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Morning Reading List

Days like this, following nights of overload news -- not to mention a victory -- can only begin with links. Lots of them. On the same day, the Nats fired their pitching coach, lost their starting catcher, and broke their six-game losing streak. Oh, and tonight they face Randy Johnson, who is going for career win No. 300.

On with the reading...

Boswell writes about the uniquely intimidating Randy Johnson, who, per Ron Villone, "looks like he's pitching to you from a Little League mound that's 45 feet away."

The Nats bust out in the eighth inning and win for the first time since May 24.

Randy St. Claire gets fired in his seventh year with the organization, replaced by Steve McCatty.

Jesus Flores, Washington's starting catcher, might be out for the rest of the season.

1981: Steve McCatty on the cover of Sports Illustrated. 1984: McCatty looks back on the brief brilliance of his career.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman on Johnson.

The Wall Street Journal calls Johnson the "Babe Ruth of Beanballs." In the first three paragraphs, writer Darren Everson mentions Pete Incaviglia and a "sickening plume of feathers." That oughtta encourage you to read.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 3, 2009; 8:14 AM ET
 
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Next: Flores And The Winning Percentage Correlation

Comments

New posted (and be afraid, birds of DC. Be very afraid).

In other news (literally), Dick Heller had an interesting column in the OP yesterday about former Senators broadcaster Bob Wolff, who will be honored at Saturday night's game.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 8:18 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm really concerned about the Flores thing. Wouldn't a FRACTURE of a BONE show up in an x-ray?

How thoroughly was Flores' shoulder evaluated before he was deemed ready for rehab, found not to be ready, and then sent to Dr. Andrews?

I have always tried to stay positive, but the disproportionate numbers of injuries to this team (even excluding Slick Nick), are cause for alarm. What is the root of these problems (both the injuries and the fact that they're not caught sooner).

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 3, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I believe that stress fractures are harder to spot and can be missed more easily than other fractures. That said, I'm also concerned about the handling of injuries.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Found this on diagnosis of stress fractures:

"The initial diagnosis can be made by identifying localized bone pain that increases with weight bearing or repetitive use. Plain film radiographs are frequently unrevealing. Confirmation of a stress fracture is best made using triple phase nuclear medicine bone scan or magnetic resonance imaging." (Am Fam Physician 2003;68:1527-32. Copyright© 2003 American Academy of Family Physicians)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

"It's a good thing they scored six runs because the pyromaniac(Hanrahan) promptly gave one of those runs right back and that is why Manny needs to go, Hanrahan is not a closer he doesn't have the physcological makeup to be a closer Acta should realize that by now i'm betting the Saint said as much but Manny was to stubborn or to stupid to realize it. The question now may be is McCatty a stopgap or is he permanent?

Posted by: dargregmag"

Someone who doesn't even know how to close a sentence has no business complaining about a closer. It's called a period, dude. Learn how to use it. Any time I see one of your comments, I feel like Mike Rizzo with Cabrera. I've grown tired of reading them. I'm sure I'm not alone on that.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 3, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Woo! What a game. Fun to watch. I just caught up on things - I'm surprised nobody brought this up:

McCatty isn't just 'old school' when it comes to video vs. mental approach - he's also gonna be more of a hardass. In his interview on MASN he talked a lot about pitchers taking responsibility for their pitch selection. He said something a lot like 'if you throw a certain pitch you better have a good explanation'.

I think this is a big part of why he was brought in and why it could have a big positive impact. I mean, I love the Saint. He's done some incredible things for the franchise. But it seemed like he didn't have that respect/fear from his players.

I remember being really shocked with the reports that the Saint 'had discussions with' Cabrera regarding his velocity. Randy wanted him to throw harder since his command stunk anyway - but Cabrera basically refused. My reaction was 'had discussions with'?! you tell the player what to do and he does it. Right?

That's the impression I get. As far as Rizzo not explaining the move enough, the Saint's right. No explanation needed, and going through the specific things he did wrong would not be any classier. You guys are just angry that it wasn't Manny, which I still disagree with.

Great win! Go nats!

Posted by: nattaboy | June 3, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

thanks for that info 1a1 ... I'm fortunate to never have had a stress fracture.

I guess I just feel that if I managed a payroll of $60M, I would get MRI-happy just to know what is up with the bodies I rely on to bring in the bucks.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 3, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

You're welcome, IHW. I agree with you re. MRI use.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

As I recall he DID have an MRI, right after the initial injury. That's more disturbing, I think.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

and hey, check out the cover of the archived SI w/the mcCatty article. #28 darrell green on the cover.

