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Thoughts on the 25-Man Roster

Jesus Colome: He can't be brought back to the majors until May 15 because he was released (by Jim Bowden), according to the Nats. He's been told that if he pitches the way he did in Florida that he'll be back. He had to make a tough choice because, on March 29, he could have gone to any other club (if there were clubs interested). However, he trusted the Nats' assurances that he'd be evaluated on the merits of his performance and that both Manager Manny Acta and pitching coach Randy St. Claire had a good opinion of him, especially after his excellent spring.

Mike Hinckley and Steven Shell: They were kept, in part, because both are out of options. Both pitched well last year and acting GM Mike Rizzo has always been high on Hinckley, boosting him to Bowden last summer. Also, Acta is beside himself with glee at the thought of having two LH starters and three LH relievers (Hinckley, Wil Ledezma and Joe Beimel) against the Phils, Mets and Marlins in April. "Options, options, I've got options," he chuckled by the batting cage.

Dmitri Young: The Nats want him to go to AAA and work his way back here fairly quickly. The Nats would like a bench with three switch-hitters on days that Anderson Hernandez is not in the lineup, including Josh Bard and Young. "Am I crazy or do we have one of the best benches in baseball?" said a front officer member. Rizzo was calmer, saying, "We've got a good bench." Well, for now. Until, unless, the trades start.

Elijah Dukes: He's not going to be starting in RF on Opening Day. The Nats will be interested to see how he takes it. So will I. My view is that if you have him on your team, you play him when he's healthy and see if he's a star. You know Kearns is a 20-homer, 80-RBI, classy RF -- at his best. No reason to think he can be better. Dukes? Who knows. 30HR-30SB-100RBI+ is unlikely for anybody who hasn't actually done it, no matter how talented. But don't you have to find out?

Austin Kearns: Everybody is happy for him. He's worked like a dog with coach Rick Eckstein to change his stance (more open) and his basic swing (get rid of the loopy/uppercut action, swing down or level, get backspin on fly balls). You don't often see such radical changes or a willingness to try them. But he's getting paid $8.5 million to make every effort to save his career as a frontline player.

Josh Willingham: Acta drools over him. And he just hit a grand slam in the first inning against the Orioles into the Baltimore bullpen. (That would be the Odious O's bullpen, in NJ terminology, correct?) Acta, who worships speed in his outfielders and loves talking about the AAA outfield of Roger Bernadina, Justin Maxwell and Corey Patterson, has discovered, to his delight, that Willingham is actually fairly fast and in one speed drill was second on the team to Patterson. I find this almost impossible to believe. But I was very surprised the first time I saw him sprint to first in Florida. Quick. He just swings very hard and gets out of the box incredibly slowly. There's a lot of pro-Kearns-and-Willingham karma around here. We'll see if it's warranted. Let the 5-for-3-positions musical chairs begin! "Competition is good," said Kasten. Isn't that, like, the most basic truth in sports?

Garrett Mock: Sent down -- to learn to be a closer! The Nats looks much better than they expected with Beimel on board, Ledezma looking useful. Or perhaps I should say it looks much less terrifying than feared. But what if Joel Hanrahan is injured? Beimel might close, but... Obviously, they need another big-league-ready, late-inning reliever and Manny likes Mock's makeup. Mock was Not Happy when told.

Adam Dunn: Hit a titanic BP homer, eight rows from the concourse -- which isn't close to reaching the concourse, but is still impressive. Also, on the first ground ball hit to him at first base he made as brutal an error as you'll see. Absolutely routine to his right, totally botched. He can play LF just fine for a big guy. Trying to make him a first could be quite a project. He may be starting from the depths of Dmitri Defense. On the first hitter of the game, he ignored Ronnie Belliard, who was calling for the ball, and they almost ran into each other a couple of feet in foul ground. Yes, it's (only) spring training. Get this guy off first until/unless there is a trade that makes him The First Baseman. Then he can take a million grounders, learn the job, take pride in it, etc.

