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Nationals Journal: June 28, 2009 - July 4, 2009

A Win, A Milestone, A DFA

Deep exhale. Plenty to talk about. The good news, for those denizens of NatsTown, came in abundance today, and that's before we even count the post-game "deletion" of reliever Jesus Colome. A 29-year-old slugger hit his 300th career homer. A...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 4, 2009; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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Another Bullpen Move Coming

Three times this year, the Washington Nationals have demoted pitcher Jason Bergmann to the minors. In every instance, the move has forced them to rely on lesser pitchers than Bergmann. And so the right-handed reliever keeps coming back. Before Sunday's...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 4, 2009; 1:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
 
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Rizzo Has No Plans For A July Firesale

The Nationals have baseball's worst record, a stockpile of tradable veterans and a regular lineup with six of eight position players aged 29 or older. But acting general manager Mike Rizzo said today that he feels no obligation to conduct...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 4, 2009; 12:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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How Good Will John Lannan Be?

The most interesting question about the Nats, in what has otherwise been a nightmare season, is to speculate about how good their young starting pitchers will become when they mature. Please, no silly comparisons to the Braves' trio that's...

By Thomas Boswell  |  July 4, 2009; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Tags: John Lannan, Lefthanders  
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Today's Lineups

Atlanta McLouth - 8 Prado - 3 Jones - 5 Anderson - 7 Escobar - 6 Diaz - 9 Ross - 2 Conrad - 4 Hanson - 1 Washington Morgan - 8 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn -...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 4, 2009; 10:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Braves 9, Nats 8

Step-by-step, how to lose a close game: 1.) Summon Jesus Colome from the bullpen. 2.) Watch him walk the leadoff man. 3.) Watch him walk another guy, just for good measure. 4.) Watch him give up a two-out, three-run pinch-hit...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 3, 2009; 11:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
 
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Pre-Game Notes

* Today, the Nats are fielding their first Nyjer Morgan starting lineup. Nick Johnson is back in the No. 2 spot, mostly because Johnson's patient approach will give Morgan a better window for base-stealing. Cristian Guzman, who previously batted either...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 3, 2009; 6:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Tonight's Lineups

Atlanta McClouth - 8 Prado - 4 Jones - 5 McCann - 2 Escobar - 6 Diaz - 7 Francoeur - 9 Kotchman - 3 Kawakami - 1 Washington Morgan - 8 Johnson - 3 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn -...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 3, 2009; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Strasburg, The Japan Possibility, And A Comparison

Yesterday, a 21-year-old left-handed pitching phenom named Aroldis Chapman defected from Cuba. "It was easy," Chapman said. One moment, he was with his Cuban teammates at a hotel in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Then he walked out. Just like that. Next...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 3, 2009; 7:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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Dukes Won't Be Around To Run

Back in the good old days, when they were only 10 games under .500 (7-17), the Nationals began a game that never finished. Because of rain, the May 5 game at Nationals Park against the Astros was suspended in the...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 2, 2009; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Tweeting At Nats Park

Dear Nats blogger/Twitterer/fan: Hi. I'm Jon DeNunzio, one of the editors in The Post's Sports department, and I'm looking for some help with an experiment this weekend. We're considering a project that would capture and display Twitter posts from fans...

By Jon DeNunzio  |  July 2, 2009; 2:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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The Nats And The International Market

Beginning today, the date where Major League Baseball clubs can sign international prospects to contracts, you're going to see plenty of examples of (alleged) teenagers receiving large sums of money. This year's top-ranked Latin American prospect is Miguel Angel Sano,...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 2, 2009; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
 
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Reading Material

"One simply cannot make this stuff up," Amy Shipley writes from Florida, where the Nats lost yet again. Shipley also mentions the latest spate of Ryan Zimmerman errors -- three in two games, and it would have been four, if...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 2, 2009; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Florida 5, Nats 3

