word basis. Leads are getting blown and closers are shaky and outfielders are reporting late to work (because of charity events!) and the DL is...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 18, 2009; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Bernadina Leaves With Injury [UPDATE]

[UPDATE 6 P.M.] -- Bernadina is going on the 15-day DL; Justin Maxwell will be called up Sunday. [UPDATE, 3:28 p.m.] --Bernadina has a right ankle sprain. He is in the process of having precautionary X-rays. --- Here in the...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 18, 2009; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (105)
 
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Through Five: Nats 6, Marlins 3

Midway through the fifth, the Nationals lead the Marlins, 6-3. It still has the feel of a close game, somehow -- especially with Florida starter Josh Johnson (the NL ERA leader, circa 1:05 p.m.) settling down and Scott Olsen always...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 18, 2009; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Cintron Recalled From Class AAA Syracuse

Tabulate his absence from the big leagues, and Alex Cintron barely missed a moment. His final appearance with the Baltimore Orioles came last season, in the team's second-to-last game. Today, with the Washington Nationals' season not even two weeks old,...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 18, 2009; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Dukes Scratched For Violating Team Rule

Up here in the press box, we just got word that Elijah Dukes has been scratched from the lineup for violating an undisclosed team rule. The indication is that Dukes was five minutes late for the team's workout today, which...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 18, 2009; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Saturday's Nats-Marlins Lineups [UPDATE]

UPDATE: The Nats just sent a revised lineup; Dukes out, Bernadina in. Here it is: Hernandez - 2B Johnson - 1B Zimmerman - 3B Dunn - LF Bard - C Kearns - RF Bernadina - CF Gonzalez - SS Olsen...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 18, 2009; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Some Light Morning Reading

Good morning from beautiful Nationals Park, where the weather alone has made certain to dispel the hangover from last night. Already, Manny Acta and one coach (my eyesight can't make out the identity) are jogging along the outfield warning track,...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 18, 2009; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Guzman Placed On 15-Day DL

After tonight's game, a 3-2 extra inning loss, the Nationals placed shortstop Cristian Guzman on the 15-day disabled list because of his strained left hamstring. The move is retroactive to April 14. Washington is expected to add shortstop Alex Cintron...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 17, 2009; 11:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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The Night So Far, In A Few Sentences

(Deadline = brevity.) You can read the updated Zim story here. John Lannan: 6-1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Best start of the year, by far. Vintage Lannan. He'll feel good about this one. Lannan also...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 17, 2009; 9:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Acta Ejected From Ballgame

For just the second time in his career, Manny Acta has been ejected. The manager was tossed at the end of the third inning, just after Elijah Dukes was called out on strikes. The ejection occurred under strange circumstances, too:...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 17, 2009; 8:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Washington Natinals

There's no space for sartorial comments in the box score, but that doesn't mean you can't get charged with an error. Or several. At least two players today -- and it could be more... I'll keep my eyes open --...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 17, 2009; 8:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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A Bit More On Zim

Hey folks. Shortly, we'll get you a link to the updated Zimmerman news story. In the meantime, here's the quick-hit he-said, he-said update. Zimmerman, speaking before today's game against the Marlins, professed no knowledge of ongoing contract negotiations, saying only,...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 17, 2009; 7:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Friday Night Nats-Marlins Lineups

Chico's tied up right now, so here are tonight's lineups. Marlins: Maybin - CF Baker - C Ramirez - SS Cantu - 1B Uggla - 2B Hermida - LF Ross - RF Helms - 3B Nolasco - RHP Nationals: Hernandez...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 17, 2009; 4:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Nats, Zimmerman Closing In on Extension

The Washington Nationals are moving toward a 5-year, $45 million extension with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, a source said. The deal is not yet finalized, but indications are that the contract could be announced within the next few days. A...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 17, 2009; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Friday Afternoon Reading

Delayed a bit this morning because Boz left us such a great overnight post and Chico followed with what is sure to be a crowd-pleaser -- more on Bonafacio. So I wanted to wait until the dust settled. First, in...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 17, 2009; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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The Bonifacio Trade, Revisited, Pt. I

Josh Willingham's home run last night -- a solo shot in the seventh -- was just one of four during the game, no more important than the others. Except for this: It enlarged the Nats lead (from 3-2 to 4-2)...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 17, 2009; 10:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Silly Game

Premise for the night: Lastings Milledge was sent down. Will anything good come out of it? Will it help break an 0-7 start? Or is he just a talented project who's the "ritual sacrifice" to a losing streak? (Much as...