Jason Bergmann: Got sent to AAA because he had an option left. Lots of decisions, especially between players of roughly equal ability, are made on this basis. I feel bad for Bergmann, but he seems to have found his best role in the bullpen.

Julian Tavarez: He will be the Donald Brashear of the Nats. That's why he's here. That and an elastic arm that can be abused. "We could use a little of that around here," said one member of the FO. "Tavarez has good command of his fastball. He can work it to either side of the shoulder blades," I said to one FO member. Just laughed. JT's reputation may suffice to hold down brush back pitches against the Nats. Believe me, this is not new info.

Enough for now.

By Thomas Boswell  |  April 4, 2009; 7:12 PM ET
 
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Comments

Garrett Mock: Sent down -- to learn to be a closer!
------------------------------------
Garrett Mock a closer? I wasn't much impressed as a middle inning reliever based on 2008.....

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 4, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree that you gotta play Dukes, but I still like the decision.

Why? Because I'm thinking - and hoping - that with his hot spring they're giving Kearns a chance to play when people will notice, so they can trade him.

So I'll be cheering for him extra hard - so that he leaves.

Posted by: nattaboy | April 4, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree that you gotta play Dukes, but I still like the decision.

Why? Because I'm thinking - and hoping - that with his hot spring they're giving Kearns a chance to play when people will notice, so they can trade him.

So I'll be cheering for him extra hard - so that he leaves.

Posted by: nattaboy | April 4, 2009 7:37 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In a market like this, the only way to trade him is by eating most of that $8.5 million salary or waiting until July 31st and hope a contender wants him.

Otherwise, if the Nats finish the season with Kearns on the roster then he files for Free Agency then you can expect he WON'T be offered Free Agent arbitration so he will leave the Nats with no compensation soooo I think it makes sense for the Nats to move him by July 31st.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 4, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Did you hear it? There it was. The Bob (Carpenter) praising Kearns' defense after AMAZINGLY fielding a base hit along the right field line after it bounced ONLY ONCE!!!!! WOWW!!! Gold glove here we come - He can field a ball on a bounce! Whoooweeeee.

Carpenter is an idiot. I will be listening to radio for audio from here on out.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 4, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

i'll take a wait and see on the lineup/roster but i'm liking boswell in here...

Posted by: longterm | April 4, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

3 Dibble references now to Mark Lerner....learned well from former GM Jim Bowden

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 4, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Carpenter again, after Kearns walks on a pitch 2 feet outside:

"AHHH! THAT's a good at BAT by Austin Kearns. HE's gonna be interesting to watch this year."

My god. Is Carpenter a relative or something? The dude walked. Now he gets the Gold Glove and Comeback Player of the Year before he even plays a game.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 4, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

ok thrilledge; your time

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who thinks the starting rotation at SYR -- Jordan Zimmermann (until joining the Nationals on April 19), Collin Balester, Kip Wells, Mike O'Connor and Craig Stammen -- is stronger than Lannan, DCab, Olsen and Martis here?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 4, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

or not; jumps at a pitch; maxwell waited well and walked; he's a ballplayer; thrilledge is not.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

mock will be back; and he throws inside; he and tavarez set a tone. love it.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

>Am I the only one who thinks the starting rotation at SYR -- Jordan Zimmermann (until joining the Nationals on April 19), Collin Balester, Kip Wells, Mike O'Connor and Craig Stammen -- is stronger than Lannan, DCab, Olsen and Martis here?

I certainly hope so.

Posted by: Brue | April 4, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

>maxwell waited well and walked;

If you watch closely, eventually you'll realize that this is all he does.

Posted by: Brue | April 4, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

>Carpenter is an idiot. I will be listening to radio for audio from here on out.

Maybe you could give up posting on the internet while you're at it.

Posted by: Brue | April 4, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

25 doubles, 25 HRs, 25 SBs; only minor leaguer to have the hat trick.

>maxwell waited well and walked;

If you watch closely, eventually you'll realize that this is all he does.