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | June 3, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I was really heartened, nattaboy, by the 1984 article that Chico posted too - McCatty's quotes from way back then make it clear that he thinks he hurt himself and lost velocity by being overcompetitive - by pushing himself too hard, too young. That suggests to me that he's going to think about that when guys like JZimm, Detwiler, etc. say "Yeah, I can go another inning tonight." He may be an old-school guy, but he's an old-school guy who ended his career early by throwing the old-school way, so hopefully that experience is still with him and he'll protect the young arms carefully.

Good finds on those two, Chico.

As for the stress fracture stuff, medicine is more art than science - the symptoms of a stress fracture are related to and similar to the symptoms of other kinds of muscular injury, I think, so it's not really all that shocking that it might have been missed early on. It just stinks - Flo's one of my favorites to watch.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 3, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Fire Steve McCatty!!!

Posted by: joebleux | June 3, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

dude, McCatty was the answer all along! We are undefeated with him in the dugout!

Posted by: 1of9000 | June 3, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

No, I think firing the pitching coach before the game was the answer. I say we keeping firing them until we lose. In the immortal words of Mike Love, "don't [bleep] with the formula". We have 112 games left -- line 'em up.

Posted by: joebleux | June 3, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm sad to see St. Clair go but think that it might be a very good move. I converted to the Saint fan club after 2007 and what he apparently managed to accomplish with a very limited amount of major league talent (to put it nicely).

My initial skepticism, however, stemmed from two points, which admittedly arose solely from anecdotal evidence based on my observations of his pitchers in Montreal and DC:

First, I noticed that his pitchers seemingly gave up a disproportionate number of runs early in the game (1st and 2d inning), which suggested inadequate prepartion.

Second, his pitchers seemed to rely inordinately on their slider, especialy as their "out" pitch. I don't like the slider much - especially for young pitchers (although I know that some around here have had an occassional romantic infatuation with it). I think that slider-dependent pitchers are more prone to injury (Patterson, Hill) and with our young staff I'd like to see more emphasis on changing location/plane ala the Mazzone school.

I know that Hanrahan went back to his fastball before St. Clair was dismissed but my suspicions were being reborn. And I find it interesting the Strasburg does not count a slider as one of his pricniple pitches - and wonder whether or not that influenced the decision.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 3, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Last night, with runners in scoring position, the Nationals were 5 for 15 (.333).

THAT, my friends, is how this team wins ballgames.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

There is really nobody to blame on the non-diagnosis of Flores' stress fracture. They are very hard to diagnose. My concern is what was noted in today's piece in the DTE, that the fracture occurred during rehab.

Let's remember that, when a catcher throws (and throws about 250 times a game, including warm ups), it puts much more strain on the upper body than when a pitcher or other fielder throws.

I certainly wish him the best, but this is a very serious condition. As it turns out, this is one of those years that does not really have an obvious top end catching prospect in the draft.

On another, not related subject, has anyone caught the remarks made by those on both Nats and O's (well, combined) broadcasts as well as some of the other MLB casts that the new Yankee Stadium seems to be a bit of a "bandbox." If that is true, someone will really have caved to something, I'm not sure what.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 3, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

There's a Baseball Insider piece about the new Yankee Stadium that might interest you, Catcher50.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

WOW...I go to work yesterday at 1pm, get home at 1am too late to follow up on the Natsnews-other than the win, thanks to messages from the park from my pal Greggo the Cop....and I'm overwhelmed! So, while I'm digesting, a small note. I see that Elijah Dukes was quoted in several stories, which makes me happy. I'm an unabashed Dukes fan so I'm glad to see he might be on his way to escaping the purgatory of his past.That he might be becoming an actual teammate rather than someone smothered-for his/our?- own protection by the Nats handlers. Given that he continues to show that he "knows how to act".Put him in right-where he belongs-and hope that humility in life can coexist with arrogance on the field and we may have a player with the swagger we seem to lack. And....uh-oh, I see a glass of kool-aid...and a win tonight. See you at the park, proudly wearing my "Fire Jim Bowden " tee...Go Nats!

Posted by: zendo | June 3, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"As it turns out, this is one of those years that does not really have an obvious top end catching prospect in the draft. "

With all due respect, with Solano, Rooney, and Norris all logjammed down in the minors we don't really NEED to look for a catcher in this draft.

Posted by: PNatsFan | June 3, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Last night, with runners in scoring position, the Nationals were 5 for 15 (.333).

