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Harris Replaces Dukes In CF

[UPDATE, 2:36 p.m.] - The Nats are saying that Dukes exited today's game with left hamstring tightness. He was removed as a precaution, and is being listed as day-to-day.


After the first inning this afternoon, starting center fielder Elijah Dukes was removed from the game and replaced with Willie Harris. Dukes had strained his hamstring in Friday's game, but pinch-hit yesterday; today was his first start since the injury. Dukes hit a double in the first inning, and on the basepaths, he took a notably cautious approach. When Anderson Hernandez hit a borderline sac fly with one out, Dukes was held a third.

He came out at the end of the inning. It is unknown if Dukes' exit was merely precautionary, or whether he reaggravated the injury.

I will update as soon as more information comes around.

By Chico Harlan  |  May 17, 2009; 2:27 PM ET
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What's the reason that Kerns is unavailable (if he's unavailable?)

Posted by: Barney001 | May 17, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Kearns got hit on the hand with a pitch a couple of days ago. I believe x-rays were negative though.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 17, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Charlie said Dukes' early exit was due to "tightness of the left hamstring" and that he is, get this, "day-to-day"...

Posted by: BGinVA | May 17, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

This could be a four-hour game but as long as the Nats win, it'll be alright.

Posted by: patchss | May 17, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

When did they adopt these new rules? Didn't it used to be a strike when you threw the ball over the plate at the knees? Or does Mike Reilly get to have his own strike zone?

Posted by: baltova1 | May 17, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

A few other assorted nuggets to digest…

* Austin Kearns (hand) took some BP this morning and could serve as a defensive replacement. Kearns was hit by a pitch in Friday night’s game, and did not have an AB in yesterday’s doubleheader. Kearns is day-to-day.

* Among starters with at least 35 innings pitcher this year, Cabrera (.410) and Olsen (.396) have two of the three highest opponents’ OBPs in the National League.

* Chan Ho Park’s final pitching line today: 1 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K. By the way, when you need 63 pitches to record four outs, you’re on a good ol’ 425-pitch complete game pace.

Posted by: Chico Harlan | May 17, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the on-line update, rather than a new string. In regard to the game - Why do umpires give Utley a reduced strike zone when he crowds the plate?

Posted by: BinM | May 17, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

If anyone is wondering (as I was) after Hernandez's CS: the Nats are 26/30 in steal percentage, and 27/30 in SB. I don't know that there is blame to be had, except that our guys don't have very good baserunning instincts. Especially Elijah, who is 2-for-8 in steal attempts (egads).

Maybe there is blame to be had.

Posted by: natinbeantown | May 17, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Both those are ranks in MLB, just to clarify. And yes, Elijah's 6 CS ranks #1 in MLB.

Posted by: natinbeantown | May 17, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Disagree with Dibble on JZimm. This is not a quality start he's all over the place and has given up 5 runs. he may be good later, but he's not that good yet and his "stuff" is only as good as who he gets out with it.

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 17, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Relative quality ranking:

Carpenter<Acta<DC Sports Fans<Kearns<Hindenburg

Posted by: RickFelt | May 17, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Oooo, this is getting interesting.
Get ready to play the feud.

Posted by: patchss | May 17, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

That should do it for JZimm - 5IP, 108PT, 5ER, 3BB, 1HB, 6K; Not pretty, but better than what we've seen in this homestand to date.

Posted by: BinM | May 17, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

JZ is going to be a very good pitcher in this league if he's handled properly i.e. you've got Rollins down 0-2 in the count by "busting" him inside with heat why would you then through him a pitch on the outside part of the plate where he can get his arms extended and drive the ball WHY?.I don't blame the kid i blame the manager and the pitching coach make him hit your pitch i can't remember a team that has had more hitters down 0-2 in the count and end up either walking them or giving up a hit.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 17, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse


you forgot to mention or specifically thank tracee the blogmom for her work during your absence. great to have you back.

Posted by: surly_w | May 17, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere Tyler Clippard is saying "I think I'm better than Julian Tavarez, why am I not in Washington"

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 17, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Colome throws one f---ing pitch...

Posted by: BGinVA | May 17, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

How many more ways can this team find to pooch away a win? Sheesh...

Posted by: BinM | May 17, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering if you are able to get a quote out of Bullpen Coach Randy Knorr about Ross Detwiler. Knorr coached Detwiler all year last year in Potomac and I would argue he probably knows Ross best out of any of the Nats coaches.