Posted by: Brue | April 4, 2009 8:16 PM |

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

And let's be clear. Kearns didn't have a "very good" ST, it was good (outstanding considering how much he usually sucks). His average was in the .280's. Let's not get carried away Kearnsies.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 4, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I thought Maxwell only hit .233 last year. Got too big of a swing, too many holes, the big league pitchers pound his weaknesses instead of AA guys who are merely trying to throw strikes.

Posted by: Brue | April 4, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Tavares made it cuz the Nats want to turn him into a prospect in June.

Posted by: EdDC | April 4, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse


fractured wrist; OPS .826, tho .233, yes

I thought Maxwell only hit .233 last year. Got too big of a swing, too many holes, the big league pitchers pound his weaknesses instead of AA guys who are merely trying to throw strikes.

Posted by: Brue | April 4, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

small crowd, even though an exhibition game, I'd of thought they'd get 20+ tonight. Worrisome??

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 4, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Brue, at least give me the time of day before you tell me not to post. Grow up.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 4, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Sure it's worrisome, cokedispatch. They might not sell out Opening Day, even with Obama and thousands of Filthy fans streaming south, provided their work release permits are in order. This had to be the least publicized exhibition ever. No ads, no notice, nothing. Of course, why would Uncle Teddy care? He got the money from the season ticket holders (I'm one of them) whether we went or not.

On the brighter side, What a pro Willingham is. He'll stand out like a sore thumb in this clubhouse.

Nats Town, population 21,000

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 4, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

>Hey Brue, at least give me the time of day before you tell me not to post. Grow up.

It's 9:22. Now you can stop posting.

Posted by: Brue | April 4, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

And as I said, grow up.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 4, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Boz,
Good post. Good analysis. Keep stopping by.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | April 4, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

In re Martis: “Acta pulled out a copy of the spring statistics, suggesting that numbers proved the point.”

Thrilledge: small sample, yes: 4 for 38, 1 BB, 8K, 2R .105, since the announcement of him as the choice for leadoff. In April? 1 for 13, .077, .143 OBP, 0 for 4 today with 4 LOB. Trade him and put Willingham in LF.

Lastings Milledge leads off (that whole setting the table business)! Ignites the offense, works the count, waits for his pitch, scores runs, avoids outs, has a sharp eye at the plate, draws walks, handles the bat well, has a great on-base percentage, and is aggressive on the base paths (once you are on the basepaths?).

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 4, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Can someone remind me how we acquired Martis? Wasn't it a trade two years ago? Looks like he has potential.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 4, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

So how long does Kearns have before Nats Town turns on him if he isn't hitting at least .275 and knocking the ball out of the park somewhat regularly? Tax Day?

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | April 4, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

So how long does Kearns have before Nats Town turns on him if he isn't hitting at least .275 and knocking the ball out of the park somewhat regularly?

Oh, I'd say 3rd inning of opening day...

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 4, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

The Kastenburn organization stumbles into a new season.
Went to tonight's exhibition against the O's. And the new season is going to offer some truly pathetic innovations at Nats Park.
--They've automated the speed gun panel on the scoreboard so now you have a choice of watching the pitch or watching the speed gun panel, but not both. If you watch the pitch, by the time you can look up to the scoreboard, the reading is gone. To ``compensate," the speed gun panel now displays the speed of the catcher's throw back to the pitcher. What idiots!
--Among the snazzy new food offering is a Cuban sandwich, but it only served to demonstate how inept this outfit is. I ordered one, and a clueless counterman reached into the refrigerator and handed me an ice-cold plastic-wrapped sandwich. Only when I protested, did they reluctantly agree to put it on the grill. They don't have the sandwich press needed to offer a real Cuban sandwich, so when it came off the grill, it was the size of a miniature football with a lukewarm skin and an ice cold center. Way to go, Stan!!
--And just what everyone was dying to have: A new way to spend money uselessly at the park. All the scoreboard polls, which used to be judged by crowd cheers, now are telephone texting polls. If that wasn't bad enough, one poll is to select a female ``Nats co-host" (they don't say who she will be co- to, but presumably the execrable Clint). The three former losing Miss (state name here) candidates, however, do not perform for this honor. No, they are to be chosen solely on the basis of seeing one static photo head shot of each. What a breakthrough!
--And of course the new de-costumed Screech was there. Some may recall that to save the cost of laundering his grimy suit, they just dumped the suit and dropped the eagle head onto some scrawny guy who doesn't dance too well. In person, he is truly sadder and grimmer than the Cardinals' Fredbird, heretofore the worst team mascot, bar none.
--Oh, and the always-empty red tent is still atop the left field parking lot, just in case there's ever a group event that draws a crowd. Meantime, it still obliterates the gallery level view of the Capitol dome, so there's still one less place to look if it pains you to watch Shairon Martis surrender 11 hits in six innings to an Orioles team that isn't going anywhere this season.

