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Bernadina, Maxwell, Manny

Less than a week ago, Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell were roommates in Syracuse and Class AAA teammates. Given the Washington Nationals' outfield depth, both figured they'd stay there for a while.

Only a series of strange breaks, both literal and figurative, opened an opportunity for the two players to run into one another this morning in the Nationals' clubhouse. Bernadina, with a cast on his right ankle, was sitting on a brown leather sofa; in his right hand, he held a series of photo scans showing the pair of two-inch screws inserted last night into his fractured ankle. Maxwell, recalled from Syracuse immediately after Bernadina's injury, was just returning to the clubhouse after batting practice.

"What's up, man?" Maxwell asked as the two exchanged a thick handshake.

Last night, Bernadina underwent ORIF (open reduction internal fixation) surgery, the first step to aid an injury -- sustained in Saturday's loss -- that will keep him out for anywhere from two to three months. Bernadina, only promoted to the big leagues when the Nationals optioned Lastings Milledge on Tuesday, said he just wants to play again this year.

Maxwell, who grew up in Olney, Md., got the call about his friend's injury on Saturday night. By 8 p.m., he was in the car, driving back to D.C. for his first big league stint since 2007, when he played in 15 games. With Washington, he'll come off the bench and serve as a defensive replacement -- much like Bernadina did.

A few other notes about the Bernadina/Maxwell roster maneuvering...

* Though he missed much of last season with a fractured wrist, Maxwell is still well-regarded in the Nats' organization. He's 25, not the ideal age for a prospect, but Acting GM Mike Rizzo believes that Maxwell has the upside of a younger player, simply because he's missed a lot of at bats during his development. (Maxwell missed almost two seasons during his college career at Maryland, too.)

* Ahh, so the corresponding question.

Q: With Maxwell there has always been the talk that he needs more at bats [because of all the time he's missed with injuries]. Can you explain why it made sense for him to come up here where the at bats won't be as plentiful?

Rizzo: Well, mostly because he's capable of playing really good defense, and we felt that, also, roster concerns always come into play. And we thought that Milledge really wasn't ready to come up yet because he hadn't gone down yet and played enough minor league games to really get himself back on track offensively.

Q: So what about a guy like Corey Patterson? Was he considered?

Rizzo: Well, Corey, he doesn't have a roster spot, so we'd have to make a roster move. I thought that Maxwell was the best scenario.

* Manny Acta, especially this spring, became a big, big Bernadina fan. He described the injury this morning as "crushing, because he not only made so much improvement, but he's a great kid, works so hard. He finally gets a break to be up here and for people to think that he can really help the big league club. He goes out there, makes a great catch... and then he's gone again."

* Maxwell is among the most well-spoken individuals in the Washington organization. And that's just not counting the clubhouse. The guy is like David Gregory. Asked today what he wants to improve on, Maxwell said, "You know, it's everything. I've heard a Tiger Woods quote that if you ever think you're good enough, you're done. There is always something to improve on in your game. And for me, it's everything. I want to be the best all-around player I can be. Be the best hitter. Be the best defensive player. Best arm. I want to try to do everything to take my game to the next level."

Okay, switching subjects...

* Shawn Hill, if you're curious: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER last night.

* We'll probably get a roster move after today's game, because the Nats need to make space for Jordan Zimmermann, who debuts tomorrow against Atlanta.

* Statistical marginalia: Before Austin Kearns' grand slam yesterday in the first inning, the Nats were a stunning 1-for-16 (with eight strikeouts!) with the bases loaded. In those 16 at bats, they had produced just two RBI. Even now, the Nats' other key stats with RISP are pretty decent; in fact, they're hitting .380 with runners in scoring position and two outs. But the bases loaded failures were the reason, the only reason, why this team seemed so doomed in clutch situations.

* Rizzo was asked this morning whether he and the organization support Manny Acta. His direct answer: "I support Manny Acta and so does the organization as manager. He's a good young manager, and I think he's handled the ballclub great."