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 17, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

and here's our bullpen implosion, ladies and gentlemen...

Posted by: BGinVA | May 17, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Please, DFA Taverez & call up Bergmann - I can't take it any more.

Posted by: BinM | May 17, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

the way I figure it, we need 16 runs here in the 8th for our bullpen to preserve the victory.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 17, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

That same old sinking feeling has returned. Will it ever end?

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 17, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Wells, Cabrera, Taveraz and Beimel should be released forthwith. They are all awful and other being veterans, have nothing going for them. If they could get a bag of Moe's Burritos for them, I would deal them just to get rid of their contracts. Otherwise, just release them.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 17, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

POSSIBLY THE WORST BULLPEN IN MAJOR LEAGUE HISTORY!!!!! in addition to that, they are sorely lacking in the rudimentary fundamentals of the game this goes back to spring training.I am sure Rizzo is saying to himself what in hell were they doing in spring training? A four game sweep by your divisional rivals does not bode well for a well attended home stand.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 17, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

That was NOT on the bullpen. It was on Anderson Hernandez. Once again, it is our defense that is killing us.

Posted by: wigi | May 17, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Wells and Beimel has been serviceable, in any case, you're going to release them. Fine, who're you going to bring up? 4 AAA youngsters. Doesn't the Conventional Wisdom (tm) says that if you bring youngsters out of their depth, it does more harm than good? To tell you the truth, I was opposed to Lannan last year and Znn this year. Too early. You gotta have veteran innings eaters. It's unfortunate that both of the ones they got this year didn't work out, but that doesn't mean you should turn around and destroy the youngsters, does it?

Posted by: swang30 | May 17, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: BGinVA | May 17, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Wake me up after the draft. Until then, I don't care anymore. This stinks.

Posted by: BGinVA | May 17, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Please, someone, close the door and flip over some tables in that clubhouse. The even keel approach is NOT having any effect.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | May 17, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

A 7-4 home stand wouldn't be so bad would it? I just thought a bit of humor might lighten the day, sorry.

Posted by: cokedispatch | May 17, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Twenty-five down... Seventy-five to go...

It is past time to clean house. All this says is the Thrifty Ownership Group truly could care less...

Dump Acta.

Dump St. Claire.

Dump StanK.

Posted by: randy_boyd | May 17, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Twenty-five down... Seventy-five to go...

It is past time to clean house. All this says is the Thrifty Ownership Group truly could care less...

Dump Acta.

Dump St. Claire.

Dump StanK.

Posted by: randy_boyd | May 17, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

It's so hard being a Nats fan. Everytime I watch/listen it's the same thing every single game. It's so frustrating watching this team and even harder when they're at home but it looks like they're in Philadelphia.

Once we had the 6-5 lead, I knew the bullpen was gonna blow it, it was just a matter of who it was. Today it was Colome, tomorrow it'll be a different guy. They just always find a way to lose the game every single day. I can't watch anymore. I knew this was gonna happen. I blame this on the Caps. Because of them losing I only have the Nats now, and I HATE it. And what will I have to look forward to now? The REDSKINS. lol. what fun!

Posted by: rachel216 | May 17, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Nah, more like Nats lose 130, not 100. Or maybe 140.

Posted by: rachel216 | May 17, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Those game dates are still open Rachel :-D

Posted by: randy_boyd | May 17, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Acta survives tomorrow. 11-25? jesus

Posted by: Brue | May 17, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

WIGI: How is this not the bullpen what team are you watching? every loss since the season started has been the result of the bullpen yes Hernandez was at fault but Tavarez put the first two runners on base and again as I stated in an earlier post these pitcher's are the worst at getting ahead in the count 0-2 and then a walk or a hit ensues, they are killing us.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 17, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Glad I stayed home today, just saved myself the anguish of being forced to endure thousands of Phillies fans. However I got to hand it to Dibble, in the 1st inning he made statement that speaks volumns, "who is making the game plan, because it ain't working". If Acta makes it thru this homestand then I'm convinced the Lerners could care less about the fate of this franchise and more about the profit they reap even if they lose 120 games. After 37 years this is downright shamefull. Whatever little hope they have in landing SS just can't happen soon enough.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | May 17, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

We're getting 2 quality starts out of 5 with JZim going through whatever he's going through now. Lannan and Martis are the only two pitching well lately and neither have proven they can be consistent. Then when we DO get quality starts the bullpen can't hold it.

