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Kensing Arrives, Guzman Returns

The televisions in the visitors' clubhouse displayed the final innings of the New York Mets-Florida Marlins game before the Washington Nationals took batting practice on Wednesday. In a corner of the clubhouse, a Marlins suitcase rested in front of the locker of the Nationals' newest player: right-handed reliever Logan Kensing.

Kensing peeked toward the screen that showed his former team while changing for the Nationals' game against the Philadelphia Phillies. His acquisition provided additional news on a day that already included the return of shortstop Cristian Guzman.

Here is reaction to this evening's top two stories...

On Kensing:
- Kensing said he was excited, adding it's "always good to still have a job." He learned of the trade around 11 p.m. last night and arrived in Philadelphia today. Kensing is aware of the Nationals' bullpen problems - he watched the bullpen meltdowns first hand when the Marlins visited the Nationals two weeks ago. "We just need to fight through it and stay consistent," Kensing said.

- Kensing was not told what his role would be with the Nationals. Manager Manny Acta did not say a role has been established. When outfielder Josh Willingham was asked about Kensing (the two were teammates with the Marlins), he said one of Kensing's strength is the ability to fit into different roles. Willingham noted that Kensing can pitch a few innings early and be depended upon late in a game.

- Kensing is known as a power arm, but he also mixes in a slider (that Acta complimented) and a changeup. "A good fastball, a good slider, a low-to-mid 90s guy," Willingham said. Acta said the Nationals are trying to line up power arms to improve the bullpen.

- Kensing's most productive season was 2008, when he finished 3-1 with a 4.23 ERA in 55.1 innings and held opposing hitters to a .234 bating average. Kensing has struggled this season with a 9.82 ERA in 7.1 innings. He said he has not yet felt comfortable and was hindered by "a couple passed balls." Acta saw Kensing in spring training and in brief times during two series with the Marlins this season, but said he has not noticed a difference between 2008 and 2009. When speaking about Kensing, Acta kept reminding that the Nationals have seen Kensing often during his career.

On Guzman:
- The Nationals need help in the lead-off spot. They also need improved defense from shortstop. Guzman provides both. The word Acta used was "stability."

"Cristian brings a lot to the table," Acta said. "He's been a bright spot for us for the last three years and he was swinging the bat outstanding before he got hurt."

- Guzman said there are no lingering problems with his hamstring and was excited to return to lineup. He said he does not mind when he bats second or third, but recognized the need for improvement from the lead-off spot. Guzman said it was difficult watching the team's problems from the dugout, but emphasized it is still early in the season and the team can improve.

- Acta said the Nationals' problem has not been their offense, although he acknowledged the benefit of Guzman at the top of lineup. They are batting .217 in that spot this season. Guzman has hit .291 when leading off in his career.

By Zach Berman  |  April 29, 2009; 8:30 PM ET
 
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Next: A Quality Save, A Very Quality High-Five

Comments

i was surprised i saw no comments at all about my suggestion to look into signing shawn figgins next season (he's a FA).

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9514178/Guys-like-Figgins-are-hard-to-find

could solve both the leadoff hitter and 2B issues we have. not to mention his flexibility to play all three OF spots, 2nd, 3rd, and (in a pinch) SS.

Posted by: sec231 | April 29, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

That actually sounds like it would be a good sigining. I'd be for that.

Congrats on 18 in a row Mr Zimmerman.

Posted by: amorris525 | April 29, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Here's a question you can pose to Rizzo.

Since Kensing was Designated for Assignment on the 26th, the Marlins had 10 days to trade him or pass him through waivers, since he was out of options. We traded for him.

In 7 days, when he passed through waivers, is there another team that could have superseded our claim to him? Did we just give up a damn good Potomac reliever for something we could have gotten for free in a week????

Posted by: VladiHondo | April 29, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Chone Figgins would be a good signing — can't argue with a .289 career average. Also echoing amorris on congrats to Zimm for the 18, keep it going!

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't know that the Nats have a gaping hole at 2nd...Anderson Hernandez hitting 8th is pretty sweet, and after his first couple games, he's played an okay 2nd base. I think the Nats need to spend the majority of their money on bullpen arms...not that I know who's available, but it appears evident that a closer is needed.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | April 29, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

So Manny has decided to pull Olsen after 5 2/3rds innings...

