Kearns In Right Field, And Other Assorted Nuggets
Though the Nationals still have not announced it, because the players involved had not been informed of the decision as of an hour before tonight's game, team officials are saying privately that Austin Kearns will be the starting right fielder. Everything, of course, is fluid -- because Kearns won't be playing every day, because Elijah Dukes will also see some time in center field, because Josh Willingham must also get at-bats, because a trade is always a possibility, and because players get hurt. But for now, it appears Kearns won the job with an impressive spring, aided in part by his work with new hitting coach Rick Eckstein.
We'll have more on this after the game, as I expect Manny Acta to address the situation then.
In the meantime, in rapid-fire style, here are some other items of interest:
*The instincts of some commenters on a previous thread are correct: Jason Bergmann was largely a victim of the fact he had a minor league option remaining. Acting general manager Mike Rizzo said Bergmann has a few things to work on at Class AAA, primarily throwing more first-pitch strikes.
*This is interesting: Garrett Mock will go to Syracuse not to start games -- but to close them. "We're grooming him as a closer," Rizzo said.
*The Nationals probably will only carry three catchers until Jordan Zimmermann is activated to join the rotation on April 19.
*The decision to go with three lefties in the bullpen was partly due to the way Wil Ledezma and Mike Hinckley pitched, but also because of the sheer number of top left-handed hitters in the NL East (plus switch hitters, such as Chipper Jones, who are less effective from the right side).
*Acta on Ledezma: "He's got a power arm from the left side. We can see why he keeps getting chances. I hope this will be a long stop for him, that he can just take off. Because we don't see him only as a situation lefty. He can go out there and overpower right-handers too. This guy throws 93, 94 [mph] and he was able to tighten up that breaking ball with [pitching coach Randy St. Claire]. So we're looking forward for this guy to settle down here and stop bouncing around."
*Your Syracuse rotation: Jordan Zimmermann (until joining the Nationals on April 19), Collin Balester, Kip Wells, Mike O'Connor and Craig Stammen.
*Ryan Zimmerman says his deadline of Monday for a contract extension is "pretty firm," though he jokingly told me he might give the sides until 4:11 p.m. -- one minute past first pitch -- if it looked as if they were close to a deal. But according to Rizzo, the sides are having "daily" conversations.
*Adam Dunn says he knows how many at-bats it takes to get him ready for season, and acknowledges he is "cutting it close" this spring, because of his participation in the World Baseball Classic. "But the last three days, I've felt great," he said.
*John Lannan said he worked through some issues during a bullpen session yesterday, and expects Monday's Opening Day start to be much better than his last Grapefruit League start in Dunedin, Fla.
Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 4, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: WrongDog | April 4, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: nunof1 | April 4, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Brue | April 4, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: UnionStation | April 4, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: usmc53 | April 4, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bulldog11 | April 4, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.