By Chico Harlan  |  April 19, 2009; 1:20 PM ET
 
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Next: Entering The Fifth: Nats 2, Marlins 1

Comments

Top Ten Causes for Optimism This Afternoon:
1. We play at 1:30.
2. The culture has changed: Bowden is gone; Milledge is gone; rules rule, even if they sometimes seem silly in their blind application. It will be easier to make exceptions once the culture has been in place for a season.
3. We are growing pitchers is our mantra.
4. Dukes works with the community, and he will do so again.
5. Dibble is better than we thought.
6. We go deep in the count a lot.
7. We have a bit of a Murderer's (okay negligent Homicider's, then) Row.
8. Soon, we will be carrying only two catchers!
9. We were 2-9 in 2006, 1-8 in 2007. So following today's win, we're on track for 70 wins, which is enough, given our rotation.
10. Manny Acta has unfolded his arms, called out the home plate umpire, ran to RF to help RB, and seems more willing to take direction from his bosses.
11. Adam Dunn is a resource in so many ways. I think he can hit .280 this year.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 19, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Wrong question at the end there Chico.

You need to start hanging out with Jason LaCanfora more.

The right question: Does ownership and Stan Kasten support Manny Acta and his 1 win 9 losses record?


Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

They probably need a veteran starting pitcher on the staff. Hanrahan has a good arm but may not have the demeanor to be a closer. Have they considered that?

Willingham has made himself less than interesting to teams interested in a trade.

Interesting that the Yankees have expressed some interest in Kearns. With Maxwell up and Dukes playing well, assuming Millege returns at some point before July perhaps a trade makes sense?

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy, they're setting us up again!

Posted by: rxs85 | April 19, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Just saw the box (missed the top of the 1st), we already have a (routine) error? Whodunnit?

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Nice DP!

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Scratch that error query, just saw it (AG) on the gameday playlist...

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

@nova_g:

Nice list - Keep up the optimism (albeit somewhat twisted).

@periculum:

Probably a little early to be thinking trade (even with the Yankees), although they may hit the panic button earlier than most, particularly after that debacle yesterday.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

@Hotnats:

Most times, the bear eats the berry, but occaisionally, the berry chokes the bear. That was one of those occaisions.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Never heard that phrase before BinM, definitely made me chuckle, nice one...

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

OMG what the heck kind of throw was that???

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 19, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

...and sometimes the bear completely overthrows the berry to home...

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, sometimes he does; and sometimes he doesn't (6-3 to end the inning).

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... Dave just said that when Manny was asked who would be his closer today, the manager replied that it would be "by committee". Maybe that's not a bad way to approach the bullpen until somebody grabs the closer job with some solid performances.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Volsted seems to be puking all over himself - make him pay!

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I think it's more that Beimel and Hanrahan both pitched the last three day so they're not available.

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 19, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I think it's more that Beimel and Hanrahan both pitched the last three day so they're not available.

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 19, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Crap!

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Narrow strike zone so far today - not many "on the black" calls. Also somewhat tight, with "at the knees" being called a ball.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I always love the comic relief of watching Cabrera swing... he looks like a newborn foal (admittedly, it was a lot more fun watching him last year when the O's came to Nats park).

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

At least he made contact this time.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

just scanning the comments and wanted to clarify: when manny said the closer situation would be by committee, he was referring to today only. hanrahan has pitched in the last three games.

Posted by: Chico Harlan | April 19, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

>Hmmm... Dave just said that when Manny was asked who would be his closer today, the manager replied that it would be "by committee". Maybe that's not a bad way to approach the bullpen until somebody grabs the closer job with some solid performances.

Yeah he's only doing that because Hanrahan's thrown about 70 pitches the last two nights. He needs the rest. That's all it is.

Posted by: Brue | April 19, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I said that already, Chico :)

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 19, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Goom-bye Volstad - 5.3IP, 98PT, two men on. Hayden Penn on for the fish.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Atta boy, Jesus!

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know the fishies got Penn from the O's camp (after Cabrera's AB, I see why the O's let him go). Right on, Daniel!

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

And Cabrera WALKS!

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

New post, btw.

Posted by: swang30 | April 19, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

ty swang!

Posted by: HotNats | April 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Another bases-loaded chance lost, but the team dinged the Marlins' bullpen - They're not invinceable, after all.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Please, let Cabrera get through 6IP.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Crap! I hope Shell isn't too rusty.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

It has to be that University of Maryland education!

-----

Maxwell is among the most well-spoken individuals in the Washington organization.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Fire Rizzo.

-- Shawn Hill Fan Club

Posted by: fischy | April 19, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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