Posted by: CountDemoney | April 29, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

@231:

It's Chone Figgins, and yes he's versitile, but he's basically Willie Harris redux (just younger & more expensive).
Would he really improve the team for 2010 & beyond?

Posted by: BinM | April 29, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh Lord, help us, your suffering Nationals fans in another time of need...

Posted by: BinM | April 29, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Mock have a decent outing.

Posted by: BGinVA | April 29, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I really like listening to Rob Dibble - he adds a lot to the broadcasts. Much better than Don Sutton was in the booth.

Posted by: BGinVA | April 29, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

is it me, or has Dibble been hitting the Yuengling tonight?

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

but yes, he is growing on me. Maybe it IS the Yuengling...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, BG — that strikeout pitch to Dobbs was downright (channeling H. Reynolds) filthy.

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Willie!

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Chone Figgins would be a good signing for a lot of different clubs, but not this one. He's basically a really good Bowden signing, which is not what they need. They need starters, not bench guys.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Here's a question you can pose to Rizzo.

Since Kensing was Designated for Assignment on the 26th, the Marlins had 10 days to trade him or pass him through waivers, since he was out of options. We traded for him.

In 7 days, when he passed through waivers, is there another team that could have superseded our claim to him? Did we just give up a damn good Potomac reliever for something we could have gotten for free in a week????

Posted by: VladiHondo | April 29, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Seconded, Chico. Please find out about this.

Posted by: jonfhoffman | April 29, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Olsen have a decent outing, too.

Posted by: CapPeterson | April 29, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Make them pay, Anderson!

Posted by: natteringnabob | April 29, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I think Chico jinxed Flores.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 29, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

johhoffman, evidently the nats aren't all that into gunderson. maybe they had intelligence that another team was interested...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

NICE!!!!

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

get down!!! yes

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

srsly, dibble sounds a lot more "relaxed" tonight. I'm amused.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Yep, I think Dibble's buzzed. I dig it!

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see the intentional walk come back to bite them :) Come on Guzzie!

Posted by: BGinVA | April 29, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

but then, I come from three generations of Harry Carey fans.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Anyone catching the game on ESPN? They're doing some sort of evacuation of the park...

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

OTOH, 4/20 was only a little over a week ago. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions about the beer.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, nm... false fire alarm.

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

ummmm, it looks un-evacuated on MASN, HotNats.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

OK, maybe it's not Dibble who should be peeing in a cup... if you catch my drift and I think you do

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was just flipping over during the commercials (seen plenty of the MASN fans ads), thx...

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

@HotNats:

The evacuation of the park is probably due to the Phillies being behind, and the fact that Lidge is unavailable.

Posted by: BinM | April 29, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

wow. I don't even do pushups during the game...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Buckle up everyone...

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | April 29, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

yanno, if Guzzie knocks that liner down instead of catching it....
I know, it's all reflex.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Carpenter is wrong again, they DID have a chance at the DP

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Can we go one game without an error? Pleas?

Posted by: FloresFan | April 29, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

which is not to say he should have thrown the ball

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

but Wells knows even a batting practice fastball is better than a walk in that situation. thank you.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

They were briefly evacuating Comerica during the ESPN Wed. night NYY/DET game for what turned out to be a false fire alarm is all. I'd just never seen a stadium in evac mode.

And yep, CEvans, I caught your drift, I've opened the windows, sorry about the smoke...

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

apparently I spoke too soon

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

@Hotnats, hey just bring enough for everyone next time...

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Well...I guess you can't say they aren't exciting games...right?

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | April 29, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Kippin' AYE!!!

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Whew, whew, and whew.

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes he SHOULD!

He should have thrown the damn ball. It is not unreasonable to believe that a defensive specialist should be able to make that play.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 29, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Kip Kip Hooray!
(sorry, couldn't help it)

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Tavares is warming up.

Posted by: natteringnabob | April 29, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

@soundbloke, I agree. When he got the ball, he had a play. He has to go for that one.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris's first 100 days only took six weeks.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Allrighty Julian, lock this one down.

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

As Charlie Slowes just said, buckle your seat belts...

Posted by: natteringnabob | April 29, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Tray tables in the upright position...

Posted by: HotNats | April 29, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

fwiw, I'm watching the Phillies feed, and their announcers agreed he shouldn't have thrown the ball. Actually, it sounded like they couldn't believe he did.

