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An Infirmary Report

OK, let's start with some injury updates. Don't worry; we aren't bringing back the medical glory days of '08, when the daily DL news read like something longer than "Crime and Punishment." This'll be quick. And mostly encouraging.

Elijah Dukes, 15-day DL, left hamstring: Before today's game, Dukes "went through the paces" (Mike Rizzo's words) on the field, testing his hamstring. He ran the bases, he tried some quick cuts. All good. So, on Monday, he'll travel down to Viera, Fla., to work out under the sunshine. A few days of that, and he'll be ready for a formal rehab assignment.

Jesus Flores, 15-day DL, right shoulder: Flores is on track to begin a rehab assignment on Monday, likely with Class AA Harrisburg.

Scott Olsen, 15-day DL, left shoulder: No immediate timetable has been set for when Olsen returns, and the left-hander, since getting injured, has refused numerous interview requests. According to Rizzo, Olsen is progressing on track, which is a vague answer, and for that I apologize. But there's some perspective here. Olsen missed almost exactly a month in 2008 with a similar injury. He stopped throwing on March 2 of that year, missed much of spring training, and was able to make his first start of the regular season on April 4.

Dmitri Young, 15-day DL, back and hip: Young's mother, Bonnie, died on Monday night, and the Nats' first baseman (who was rehabbing in Viera) has taken a bereavement leave to be with his family in California. Rizzo said, "We're going to give him a lot of rope with that and make sure he takes care of his family." Asked about Young's fitness level, Rizzo said, "I think before [he took leave] he was progressing at a rate that was encouraging to us."

Matt Chico, 60-day DL, left elbow
: Remember Chico? He started 31 games for the Nats in 2007, his rookie year. Now, he's in Viera trying to come back from Tommy John. I spoke to Chico today, who said he's currently throwing three-inning, 50-pitch games in extended spring training. His velocity is back around 87 or 88 mph. Rizzo acknowledged that Chico is progressing well, perhaps even ahead of schedule. (In February, Chico said he wanted to begin rehabbing by July, perhaps returning to the big leagues by September.) "But extended spring training is over on June 6," Chico said, "so that's probably a realistic guess of when I go [on assignment]. I feel like I could have started on a rehab assignment a month ago, actually." (The Nationals still view Chico as a starter.)

Anderson Hernandez, day-to-day, finger: He's still having trouble gripping a bat, and will miss another game tonight. Willie Harris gets the start at 2B.


Now a few other notes.

On Thursday, relief pitcher Garrett Mock was demoted to Class AAA Syracuse. Once he got there, he became a starter -- at least temporarily. While with the Chiefs, Mock will pitch out of the rotation. The move does not alter the organization's vision for the 26-year-old. The front office still sees him as a big league relief pitcher. But Rizzo said today that Mock, as a starter, will be able to get what he needs most: Innings. He needs innings to build his pitch repertoire.

"I think [starting in Class AAA] translates very well to pitching in a one-inning stint or, as he's been used in the major leagues out of the bullpen, multi-inning stints," Rizzo said. "That's what makes him out of the bullpen so valuable, he's capable of throwing more than one inning. So, I think with the work he'll get there it's going to help not only his repertoire of all his pitches but also the command of his pitches."


On the Journal today, I noticed some smart comments/thoughts on whether the Nats should shop or keep Nick Johnson. Know this much: Right now, Johnson is advertising his value in the best place possible -- that is, on the National League's list of batting average leaders. He's healthy (as he rarely is) and hitting like never before. His .336 average and .434 on-base percentage -- coupled with the fact that his contract expires at the end of the season -- has established Johnson as Washington's most valuable trade piece, somebody who could be swapped for a young pitcher before the trading deadline.

The people I talk to insist that the Nationals have no urgency to trade their first baseman; indeed, the team believes it can get more value by waiting into the summer. Still, they have fielded calls from roughly a dozen teams. According to a Boston radio station, the Red Sox, in need of first base help, recently shot down a proposed trade that would have sent Johnson to Boston in exchange for 27-year-old reliever Manny Delcarmen (18 G, 19 IP, 0.95 ERA).

"He's an extremely valuable player to the Nationals," Rizzo said of Johnson, 30. "We need him here and we like him here. If someone overwhelms us with a deal we can't refuse of course we're going to listen to a deal about Nick or anybody else, but he's an extremely valuable player for us."


Statistical marginalia:

> Ron Villone, since joining the Nats: 10 G, 10 IP, 0 R

> Adam Dunn, this homestand: 4-for-31 (.129), including 1-for-13 against lefties with eight strikeouts

> Josh Bard: three starts in the last four games. The Nats like the way he's calling games for the young starters. Here, he's catching Ross Detwiler for the second time. Said Manny Acta: "[Bard caught him his first outing when he came up and he threw well, so I didn't want to mess that up for the kid."