By Thomas Boswell  |  April 16, 2009; 10:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
 
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Nationals Take Lead, Guzman Watch Continues

Base hits by Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman put runners on base for Adam Dunn's three-run first-inning home run. That was the way the lineup was designed to work. Manager Manny Acta said before the game that he had hoped...

By Zach Berman  |  April 16, 2009; 7:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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Thursday's Nats-Phillies Lineups

This is Zach Berman in Chico's place for tonight's 7:05 game between the Nationals and Phillies. The Nationals will try to win their first game of the season, and they will attempt it with a new-look lineup... Phillies (4-3): Rollins...

By Zach Berman  |  April 16, 2009; 3:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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Thursday Morning Reading Lite

This is a quickie; the morning has been very distracting. Sorry about that. I'll add to this if I find anything else of interest... With Xavier Nady looking at Tommy John surgery, Joel Sherman says the Yankees are in need...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 16, 2009; 8:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
 
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Rainout Ramifications

1. Makeup date TBA (almost certainly at a time when the weather is better). 2. The Nationals' starting pitchers all get pushed back a day. Thus, Shairon Martis, tonight's scheduled starter, goes tomorrow night (against Philadelphia's Joe Blanton), and the...

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 15, 2009; 4:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Tonight's Game Postponed

Dave is down in the clubhouse still, but I have two skeletal updates to post. Look for details soon. First, tonight's game between the Phillies and Nationals at Nationals Park has just been called off. There's no immediate word on...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 15, 2009; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Will This One Be Played?

I've been in the press box at Nationals Park for all of seven minutes now, and I've been asked variations of that question a half-dozen times already. My response: Who am I, Al Roker? I don't know. I've heard everything...

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 15, 2009; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Lots Of Proper Nouns, A Little Speculation

The Nationals need to make at least one roster move today, because their demotion yesterday of Lastings Milledge to Class AAA clears up a spot. So it's almost like they have a buy-one-free coupon, redeemable for an infielder/outfielder of your...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 15, 2009; 8:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (97)
 
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Milledge Optioned To Class AAA Syracuse [UPDATED]

Dissatisfied with his production and tired of waiting for it, the Washington Nationals today optioned Lastings Milledge to Class AAA Syracuse, indicating to their center fielder that long-term potential does not guarantee a short-term job. Milledge's demotion represents an abrupt...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 14, 2009; 3:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (182)
 
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Morning Reading

The 2009 Washington Nationals have played, oh, about 60 total innings of baseball, and already 1.) they are 5-1/2 games back of first, the same gap faced by 2008 Nats on May 19; 2.) their manager is answering questions about...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 14, 2009; 8:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (125)
 
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Post-Game Notes

The Nats actually considered canceling this afternoon's game. We learned more details after the 9-8 loss. Here's what happened, in essence: After receiving the news that Harry Kalas had died, Nationals officials approached their Phillies counterparts with a question: What...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 13, 2009; 7:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Guzman Hobbled

One of the finest games of Cristian Guzman's career -- the shortstop went 5-for-5 -- ended prematurely. After reaching with a hit in the ninth inning, turning around first base, Guzman appeared to sustain a leg injury, and limped off...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 13, 2009; 6:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Eighth Inning: Phils 9, Nats 6

The decision to let Saul Rivera pitch instead of lefty Mike Hinckley (or some other lefty) in the top of the seventh was a head-scratcher. The Phillies have a middle of the order heavy with lefties. Chase Utley bats third....

