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Nationals Journal: July 26, 2009 - August 1, 2009

Pirates 11, Nats 6

Before Saturday evening, only nine players in the 123-year history of the Pittsburgh Pirates had hit three home runs in one game. Andrew McCutchen became the 10th. In this 11-6 Nats' loss at PNC Park, McCutchen was the difference. He...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 1, 2009; 10:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
 
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Fresh Starts and New Roles

On Friday, hours before his team began a series with the Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington gathered his players in the PNC Park clubhouse to talk about fresh starts. In the previous month, Huntington had cleaved Pittsburgh's...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 1, 2009; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (92)
 
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Lineups From PNC Park

Washington Morgan - 8 Guzman - 6 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 3 Willingham - 7 Dukes - 9 Bard - 2 Gonzalez - 4 Stammen - 1 Pittsburgh McCutchen - 8 Milledge - 7 Jones - 3 Doumit -...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 1, 2009; 5:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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A Few Pre-Game Notes

Good afternoon from PNC Park, where in several hours Craig Stammen (3-5, 4.46) will oppose Virgil Vasquez (1-5, 6.21), and where several hours thereafter -- right after the game -- both will be replaced by Jo Dee Messina. If you're...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 1, 2009; 3:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Post-Trade Reading Material

In sum, in the hours between 2:50 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday, two players departed the Nationals (Nick Johnson and Joe Beimel), two joined or re-joined (Elijah Dukes and Jorge Sosa), and three were added to the organization's minor league...

By Chico Harlan  |  August 1, 2009; 8:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
 
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Dukes And Sosa Added To Roster

After Friday's 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh at PNC Park, the Nats made two moves, refilling their 25-man roster with an outfielder and a reliever. * Recalled from Class AAA Syracuse: Elijah Dukes. * Purchased from Class AAA Syracuse: Jorge Sosa....

By Chico Harlan  |  July 31, 2009; 10:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
 
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A Few More Trade Notes

[UPDATE] -- link to full story is here. --- Frantic day. I just composed a longer, more polished trade story for the Web that gives a better, behind-the-scenes look of the afternoon. Once the story has been edited, somebody at...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 31, 2009; 7:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Trade Deadline Moves: Johnson To Florida, Beimel To Colorado

The Washington Nationals on Friday traded two veteran free-agents-to-be, first baseman Nick Johnson and Joe Beimel, in separate deals right before the 4 p.m. deadline. The team shipped Johnson to Florida in exchange for Class AA starter Aaron Thompson. Beimel...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 31, 2009; 5:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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[Updated Again] Johnson to Marlins, Beimel to Rockies

From Chico in Pittsburgh: Nick Johnson has been traded to the Marlins for minor league starter Aaron Thompson. The deal was completed right at the 4 p.m. deadline. The lineup in the Nats' clubhouse was just taken down. Ken Rosenthal...

By Tracee Hamilton  |  July 31, 2009; 4:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (161)
 
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Beimel Traded to Rockies (Updated)

From the clubhouse in Pittsburgh comes this update: The Nick Johnson trade to Florida fell through and he'll be uniform for the Nationals tonight. The team did, however, trade Joe Beimel to the Colorado Rockies for two minor-leaguers. Not sure...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 31, 2009; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (111)
 
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Contemplating a Johnson Trade

The two prospects being discussed in the potential Nick Johnson trade with Florida are Ryan Tucker and Aaron Thompson. Both are former first-rounders drafted in 2005, and both are starting pitchers. It's telling about this organization's philosophy that pitchers --...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 31, 2009; 12:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (192)
 
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Down to the Final Hours

I'm at Milwaukee's airport right now, bound for Pittsburgh, former professional home of Joe Beimel, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett, Ron Villone, Kip Wells, Julian Tavarez -- well, I'm getting a little carried away. It's also the present home of Joel...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 31, 2009; 7:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (122)
 
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Brewers 7, Nats 3: Riggleman Gets Tossed

On Thursday, Jim Riggleman got tossed while arguing something he wasn't even sure about. There were no tirades, no YouTube meltdowns. Riggleman was ejected on Thursday, for the first time as Washington's interim manager, in a style that fits his...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 30, 2009; 6:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (118)
 