By Chico Harlan  |  May 23, 2009; 7:06 PM ET
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That was the greatest catch in Washington Nationals history

Posted by: theredskin | May 23, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

who is the extra guy in the MASN booth tonight? does he ever take a breath?

Posted by: gretchenrose | May 23, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

My hearfelt sympathy to Dmitri and his family losing your mom is the worst thing any sibling can go through you never get over it you learn to get through it but it's tough.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 23, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

My heartfelt sympathy to the Young family for there loss.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 23, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Who's providing more value for the nats? Kearns at $8 million, or DaMeat at $5 million?

I realize this is not an original thought, but my god, was JimBo brain dead?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 23, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

What did Adam Dunn just do?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | May 23, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Never mind, just watched the video, the triple wasn't his fault. I usually just assume it is.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | May 23, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

We need the bats to wake the F up!!

Posted by: FloresFan | May 23, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Kearns is terrible.

Posted by: FloresFan | May 23, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

7 hits 1 run. Dagger.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 23, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Austin Kearns is worthless.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 23, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

This is such a negative site. Dumping on Dmitri after his mom died is way out of bounds. Hopefully that won't happen to you. Give the guy a break he's just a baseball player.

Posted by: natsguy | May 23, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

2 losses that should have been wins.
But you gotta love the young pitching. That's where it all begins. I like the way the future looks.

Posted by: usmc53 | May 23, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

1. You don't trade a quality player within your own division.

2. Brad Eldred is another 4A player who is long in the tooth and had his chance. Don't waste time on that kind of player.

3. If you are going to the minors look at legitimate prospects (i.e. Bill Rhinehart).

Posted by: natsguy | May 23, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks natsguy for having some class a character trait obviously lacking with some of these posters the man just lost his mom i mean it's just a game get over yourselves.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 23, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, guys, you're right. This is the 1927 Yankees we're following here.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | May 23, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

EYES HEAVY, but still can't sleep. Afraid of nightmares and refuse to watch Hitchcocks move The Birds ever again.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 23, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

There's 364 other days in the year we can make fun of Dmitri. I won't choose this one as losing a parent is a horrible thing, I know myself.

That being said, Austin Kearns sucks so bad, I'd be shocked if anyone would even want to give up a box of balls for his red neck ass.

This isn't the 1927 Yankees, it's the 1962 Mets. We have the same record through 42 games. And if you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

Posted by: grandstander | May 23, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from the game, I'm now 0-4 on the homestand, folks its just one of those things, this really is either the worst team in baseball, has the worst manager in baseball or has the worse luck in baseball. I'm convinced its a combination of all three. Now begs the question that I continue to ask myself do I drop everything and go to tommorrows game?

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 23, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey anybody know if the Giants, who are scouting Nick Johnson, would be willing to part with Jesus Guzman, his stat line is good. I say we package Johnson, Belliard, and Kearns/Dukes for Guzman, and some AA & A pitching prospects. Just a perspective.

Posted by: wrw0601 | May 23, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

BTW if Jim Bowden was still GM, he would not trade Kearns, Johnson, and Guzman. Instead he would resign them to 2 year 10 million dollar deals a year before they get hurt and become contract dumps.

Posted by: wrw0601 | May 23, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I think if they lose tomorrow (and go 1-10 on the homestand) Manny will be gone by the end of the week. My money would be on the off day on Thursday.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | May 23, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry if this has been posted before but a sane (positive) analysis of our bad fortunes can be found here:

Posted by: BobLHead | May 23, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we need to worry about trading Johnson within the division. He's in a free agent year and the Nationals are not competing for the division crown. If the Mets offer the best deal take it. However, I'm not sure the Mets can offer the best deal. It's certainly hard to pull off, but even if we trade Nick, I would hope the Nats would at least consider signing him in the offseason.

Eldred does not seem like the likely replacement for Nick. I think it would be Dunn or Young. Not a pretty picture either way, but I'm guessing we finish in last place regardless.

Detwiler looks like a pretty good draft choice after all. Last year people were ready to declare that pick a failure, but there certainly seems to be strong reason for hope.

Orlando Hudson would have been an excellent sign this winter. It became clear he did not want to come here, but he would have been very helpful.

Posted by: natbiscuits | May 24, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Have to agree with Rizzo. Keep Johnson, trade Guzman. I think you get more value for a shortstop anyway. There is some chemistry with Johnson, Zimmerman, Dunn, and Dukes. noting that since Dukes went down Dunn hasn't done so well. Dukes can be dangerous at the plate.