THAT, my friends, is how this team wins ballgames.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

------------------

THAT my friend is also an extremely amall sample size.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 3, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

soundbloke, you clearly missed my post yesterday about the dismal numbers the Nats had with runners in scoring position.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

After reading, I agree with 295 re. the great finds on the SI articles. Also, somebody (Steinberg?) might want to ask McCatty about any memories of MC Hammer's days with the A's, as a batboy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

A term I'm getting really sick of seeing on this site is "I'm just sayin". What is that supposed to mean?

Posted by: natsguy | June 3, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"There is really nobody to blame on the non-diagnosis of Flores' stress fracture. They are very hard to diagnose. My concern is what was noted in today's piece in the DTE, that the fracture occurred during rehab."

Stress fractures do not occur overnight. They build gradually as the affected bone is used over and over again. So it's highly unlikely that the stress fracture occurred during Flores's rehab stint. It was probably there and building all along, and it was only his failure to heal from what they thought was his injury in the time it should have taken that caused them to look further into it, whereby they found the stress fracture. It's also possible that the hit from the ball aggravated a pre-existing stress fracture in his shoulder.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 3, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"A term I'm getting really sick of seeing on this site is "I'm just sayin". What is that supposed to mean?"

It means the commenter decided to switch over from that other annoying term that's overused here, which is "Wow. Just wow."

Nats Journal. Annoying catch phrases R us.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 3, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Methinks!

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@Runof1...makes sense. I don't think that we disagreed, particularly about the exacerbation by being hit with the ball. You are probably right (BTW, I'm not a Dr. and I suspect that you aren't either, nor do I play one on TV) the rehab just brought it out.

Either way, not good.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 3, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@Natsfan1a1...Thanx for the note about the Insider piece on Yankee Stadium.

My real question is: Has anyone pulled a Boswell and gone out to the new "House that Bloomberg built" with a tape measure (see: RFK Stadium, nee' DC Stadium)?

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 3, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Interesting debate on sportstalk 980 last night regarding Randy Johnson going for his 300th win, and if was OK as a Nats fan to root for him and against the the Nats.

I was disgusted with the debate and some of the caller's answers. You root for the Nats. I don't want some dude coming in here and making history at my teams expense, no matter how bad we are.

This debate would never happen in Philly, NY, Boston, Chicago, etc.

This town, when it comes to baseball, just doesn't get it.

Would Redskins fans want to see history made at their expense. Uh, big no there, I'm sure.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 3, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Just wow. I'm rooting for the Nats all the way. Just sayin.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

When I was in high school, I ended up with two stress fractures in my back, on either side of my L4. I first had pain in the spring, playing baseball and finally went to the doctor after two-a-days for football in the summer. Initially, they told me that it was a back sprain, juding from the x-rays, but that if it was stress fractures, the x-rays probably wouldn't show the injury. So, nothing shows up on the x-rays, and being a dumb kid, I took the two weeks off and tried to get right back on the field. Obviously, no good came of that, and they gave me a bone scan, where the injury did show up.

I don't know much about medical imaging, but don't MRI's and bone scans take pictures of different things? I know that doctors never even mentioned an MRI when discussing my injury, just the bone scan.

I think that teams with this kind of money should simply jump to the imaging that will most likey diagnose the injury if it is the "worst case." Like, if the doctors had simply given me a bone scan initially, and nothing showed up, then they could have said...definitely a muscle injury. However, I was dealing with an HMO, so I knew what I was getting. There shouldn't be any such worries with a major sports franchise.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 3, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

1a stirring things up again. Trouble maker.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 3, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

You know it, 505. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

There shouldn't be any such worries with a major sports franchise.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 3, 2009 11:17 AM
____________________________________________________________

Great point. However, you are obviously forgetting that the Lerner's own the Nats.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 3, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"Interesting debate on sportstalk 980 last night regarding Randy Johnson going for his 300th win, and if was OK as a Nats fan to root for him and against the the Nats."

I am rooting for Randy Johnson all the way. What a great achievement. I want his 300th win to be perfect for him, which is why the Nats OWE IT TO HIM to help him spend that great night at home in San Francisco, with his family and all his home town fans.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

A term I'm getting really sick of seeing on this site is "I'm just sayin". What is that supposed to mean?