Posted by: ac42 | April 29, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

A WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: natteringnabob | April 29, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Nats win! Nats win!

By the way, I would love to know what that exchange between Tavarez and Flores was all about.

Posted by: FloresFan | April 29, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

whoooooooo hooooooo!

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 29, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

so, prompted by natteringnabob I went to MLB audio, and somehow wound up with both the phil and C&D feed at the same time, which was interesting. They both made Luis Tiant references at the same pitches by Tavares, for instance.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Floresfan, if you put it into babelfish, it comes out "lance una huelga de mierda"

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

whoah, let's not get carried away here. i like willie harris and all, but he's barely a poor man's chone (my spelling mistake) figgins.

.248 .325 .342 .667
.289 .356 .385 .741

40 pts of batting avg, 30 pts of OBP, 30pts of SLG difference. that's significant for a leadoff guy. the only real similarity is general style of play and position flexibility. figgins is definitely a better player than harris and i think he *would* be an improvement in 2010 and beyond. this team has no real leadoff hitter, figgins would solve that problem.

and cevans, if you think figgins isn't a starter but a bench player, you're crazy man. and he's far more proven or talented than any 2B/CF in our system.

there's certainly a price that doesn't make sense for figgins, in general, but the guy would be an improvement at 2B or CF here. and definitely an improvement at leadoff hitter, regardless of which position he plays. a lineup that went figgins/dukes/zim/dunn would look pretty good at the top, imnsvho.

Posted by: sec231 | April 29, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Finally!!! We still need a hard throwing closer(no sh#t sherlock) but we'll take it. The Cardinals will be looking to sweep the Nats and we need to split the series, any options besides Cabrera in the rotation? Good outing by Olsen and timely hitting by Dukes nice to see Willie back and Guz too,Hernandez seems to be clutch still leaving too many men on.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 29, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

throw a kipping strike

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

NATS WIN!!!!!!! F YA!!!!!!!!!! CARDINALS ARE GOING DOWN!!!!!!!!!!! LETS TURN THIS SHIP AROUND BOOYA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5-15 SWEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: BigCarter28 | April 29, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Sec231, I *am* a crazy man, as it happens, but Figgins, at 31, is past the high point of his career. By the time this team is competitive, he'll be on the downside. Which is not to say he'd be a bad get for the next few years, since they don't seem to have any infielders coming up, so maybe you have a point, there. Maybe he's this year's O-Dog, if he can pass a physical.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

LOL@CEvansJr!!

Posted by: FloresFan | April 29, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

and as for the Willie Harris thing ... yo obviously new around here.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

@FloresFan ... grazie.

Posted by: CEvansJr | April 29, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Nats WIN!! Wooohooo!!

Also, Dibble didn't strike me as being under the influence.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 29, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the contact hitter explanation earlier.

Anyone going to comment on how smart Manny is for taking Olsen out when he did? For the Mock, Wells, Tavares decision?

Posted by: NatsNut | April 29, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Manny's smarts cont'd...

or for being solely responsible for winning this game? or argue that this game bought him extra time in his job?

have I missed anything?

Posted by: NatsNut | April 29, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

considering i've been here since the beginning... not so much... :P

i love me some willie harris, but even if he can kill two stones with one bird, and his house has no doors, only walls that he walks through, *he's* a bench player.

yes, it's not out of scope to compare the concept of signing figgins to signing odog. except for one thing: figgins fills a leadoff need, which hudson would not have.

Posted by: sec231 | April 29, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Guzman = improved defense ??? Our standards have gotten low.

Posted by: paulkp | April 29, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

NN,

Nice snark.

Manny made the right move there. Even if the pen blew it again, it was the right move. Olsen was on 93 pitches and a righty was coming up with 2 on. Also, he threw Mock back out and showed some confidence in him. Solid move.

Man, I'm hope these guys get on a roll.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 29, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I love the intensity Tavarez brings to the table... when he gets key strikes outs and starts slapping his chest it gets me jacked up. I remember earlier in the year he got an 8th inning K to keep us just 1 run down and proceeded to run into the dugout and slap everyone in the chest trying to fire up the team.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | April 29, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Don't look now but Mark Teixeira just dipped below the Mendoza Line at a stealth .197

Surely he will break out of it? Right?