Posted by: dubious | April 4, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Other than that, Dubious, how did you like the play?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 4, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Lastings Milledge is an exciting ballplayer -- much like the excitement you experience your car is about to slide into the back of another on on a showy road. You know it's going to going to happen, and you know it's not going to be good, but you also know it could be a whole lot worse. I expected a lot from Milledge last season but was disappointed. This year, he hasn't been a disapointment, but that's only because my expectations were so much lower. I knew, for example, that nothing good was likely to come of it when Justin Maxwell walked to load the bases in the sixth inning tonight. Why? Millege was coming to the plate. Predictably, he stranded three runners.

If Manny's so fond of the kid, why not make him the team mascot? He'd probably be better than the chicken, and it would probably improve the roster at the same time.

Posted by: COL_DFox | April 4, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Oops. That's a snowy road, not a showy road. But it might be showy, too.

Posted by: COL_DFox | April 4, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Bowden signed Mike Stanton as a free agent, then traded him to Boston for a couple of prospects. That winter, he resigned Stanton, then traded him again, this time to the Giants for Shairon Martis.

One of Bowden's best deals.

Posted by: rushfari | April 4, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Rushfari - thanks for the info. Indeed, that could prove to be quite a trade if Martis continues to develop. Heck, for Mike Stanton at that stage in his career we have proably ALREADY gotten our money's worth.

Speaking of past trades, I was reading something about Xavier Nady the other day and recalled how it was rumored that the Mets at one point offered Maine and Nady for Alfonso Soriano during the preseason when Soriano appeared to be sour on playing the OF - many, including myself and presumably Jimbo scoffed at it (Maine was to be a rookie that year and Nady hadn't show all that much). Doesn't sound so bad now.

Posted by: kfisher32 | April 4, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Two things:

Cabrera should not one of the starting pitchers. Bergman is better and so are some of the other pitchers. If Cabrera makes it through fine innings he will surrender at least 5 runs. Another Bowden mistake. You can take that to the bank.

Manny's starting lineup is flawed and is not our strongest 8. What Acta sees in Kearns and Milledge is beyond me. Watch both these players against the Marlins.

As I said in earlier posts we finally have some players and this dolt won't play them. Willingham is our second or third best home run hitter. His fielding in par with Kearns. Yet he sits. Dukes is a better CF than Milledge and amazingly is hitting better than Milledge. God I hope Milledge and Kearns are traded.

Posted by: mjames0 | April 5, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Cabrera is this year's O. Perez. (Hopefully I am wrong)

Posted by: PattyinSJ | April 5, 2009 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Even though we have to wait for our stalwarts to start,
Happy New Year!
Finally, it's Opening Day!

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | April 5, 2009 5:57 AM | Report abuse

Nats have much more talent than ever before in the field and at the Plate. The pitching is better than it has been as well. They looked like a real MLB team last night....talent wise.

Acta has made some major errors in the roster and the lineups. Ronnie B can not field his position any longer. He can not be the 2nd baseman even for a week or two. Adam Dunn needs work he did not get during spring training at first base. If (when) Nick goes down, Dunn is not ready at all to play first. It is going to be a huge problem and one that can not be fixed mid season. Acta blew it by not working Dunn exclusively at 1st base when he got back from WBC. Even last night Dunn must stay in all 9 innings at first base.....Casto? Come on.......Oh and Milledge looked better in the field. He really looks like he is more focused in the field...that should help some. Acta also blew Spring training by not getting Dukes more time in CF. Dukes is the future of this team if the keep him or trade him, either way he bring real value with he plays. Milledge is a fill in at best in a MLB outfield.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 5, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Acta said, "and if anybody's not up to the task, then somebody else is going to go out there and play."