When the Washington Nationals play the Florida Marlins, excruciating baseball -- the kind favored by the Nats no matter the opponent -- forms an unholy alliance with cursed baseball. And so you get losses that feel outlandish, even when you...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 1, 2009; 5:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
 
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Dukes Optioned to Class AAA

The Washington Nationals sent Elijah Dukes to AAA Syracuse on Wednesday morning, saying Dukes was not a "finished product" and needed to play every day rather than sit on the bench in the majors. The move came in response to...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 1, 2009; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (196)
 
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Nats Blow Lead, Rain Holds It

Typical. So typical. The Nats had a four-run lead last night. They blew it, in standard disreputable fashion (walks, errors, horrid relief pitching) just minutes before the skies opened up and forced everybody off the field. The game never resumed....

By Chico Harlan  |  July 1, 2009; 7:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
 
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The Meaning of the Nats Trade

Why? "We think we got two really good ones," said interim GM Mike Rizzo after getting outfielder Nyjer Morgan and lefty reliever Sean Burnett for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan. Maybe. More likely, the Nats just got two decent ones....

By Thomas Boswell  |  June 30, 2009; 8:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
 
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Post-trade Thoughts, Reaction, Analysis And Marginalia

1. Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett, acquired today from Pittsburgh in the Milledge-Hanrahan trade, will be in uniform for the Nats tomorrow. Morgan will wear No. 1. Burnett will wear No. 17. 2. Once Morgan and Burnett arrive, the Nats...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 30, 2009; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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Milledge, Hanrahan Dealt to Pirates

Just a few months ago, the Washington Nationals envisioned Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan as building blocks -- the future center fielder, the future closer. Today, in a move dictated by a pair of disappointing seasons, the Nationals packaged Milledge...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 30, 2009; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (109)
 
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Nats Trade Milledge, Hanrahan To Pittsburgh For Morgan, Burnett

[UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.] -- Done deal. Absolutely finalized. Look for a more detailed news story here in a few minutes. GM Mike Rizzo will address the media about the deal at 4:10 p.m. --- [UPDATE, 2:55 p.m.] - The trade...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 30, 2009; 2:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (210)
 
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He's Not Jamie Moyer

In collecting the morning links, I noticed a trend among the various forward-thinking members of the journalistic baseball community, who all seemed to describe Scott Olsen's start last night in the manner one would describe a Pauly Shore movie that...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 30, 2009; 9:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (70)
 
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Draft Pick Signings, And The Nats' Lineup

[UPDATE, 5:05 p.m.] - I just spoke to Kobernus, who is in DC today, and will soon be flying out to report to the Class A Vermont Lake Monsters. "I'll be with them tonight," Kobernus said. "I'm not sure if...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 29, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (119)
 
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Lannan and Links

Before I get to the links, let me drop a comment about John Lannan, who probably deserved more attention in my game story. With Lannan, results will always speak louder than radar guns. He doesn't have an ace's typical stuff...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 29, 2009; 8:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Wait! Martis Demoted To Class AAA, Stammen Back In Rotation

Since spring training ended, the Washington Nationals have relied every fifth day on rookie pitcher Shairon Martis. They've trumpeted him as a central component of the team's future. For much of 2009, Martis has also looked like a central part...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 28, 2009; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Nats, Mariners Swap Minor Leaguers

The Nats have just pulled off a trade. Just a little one -- a swap of minor league position players. The Nationals acquired versatile IN/OF Mike Morse from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Ryan Langerhans. The move doesn't...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 28, 2009; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Notes From Camden

Just a few pre-game notes here... * Here is what Manny Acta said about today's batting order: "We're just trying to deepen our lineup a little more. Willie [Harris] is swinging the bat well, getting on base, and our offense...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 28, 2009; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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A Wrinkle In The Lineup

We've got an experimental lineup from Manny Acta this afternoon. I like it. How 'bout you? For the first time this year, Ryan Zimmerman is batting fourth. (He batted third in each of Washington's previous 73 games.) Adam Dunn is...

By Chico Harlan  |  June 28, 2009; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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