LET'S HOPE HE STAYS ON THAT HIT-LESS STREAK!!!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 29, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

"have I missed anything?"

NatsNut, you're certainly not missing a wild sense of optimism if you think the people who dog Manny for every player's failure will give him any credit when those players succeed.

Posted by: joebleux | April 29, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I was very concerned when the Nats announced that Rob Dibble was going to be the color analyst this year because I thought he talked too much, but I have been pleaseantly suprised that I enjoy his commentary. I think he and Carpenter have a better chemistry than Carp had with Sutton. I'm sure some will disagree but I think they do a pretty good job together.

Posted by: natbiscuits | April 29, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

"I love the intensity Tavarez brings to the table"

Me too!!! Great win tonight, let it be the start of something good for this team!

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 29, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the contact hitter explanation earlier.

Anyone going to comment on how smart Manny is for taking Olsen out when he did? For the Mock, Wells, Tavares decision?

Posted by: NatsNut | April 29, 2009 10:49 PM
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Manny got smart pulling Dunn for a pinch-runner and Olsen for relief. Not sure about Mock.

How close was Mock to disaster. Man on 1st and 2-0 to the next batter and he gets a borderline strike. An inch from going 3-0 with the top of the lineup on deck.

Finally a strike call in the Nats favor.

Manny Acta deserves for some good things to happen.

Nice for someone outside of SMarti and JZim27 getting a WIN.

Now if Lannan can get his stuff together and the team gets him 4 runs a game.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 29, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Finally, I'll get a good nights sleep for a change.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 29, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Glad I scared Manny into winning a game. Just kidding. Let's go, Nats!

Posted by: nats24 | April 30, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

In the end Manny is as good as the reliever he puts in. If the bullpen sinks, so does Manny. For that reason alone he should have demoted Hanrahan about 3 blown saves ago.

I really liked the confidence that Tavarez has on the mound. You might get a run off of him now and then, but he will not surrender to the batters. Hanrahan can learn a great deal from him.

Posted by: driley | April 30, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

I also appreciated the intensity of Tavarez.

I've said it before (I believe that I was, ahem, ahead of the curve in this case) but I'll say it again: I'm liking Dibble. It does seem as though he and Carpenter have a good chemistry going.

Let's build on this, Nats!

Oh, yeah. How about Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo? Didn't do much in his start the other day. Shut out the Pirates on 2 hits through 8 innings. Oh yeah, and struck out 11. Didn't get any run support, though. That's okay. He helped himself and homered. Final score: 1-0. Nice. Can we get him, Mike? :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 30, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

we win once a week and the manny fan club gets arrogant about it. nice.

Posted by: MrMadison | April 30, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

glad our bullpen got the job done. glad manny made the right calls on his relievers. STILL think manny should be fired. he is too passive, plays favorites rather than holding people accountable, and his bad decisions outnumber his good ones. by a lot.

Posted by: MrMadison | April 30, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

If sunday is the first day of the week, and my calendar reads that way, we've won twice this week already. More to come?

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 30, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

and one win a week is not going to drastically change my mind. so sue me.

Posted by: MrMadison | April 30, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Seconded Madison.

The team is 5-15 and the ones questioning the management are the pariahs. Speaks volumes of the expectations around here.

It took him 20 games to realize who his best relievers are. Good for him.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 30, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Hanrahan has the stuff to close...from the neck down. Perhaps one day he'll have the make-up for the job. Perhaps not.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 30, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Good stuff, Zach. The gamer was good, too. Thanks!

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 30, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Arrogant? Because I didn't perceive that. Humor, yes. Arrogance, no.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 30, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The thing is, this team could easily be 12-8 or 10-10. That is what is so frustrating.

Minus Cabrera, I feel pretty good about the starting pitching. Even when Martis got shelled the other night, he seemed composed. Olsen is OK. Zimmermann has been a little lucky, but that's what we need more of.... luck. Just get Lannan some run support, and we have three solid young starters, a passable fourth, and who knows with Cabrera. Maybe signing Pedro Martinez isn't such a bad idea after all.

Posted by: kevinx | April 30, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

MrMadison: One win per week?
The Nationals have won 4 of their last 9, and should easily have won 2 more of those (1-0 loss to ATL and 13-11 loss to Philly). Manny certainly wasn't the reason they lost those two.

4 of nine isn't great, but it's certainly better than you're giving them credit for.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 30, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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