To me that seems to fly in the fqce of and bely the notion that he has a negative effect on locker room chemisty. He hates to lose. Deal with it losers, stop losing or get off the team. Flores behind Dukes. It was all working pretty well even with the horrible pitching.

Hanrahan appears to improve daily. Great sign. Need to dump Tavarez and Kip Wells i guess. Bergmann is doing the job al ong with Villone.

Posted by: priestholmes | May 24, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Definitely resign Johnson. He is going to be a great one.

Posted by: priestholmes | May 24, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

It's not the '62 Mets I worry about emulating anymore -- it's the Cleveland Spiders. But seriously, the young starters are likely to keep the Nats from being that bad.

There's a good reason, natsbiscuits, even if the Nats are not contending to avoid trading within the division: You don't have the guy come back and bite you so often. I agree totally with grandstander's assessment of NJ's value: He's worth far more to the Nats than he's likely to bring in return. Maybe I'll feel differently on July 31 if he hasn't re-upped here.

Posted by: nats24 | May 24, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

And Chico, regarding your comments on what was said here about Nick, you didn't mention if Rizzo said anything re: possibly re-signing him. Is any effort being made?

If he is traded, is seeing DaMeat on the field this year a realistic possibility, or would the Nats be stuck with Dunn/Belliard/et al for two months?

Posted by: nats24 | May 24, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Here's a prediction: We'll never see Dmitri Young again in Washington. The only position he can play is first, and there are five players ahead of him on the depth chart: Johnson, Dunn, Willingham, Marrero, and Eldred. Even though Eldred isn't a prospect, if you get that far down the depth chart, you're going to play him. The only reason Dmitri is even with the organization is that he's getting paid. If he was taking up a roster spot, he would be DFA'd.

Posted by: wigi | May 24, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Wigi, I really respect your opinion. But Dmitri defied all expectations in '07. And in very limited service in '08, he was OK. So, given the slack we granted NJ, why would you not think DaMeat could still hit? And he's probably a better first baseman (I know - the bar is low) than Dunn. Grasping at straws, maybe, but I see him as a better option than anybody in the system.

Posted by: nats24 | May 24, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

I share your opinion nats24. Clearly, with Nick gone, Dmitri is our best option, if we were looking for production alone.

However, 07 was an anomaly, and he didn't even really play in 08 and hes hurt again now in 09.

I think as a team, we have to decide whether we wanna "grasp at straws" or maybe challenge some of the younger talent in our system by calling them and seeing what they can do.

The only way they get hurt is if they don't see at bats, which surely they will as our everyday 1B. Maybe it's time to call up Marrero, or maybe throw Rhinehart up here and see what happens.

I think we should all realize, however, that this is a moot point currently, as the league clearly does not value Nick to the point where he's worth trading. If the Sox won't give up Delcarmen for him, the Mets certainly won't give up Parnell, and there are, imo, better options out there in players like Aubrey Huff.

If I was Rizzo, I'd let the Sox/Mets/Giants sweat it out til the deadline and try and push em up against a wall. In the meantime, let's all enjoy a healthy Nick and a killer 1-4 of our lineup, and hopefully Dukes and Flores return to put it back into form soon.

Posted by: grandstander | May 24, 2009 3:25 AM | Report abuse

As did a couple of other posters, I wish to express my condolences to Dmitri Young and his family on the loss of his mother.

Regarding Nick, I'm on the fence. Factors in my fence-sitting are (1) his injury history and (2) not knowing whether he would have any interest in staying with the Nats once he becomes a FA.

Last, good one re. the movie, sc. You might want to stay away from jungle gyms as well. Ugh.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 24, 2009 6:33 AM | Report abuse

coked, rather

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 24, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

After reading the sports section, thanks, Chico for your piece highlighting parts of the game to be savored.

On a similar note, many thanks to Boz for the piece on finding things to appreciate in a team that is rebuilding. Regardless of what any of the scoffers say, you write beautifully and with heart. Loved the Martis quote in reference to the languages that he speak, BTW.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 24, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 24, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The 're-sign Nick Johnson' crowd are living in the same dream world as the 'sign Teix' crowd. Several interviews with Johnson have suggested that he wants to win and wants to play for a winner. Now does that sound like your Washington Nationals?

Secondly, I agree that we will get more by dealing Johnson at the deadline but, I feel like we are playing Russian roulette. If he get's hurt, the we get noting except maybe a compensatory draft pick. I just feel like we are sitting on a time-bomb.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 24, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

What a difference an "ordinary" loss as opposed to a "heart-rending, soul-crushing defeat" makes. The less bilious tone in the comments here is refreshing.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | May 24, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"Several interviews with Johnson have suggested that he wants to win and wants to play for a winner. Now does that sound like your Washington Nationals?"