I can't image how the rest of the team comes to the park every day and motivates themselves to give a damn. Except for keeping their own numbers in shape what else is there?

Even when they post huge numbers on offense it's not enough.

The errors... really they do suck but to be honest at worst those numbers would make the difference between a .500 team and a serious contender. Sure they REALLY hurt now because there's no room for mistakes.

Here's hoping Detwiler can do something...

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | May 17, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

>The errors... really they do suck but to be honest at worst those numbers would make the difference between a .500 team and a serious contender. Sure they REALLY hurt now because there's no room for mistakes.

When Knight mentions that they lose a different way every game, that's code for the manager isn't doing his job. He criticized pitch selection, there was a distinct lack of thought in their approach to the Phillie hitters. A run an inning this weekend? Nobody's that bad. No way. The blame can only fall at one guy's feet. The buck stops with the manager.

Posted by: Brue | May 17, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Maybe its the pitching coach, but I for one am not all that impressed with JZimm compared to how the Nats announcers constantly hype him. There's plenty of pitcher who can throw in the 90's and from what I've seen he has really only 2 pitches he can throw consistently for strikes. Let's wait before we say he's got "electric stuff" or some other stupid saying. Right now he's just trying to get through 5 innings without giving up a bunch of far not working out too well.

Posted by: bendersx6 | May 17, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Ok let me try to defend Manny Acta Brue...
It's not his fault his players don't have a lot of talent, it's Bowdens.
He is nice.
He is positive.
He is a players-coach.
His salary is low.
He is Dominican, and they are really good at lying about their age, taking steroids, and scamming the Nationals.

Oh well I tried... Fire Manny... Keep Manny...
I'm totally apathetic to him and the team at this point. Having more fun following the Potomac Nationals this year... and last year... and the year before that...

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 17, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree. We stopped baggin' Manny when we started winning but that's because we hoped maybe it really was just fixing a few problems here and there. Wrong again! The quality of pitchers really is crapola. That's true. That's out of Manny's hands. But I think if he DID have great pitchers they still wouldn't contend because he just can't manage.

Thing is some of the guys pitched ok previously. Rivera, Colome even Hanrahan. Ok not great but good enough to be useful. Seems like every guy that goes into that bullpen comes out a mess. It's like a disease. I don't blame Hinckley for doing a runner. Won't be surprised if he turns up somewhere else and pitches a lot better.

Why is Manny still here? Maybe they figure they need to deal with the pitching turmoil first before creating more uncertainty. I don't think any of the coaches could really step in. I don't know that there's much success pulling someone from the minors. So that means someone experienced who is available. Also means eating some $$. With the Strasbourg signing looming... probably not a lot of $$ to be throwing around...

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | May 17, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I'll tell you two guys I would like to see have the opportunity to manage this club.

1. Randy Knorr - the job he did in potomac last year with essentially 2 different teams due to mid-season callups was nothing short of miraculous. Each "Half" of the season the P Nats had essentially two different strenghts and weaknesses and Randy was able to manage them to victories, with a good but not the most talented lineup and pitching. He was with the winning Blue Jays clubs in the early 90's and just knows how to win.

2. Tim Foli - Syracuse Manager who seems to "manage" a game well. Moves guys around etc.

3. Trent Jewett- Current Potomac Manager, who managed the Pirates AAA team for years, and essentially got discouraged with being in that organaization so came to the Nats in hopes of "moving up" quick. He is doing a good job in Potomac this year, although he has a lot of talent to work with in comparison to some of the teams they play.

Posted by: PNatsFan | May 17, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I've been an expos/nationals fan for over 25 years. Obviously I'm a man of patience (at least for my baseball team anyway). Since the strike dashed their world series hopes in '94 it's been year after year of hope and pain.

If only I could look forward to football season... lots of hope and pain there too...