Posted by: natsguy | June 3, 2009 10:51 AM

-- --- -- -- ---- ----- - - - - -

Hi Natsguy,

As someone who used this phrase here in the last day or so, I'll chime in with this ... The phrase is meant to diffuse what could be seen as a direct statement or attack or affront to someone else. With my use above, the purpose is to dissolve my statement about what I would do if I were in charge of a $60M payroll ... because I am _not_ in charge of one, and (as I said yesterday) talking about how to spend another person's money is a fool's game.

So it is a way of sayin' without sayin'. And it is in common parlance among us young folk (my mid-thirties friends and I).

[statement directed at nunof1 elided]

@506: teehee!

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 3, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

On who to root for...

Tonight is one of the rare games that a baseball fan can enjoy no matter what happens. I was at Nolan Ryan's 300th in Milwaukee in 1990. I went to the game rooting for my Brewers (that was before Bud turned me against them), but when it became apparent that they were going to loose, I rooted for Nolan and the opportunity to see history. To have the opportunity to see two out of only 24 300th victories is unbelievable.

My wife has been a huge RJ for years. We are taking the kids tonight and just praying that it doesn't rain. If the Nats don't win, I hope RJ gets 300. This is almost a win-win game for me. Worse case would be the Nats pen blowing the lead after RJ was knocked out. But we’ve got McCatty now, so there is no way that happens, right?

Posted by: twinbrook | June 3, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I guess if thats why you do it then don't say it.

Posted by: natsguy | June 3, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

nunof1, as contrarian as you are, you do crack me up. You're like a drill instructor from basic training - hilarious, as long as you're laying into someone else.

-----

Someone who doesn't even know how to close a sentence has no business complaining about a closer.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 3, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the BI article on Yankee Stadium...

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/baseball-insider/2009/06/yankee_stadium_homers_of_desig.html

I am really excited to see Dunn, Zimm, and Dukes take at bats there!

Not so much to see our pitchers pitch there.

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"As someone who used this phrase here in the last day or so, I'll chime in with this ... The phrase is meant to diffuse what could be seen as a direct statement or attack or affront to someone else. With my use above, the purpose is to dissolve my statement about what I would do if I were in charge of a $60M payroll ... because I am _not_ in charge of one, and (as I said yesterday) talking about how to spend another person's money is a fool's game."

I never would have thought you were in charge of a $60M payroll if you hadn't said that, y'know. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 3, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Oh nunof, grammar mistakes when picking on other people's style. Pride goeth...

Posted by: Section506 | June 3, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Are the Nats going to do anything like hand out certificates after the game if RJ gets 300? Even Bud's Brewers were classy enough to do that. (I ain't say'n, I'm just say'n)

Posted by: twinbrook | June 3, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

This place is barely a blog - more of a message board and as such - anyone getting on someone else for poor grammar or use of vernacular - is a smokescreen to distract you from the real issue.

I'm just sayin... ya know.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 3, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'll be at the game tonight, and I hope the Nats win. However, I won't be totally heartbroken if they don't. I'm big on history, and seeing a rather historical milestone in person is a big deal for me.

I was trying to think of an analagous accomplishment in football--the one benchmark that ensures enshrinement in the Hall of Fame--and I'm having trouble coming up with one. 300 wins, 3000 hits, 500 home runs (until recently)...I don't know that there are established thresholds like this in football.

So, I understand your point, but I'm not sure the two sports are equivalent statistically.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 3, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Certificates? We don't need no stinkin' certificates.

On the off-chance that RJ lucks out and beats our red-hot Nats, your ticket's your certficate that you were at the game.

Posted by: joebleux | June 3, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

You'll have your game ticket as proof you were there on RJs failed attempt at 300.

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 3, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

You'll have your game ticket as proof you were there on RJs failed attempt at 300.

yeah, this beautiful 8 1/2 by 10 piece of paper ticket from my bubble juet printer

Posted by: twinbrook | June 3, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that may be a losing battle, natsguy, but it's not personal, it's just NJ.

I love your SFO rationalization, 506.

nunof as the R. Lee Ermey of NJ, JiM? Interesting concept.

The lovely paper ticket that you paid extra for the privilege of printing, eh, twinbrook? Don't you love it?

Also, new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 3, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Pitcher doesn't matter. Runners in scoring position. Hits from almost every spot in the order. Except Nick and Dunn. Proves that the lineup is solid with the return of Dukes in spite of all the blathering about his poisonous presence.

Better start checking out those catchers down in AA, Advanced A, and A.

Posted by: periculum | June 3, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

some more morning reading from USA Today about ben mcdonald in relation to strassburg.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2009-06-02-ben-mcdonald-cover_N.htm

Posted by: sec231 | June 3, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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