Just my point above on why Acta is so ineffective.....nobody else is ready to play CF or 1st Base due to his poor spring training decisions......that statement is meaningless now.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 5, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

SuperWillie Harris has been weak at 2b also - Belliard is probably the better backup. We are definitely thin in middle infield.

Agree that Manny doesn't have the best 8 on the field right now, but all of our OFs have weaknesses. Only Dunn has to be on the field, and he can't play 1b yet. I hope they're showcasing Kearns and are willing to eat some salary to move him.

We're stuck with hoping Milledge learns to play the game the way he needs to.

Geezer

Posted by: utec | April 5, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Catching up with posts.

Well done on the NJ terminology, Boz. You're a good sport.

The salami was nice but Willingham's catch may have been my favorite part of last night's game, which we attended. There were lots of kiddies flocking around the new Screech before the game. I think he was a hit. Teddy *should* have won the president's race. Followed by an announcement that it did not count because it was part of an exhibition game. We had a Quasi-dilla for dinner (unorthodox, as you might suspect, but tasty). We also had bite-sized samples of the buffalo dog (spicy - woof!) and turkey burger (not bad). I thought it was a nice touch to have those young fellows walking around giving out the food samples. All of the ushers and food service employees that we encountered were friendly and helpful (which has been my experience since the Lerners took ownership - even at RFK). We did run into a complication (needless, IMO) with our tix at will-call. But otherwise a great night.

I also believed that Bergmann had earned a spot on the roster.

And nunof, re. the five-month-old comments: come on, you're better than that.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 5, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Not being a texter (I'm Old School, remember?), I missed having an applause-related crowd reaction component to the voting. I agree with dubious there.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 5, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

>Acta said, "and if anybody's not up to the task, then somebody else is going to go out there and play."

Just my point above on why Acta is so ineffective.....nobody else is ready to play CF or 1st Base due to his poor spring training decisions......that statement is meaningless now.

Yeah, another part of getting your team ready is to communicate with players on where they'll be playing when they play. It's pretty obvious from WIllingham's comments, at least to me, that he knows he should start, and that there's no defined role for him. So he's gonna sit there all year wondering if he's playing or not, without any kind of rotation, while Acta manages from the seat of his pants. Acta isn't sophisticated enough to create a rotation of 5 guys in 3 slots, imo because he doesn't even know what he has in Milledge. He's just a lead-off guy in name only. He never demonstrated the saavy to be the lead off man.
I'm sure Dunn hasn't even had a second thought about playing first, and then all of a sudden they tell him Nick's not available, and look how he did out there.
I know one thing - I'd be a lot more worried about pissing off Dukes (production or attitude-wise) than I ever would with Milledge. But Manny doesn't get that. If his ignorance forces them to trade Dukes or Willingham 'because they're disgruntled and make some noise, etc.'- it'll be a sad day in Mudville, and it'll be Manny's fault.

Posted by: Brue | April 5, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Brue:

Your post is spot on. We have Bergmann in Syracuse, Hill in San Diego and Cabreara in Washington. Something wrong with that picture. Also we run the risk of losing Dukes and Willingham by being forced to move them for little or nothing. It is beyond me that these two guys are sitting.

Acta is over his head.

Posted by: mjames0 | April 5, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

The lineup for this club leaves me a bit queasy. The late signing of Dunn to the roster seems like a situation where you are trying to fit a baseball into an egg-crate when the other eleven spots have fragile eggs nestled firmly in place. Playing Dunn in left field is going to cost a ton of runs. Playing him at first is going to cost even more. The outfielder personalities are such that none of them are going to be happy to just watch the game from the bench. Unlike a Shakespeare drama I doubt that a "deus ex machina" is going to come down to the field and make this situation all right. Any of the outfielders traded will go at probably the low value due to how ridiculous this situation is playing out for us. I agree with Jaybee that Dunn should have played every spring training game at first base. That is the only pressure release valve that is viable. But, I would rather have Johnson on the field than Dunn at first base. And what happens when Dimitri is off the DL? There is no room for him now. Yikes.