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | May 17, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

to go against teams like the phillies and mets with this pitching staff is like hunting bear with a switch. guys don't throw quality strikes, the bullpen is overexposed and too many of the relievers just don't have the experience needed to do the job. this is just a poorly constructed team with little organizational depth at both the major and minor league levels. for all of the trumpeting of the plan, this club's talent pool is as shallow as a demitasse. too long have the nationals been a safe harbor for the suspect and the retread. just write off this year, take the money from the contracts coming off the books and try to sign some honest-to-goodness major league talent for the 20-10 don't bring back kearns, cabrera, belliard, tavarez, colome, villone, cintron, wells, bard and dmitri. it's time to fire hose the clubhouse and get serious about putting a respectable, cohesive team on the field that plays smart baseball regardless of potential or talent. the nationals are a deserved laughingstock and as long as this team is the haven for the last, the lost and the least it will remain so.

Posted by: surly_w | May 17, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Part of me agrees with what Brue said above - Manny could really be on the way out. And it might be this week.

But another part of me thinks that Rizzo and Kasten can't imagine who would come in right away and make things even slightly better. I think he has until the All-Star break. If things keep going like this, they'll have a replacement in mind and the change will have to be made.

But, they may have already lost this town for good. How depressing.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 17, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Swang, conventional is that innings eaters and veterans in the pen help a team. Do you see that happening on the Nats? Cabrera is the veteran presence in the rotation. He's one of worst starting pitchers I've seen in the last 15 years.

Wells and Beimel have been serviceable? Wells is walking nearly a hitter an inning. Well's is bad, he's been bad and will continue to be bad.

Beimel's WHIP is nearly 2.00. Beimel was fading last year when his Inherited Runs Scores doubled, even though he inherited fewer runners. If Beimel is coming in with runners on and he's allowing 2 of his own, someone other than the Nationals is going to score.

Convetional wisdom about veterans is wrong. I don't believe 25 year olds like JD Martin and Craig Stammen can be rushed now. Bring them up and groom them from the pen.

Players improve by challenging them. Its time to challenge pitchers like Martin and Stammen. They couldn't be worse than what we are seeing now.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 17, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

If you want to get crazy for a minute think if Jimbo had not got caught in the Dominican "scandal" he would still be overseeing this club, scary thought huh? Stan Kasten is the main culprit if the Lerners had a clue they would fire this clown, and to think some people actually believe he and Jimbo had a better grasp of baseball operations than Frank Robinson.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 17, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

every time I see manny expressionless and without reaction to his team making plays little leaguers would be ashamed of I want to go in the locker room, scream and break things for him, he needs to quit being the damn tin man with no heart and show he cares about being embarrassed on the field.

At least management can be happy, the phillies fans are sure to come back after this series.

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Manny is history. The only question is when. His contract will not be renewed unless he gets into the play offs. Chances are ??? But and a very big but, the Lerners will not, I believe, pay salaries for two managers (one fired and one hired). I have a 41 game plan for the third season but am giving tickets away. Don't need to watch this. May head back to Potomac where the players and manager care about the outcome.

Posted by: navboss | May 17, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Acta isn't the problem. Yelling and screaming and allowing his emotions to get the best of him won't make the bullpen more effective. It won't make Cabrera any better. It won't make defenders catch balls that should be caught. From a leadership perspective, losing control of one's emotions is about the worst thing a leader can do.

Making people fearful of mistakes generally keeps them from getting better. They push themselves less for fear of making more mistakes. They play it safe because the if they don't try, they can't fail.

Acta doesn't need to yell or scream and he certainly doesn't need to throw things about. What he needs is players with more talent. Or at least, fewer players with no talent.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | May 17, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Blame everything on the WBC, all the other teams are. It screwed up Joel and Saul who were going to be the backbone of the
bullpen . . .

Posted by: ecmdfan | May 17, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Acta isn't THE problem but he's a significant one (he and the bullpen compete for #1 problem). Occasionally you do need to get fired up to get your boys heads out of their a$$es. Even when Manny got chucked out of a game last month he hardly passed for fired up. The key word is control. He just isn't. When it looks like the best plan he has is just keep trying different guys and hoping they work out of their problems... well that isn't a plan. When errors are abundant don't accept that. Work through the problems.

Agree about WBC. I understand the desire to do it and if there was a better way to make it happen I'd be all for it but it's just way too much risk for MLB clubs and completely stuffs spring training.

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | May 17, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

acta's apparent disregard for all of the awful baseball we play is unacceptable, maybe the club has settled into the loser's role so comfortably because manny seems right at home with 60 W's

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

he at least needs to break the monotony every once and awhile, we are the worst team in baseball again

Posted by: bford1kb | May 17, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

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