Several interviews with Adam Dunn late last season and early in the offseason suggested the same thing. Where's Adam Dunn playing now?

Posted by: nunof1 | May 24, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

NJ will be gone at some point before the deadline. I personally think they will wait until after the all-star break when teams get a little desperate because, they see post season possibilities. I just pray he doesn't get hurt before then.

I don't think they can trade Guz, who in the heck plays SS everyday?

I say the count down on when Manny gets pink slipped is about to begin. If they don't pull out of this soon his days are numbered.

Posted by: Section505203 | May 24, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

If Guz is traded, Gonzalez can play everyday SS. Sure he had errors earlier this season in a string of games, but that happens to everyone and he is normally a great defensive SS.

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | May 24, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

mlbtraderumors has Brian Sabean saying his is actively seeking a bat, now rather than later. They feel that if they can get some timely hitting they can make a run at the postseason. here is the link

Tim Dierkes says that Nick Johnson is at the top of their list.

- Jesus Guzman was called up yesterday. He is a minor league free agent signee who is finally found his position at 1B. I say we package two major league playes for Guzman(plugs the gap until Marrero comes up) and some AA & A pitching prospects.

We need to trade Johson now rather than later. Nick averages only 100 games a season over his career due to some injury dating back to 2002.

Posted by: wrw0601 | May 24, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little surprised at the lack of Detwiler praise in the post.

Posted by: sjt1455 | May 24, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Just wondering, how does everyone like the Os/Nats MASN announcers lovefest goin on during the telecast. I'm half expecting Dibble and Palmer to jump into bed together. Any thoughts?

Posted by: dovelevine | May 24, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Detwiler looks good so far, certainly better than in the minors when I last saw him. However, as Palmer pointed out his pitching motion - throwing across his body is cause for some concern. I also think his control problems as presented in the minors will certainly hurt him down the road. Impressive yes

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 24, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

mlbtradrumors is reporting that Brian Sabean has Nick johnson his number 1 target and is offering Matt Cain to teams around the league.
What kind of package would be required to snag Matt Cain from the Giants?
Could you imagine a rotation of
Cain, lannan, Zimmerman, Martis, Stamen
With a AAA rotation of
Strasburg, Dietweiler, Balester,Willems, JD Martin

Posted by: wrw0601 | May 24, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Det said he was never fatigued, I wonder why he had to come out of the game then, precautionary and protecting the investment I guess. answered my own question I suppose, oh well. GO NATS...WIN TODAY

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 24, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse


I think he was at almost 100 pitches, and Manny probably wanted to avoid a repeat of the Stammen 7th inning fiasco.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | May 24, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

it's right there in the article,wrw.

""Because Cain is young, controllable and relatively cheap for two more seasons, it would require productive offensive players with similar service-time attributes to strike a deal," "

who do we have on our roster that fits that description? pretty much zimmerman. and maybe flores or dukes. zimm not gonna happen, flores/dukes not gonna do it.

Posted by: sec231 | May 24, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

No need to praise Detweiler just yet he hasn't won a game though it's not his fault, and on another note why would Manny bat Kearns behind Dunn in the line up yesterday, so then Kearns comes up with the bases loaded and does what he does best make an out he should be batting eighth. I'm hoping Eckstein is working on Maxwell with his stroke, since he's come back from triple A he looks lost at the plate.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 24, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I went to the St. Paul Saints game last night instead of watching the Nats, so I only just saw that Maxwell catch.

Simply put, no other player in the Nationals major or minor league organizations could have made that play.


Posted by: JohninMpls | May 24, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

your telling me that you wouldn't trade Nick Johnson, Elijah Dukes, and a AA or AAA pitcher for Matt Cain and some A prospects. A 200 inning pitcher with an ERA under 4.00. Matt Cain is consistent and reliable while Johnson averages only 100 games and Dukes has never played more than 80 games. I say if the Giants want to trade Cain and would consider Johnson, Dukes, and say Catcher Derrick Norris then go for it. Lets invets 10-20 million a year in a quality front end pitcher.

Posted by: wrw0601 | May 24, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse


and the Giants would trade Cain because? If you recognize that Dukes and Johnson have difficulty playing full seasons, don't the Giants? The Giants are stocked in the minors and have help on the way at multiple positions, so why would they give up a legit prospect for a rental like Johnson?

Also, if you trade Dukes, who is in the Nats OF next year? Kearns is a free agent and needs to go. I'm not sold on Maxwell--too many holes in his swing, but here's to hoping he can rectify that somewhat and turn into a Mike Cameron type. Dunn will be the 1B next year, so at a minimum with no Dukes, the Nats would need to get a RF.

Posted by: jfromPG | May 24, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

lineups up.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 24, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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