The second spot on the team that is dubious is Cabrera. How on earth did they grant him a starting position? What did they see that makes him worthy of a major league roster spot? Olsen has shown nothing in spring training either but I have a better feeling for his chances than Cabrera's. My best hope is that Cabrera surprises me much like Odalis did last year.

A third spot is closer. Hanrahan just scares me, not in a Cordero fashion, but still in a heart attack way. Will he last a season as the closer? Last night might be a preview of what is to come. Boswell's comment of having Mock learn the closer position in the minors is kind of the solution that I see forming in the front office collective.

I just have the feeling that this roster is going to get shaken out violently within ninety days. Some will go because of results on the field. The inevitable injury or three may create a more rational lineup. A good trade to move an outfielder? The ones you most expect to see, such as the Soriano trade in late season, don't happen here. We may be stuck with six outfielders for a long time. And yet, despite all of this I still see us near .500 for the season. Such are the delusions of April.

Posted by: driley | April 5, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I may be delusional, after all, 'tis the season, but I believe we have a MLB club in town in more than just name.
Not a great team.
Not a good team.
Not even an average (.500)team.
But not an embarassing collection of retreads and wanna be's with no chance. Last year we were weak and thin and then the injury bug decimated us.
Strangely enough we could improve by 12 games, my prediction, and still be the worst or second worst ahead of only Seattle.
We have an over abundance of catchers and outfielders. With a tip of the hat to all who argue here about the make up of the 25 man roster, when was the last time we had an excess of anything.
We have 5 young starting pitchers. If three of them succeed life will be wonderful.
We have a bull pen strangely well suited to the Left handed hitter heavy NL East.
We have major leaguers at every position - not all stars but major leaguers.
Now this is a base with good drafting, development and the occassional trade from which a Plan can proceed.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | April 5, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Boz, you need to think through the analogies. Brashear looks out for his teammates, is a pianist on the side, and could clean Tavarez' clock.

(Probably. Certainly he could clean mine. Oh, and that's Mr. Brashear to me, I guess...)

Posted by: Hendo1 | April 5, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Also, they weren't open yesterday but we spotted Kosher stands by the scoreboard pavilion and on the 300 level.

There were some tables and chairs at the scoreboard pavilion but the table configuration by the playground area and at the family picnic area (which can be reserved by groups) looked similar to that of last year to my eyes. I did notice drink rails in a few spots as well.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 5, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Lastings Mendoza leads off the season tomorrow (that whole setting the table business)! Ignites the offense, works the count, waits for his pitch, scores runs, avoids outs, has a sharp eye at the plate, draws walks, handles the bat well, has a great on-base percentage, and is aggressive on the base paths (once you are on the basepaths?). Will Lastings Mendoza work his way on with an eight-pitch walk? Bunt his way on? Big fly from leadoff, a la Ricky Henderson? Noooooooooooo! Jump at one of the first two pitches and pop it up! Yessssssssssssssss! 4 for 38, 1 BB, 8K, 2R .105, since the announcement of him as the choice for leadoff. He earned it! Sorry Willingham ya bum ya!

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 5, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Great Game last night.

One thing that confused me and maybe more knowledgable folks here can clue me in. Are Spring Training games a mixed bag when it comes to the DH. The O's had a DH. NATS pitcher had to hit. Doesn't it have to be one or the other?

I think the NATS are doing the texting thing because the Caps do it alot. Usually its for a song or video for playing in the 3rd period. I think it can be over-done though.

I had a Hot Dog special at the game last night. Dog with Chili and Cheese, chips and a small Diet Coke (yes Diet, I know!) for $7. It was good.

NATS WIN, even better!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | April 5, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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