By Chico Harlan  |  April 13, 2009; 5:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Through Five: Nats 4, Phillies 4

What an adventurous game so far. Maybe that's what you get when Daniel Cabrera is pitching, though. Or when your defense commits three errors, gets some hometown scoring on least one other fielding gaffe, and turns several flyballs to center...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 13, 2009; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Post Your Game Thoughts/Rants Here

With Harry Kalas' death, Chico is scrambling to write an extra story so the game update will be delayed. Meanwhile, post your game thoughts below. My current game thoughts, while sitting in the office: Those were two interesting catches we...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 13, 2009; 4:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Phillies Legend Kalas Dead At 73

Harry Kalas, the Hall of Fame broadcaster whose voice connected Philadelphia's team and its fans, died today after collapsing in the press box at Nationals Park, leaving behind a void of silence and a mourning organization. Kalas was pronounced dead...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 13, 2009; 4:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Phillies Broadcaster Harry Kalas Dies at 73

Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed out in a press box at Nationals Park today and was pronounced dead at GW Hospital. He was 73. "We lost our voice today," team president David Montgomery said, his voice cracking. "He has loved...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 13, 2009; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (72)
 
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Military Representatives To Throw First Pitch(es)

There's no Obama. For the first pitch today -- it's scheduled for 2:57 p.m. -- the Nats will have representatives of the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 13, 2009; 2:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Dunn on The Bog

Dan Steinberg has an interview with Adam Dunn you all might want to read. In fact, check out The Bog all day long; he'll be doing his thing from Nats Park....

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 13, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Who Throws Out The First Pitch?

Obama? Obama? Still no official word. One player told me today that he was stuck behind a barricade of presidential-looking vehicles en route to the ballpark -- but who knows, DC does have its share of dark-colored SUVs. When I...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 13, 2009; 1:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Opening Day Lineups

Still no word on the first pitch. I will say this: I started to have some doubts three days ago, when the Nats issued a "get there early!" press release. That's always a sign something is up. I also was...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 13, 2009; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Opening Day Reading

Happy Opening Day, everyone. I know there will some tapping toes throughout NJ land until 3 p.m. so here are some suggestions to keep you occupied. If I mentioned this already, I apologize, but I don't think I have. Fellow...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 13, 2009; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Baseball Is Back At Nats Park

The home opener should be one of those pure moments on the American calendar, when everything is flush with optimism. Joe DiMaggio once described his affection for Opening Day by saying, "You think something wonderful is going to happen." The...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 13, 2009; 9:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Little Problems, A Big Ugly Record

So it's official. The Nats will be coming home still looking for their first win. They lost today, 8-5. They're 0-6. They're not getting embarrassed right now; this isn't the avert-your-eyes blowout baseball from the early part of the Florida...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 12, 2009; 5:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
 
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Harris Leaves Game With Injury

[UPDATE, 2:38 p.m.] -- Harris has a left oblique strain and will be reevaluated tomorrow. The Nats are currently calling his status day-to-day. Meantime, after a very smooth first three innings for Scott Olsen, the Braves busted out in the...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 12, 2009; 2:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
 
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Tickets Still Available For Opening Day

Two-hundred and one days have passed since the Washington Nationals last played a regular season game in Nationals Park. And several factors, President Stan Kasten said today, explain why tickets still remain for the first chance to see the Nationals...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 12, 2009; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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This Afternoon's Lineup

Milledge sits this one out... I'll tack on Atlanta's lineup once we get word. Washington Guzman -- 6 Dukes -- 8 Zimmerman -- 5 Dunn -- 3 Kearns -- 9 Willingham -- 7 Bard -- 2 Harris -- 4 Olsen...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 12, 2009; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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What Does The Winless Start Mean?

Post writers Dana Hedgpeth and David Nakamura put together an in-depth piece looking at the stalled economic development around Nationals Park. Check it out here. The game story from last night's defeat is here. If you'll allow for a morning...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 12, 2009; 10:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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