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Notes From Miller Park

Just a few mid-game notes here... Sometimes, trades come full-circle. Since the June 30 four-player trade that brought Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan to D.C., Pittsburgh and Washington haven't played each other. That changes on Friday, when the Nats arrive...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 30, 2009; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (199)
 
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Willingham Pulled From Lineup ... but Not Traded

OK, so I just got word that Josh Willingham was pulled from the lineup because of a stiff neck, not a trade. He'll even be available to pinch hit. So, apologies for raising the flags on this one. It seemed...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 30, 2009; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (112)
 
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Lineups From Miller Park

Washington Morgan - 8 Gonzalez - 6 Zimmerman - 5 Dunn - 7 Willingham - 9 Johnson - 3 Nieves - 2 Hernandez - 4 Martin - 1 Milwaukee Lopez - 4 Counsell - 6 Braun - 7 Fielder -...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 30, 2009; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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A Good Day for Baseball Talk

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Nats reading for a quick word about two different baseball chats we have going on today at the site. The first one starts in half-an-hour, a trade deadline chat with The Post's National Baseball Writer Dave Sheinin. Click here to submit a question and follow along live.

By Cameron Smith  |  July 30, 2009; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Tags: Dave Sheinin, Nationals, chats, trade  
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Brewers 7, Nats 5

There is no five-game winning streak to discuss here. The game that prevented it, indeed, followed the ol' familiar plotline from that earlier, darker chapter of Washington Nationals baseball (circa April to mid-July 2009). Garrett Mock couldn't record an out...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 30, 2009; 12:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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From Scandal, a Politician Emerges

Only five months ago, Jose Rijo was fired from his front-office job with the Nationals. The Dominican baseball academy he ran had produced a $1.4 million prospect with a forged identity. Federal investigators sought to determine whether Rijo, or those...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 29, 2009; 7:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (73)
 
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Lineups, Minor League Report

Adam Dunn isn't in the lineup for this evening's game, but don't interpret that as a sign of an impending trade. Interim skipper/blogger/video blogger Jim Riggleman had mentioned on Tuesday that several of his regulars would receive off days this...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 29, 2009; 4:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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Nyjer Morgan, One Month After the Trade

When Nyjer Morgan joined Washington via a trade from Pittsburgh one month ago, several uncertainties about his game came along with him. Would Morgan be able to hit above .280? Could he minimize his mistakes on the basepaths? Could his...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 29, 2009; 9:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
 
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Nats 8, Brewers 3

Baseball, despite what they tell you, is not a marathon. No way. It's a succession of little sprints, a four-game race here, a three-game race there, and each one has its own rhythm and energy. Observe the Nats right now,...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 28, 2009; 11:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
 
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Trade Candidates, Johnson and Good Vibes

Based on everything I'm hearing, the Nats' asking prices for Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham remain high -- to the point where it seems the team is inclined to keep them. But say this much about Washington's trade pieces (and...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 28, 2009; 7:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (81)
 
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Lineups From Miller Park

Carlos Villanueva gets the surprise start for the Brewers Tuesday evening. The guy has allowed 10 runs in his last 4-2/3 innings, and this is his first starting appearance of the year. Anthony Witrado of the Journal-Sentinet elaborates on Ken...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 28, 2009; 4:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
 
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Reasons to Retain Willingham

OK, I admit. The timing is a little off. This might have been a better chin-stroking disquisition, say, 24 hours ago -- before those two grand slams and eight RBI. Now, the question of the moment (Should the Nats trade...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 28, 2009; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
 
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A Grand Reversal

Before Monday's game, Josh Willingham's 2009 offensive résumé had one odd little wrinkle -- something that, depending on your leanings, was either a flaw or a fluke. The guy seemed to save his best for the least impactful moments. He...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 28, 2009; 12:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
 
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Two Grand Slams For Willingham

We interrupt this baseball game with a dispatch. (And I'll try for my best Cronkite intonation here.) Josh Willingham has hit two grand slams tonight. I'll repeat: Josh Willingham has hit two grand slams tonight. In back-to-back innings. There have...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 27, 2009; 10:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
 
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No Strikeouts, All Success

Sorry in advance for the stat-heavy pitcher talk today. You already read about Stammen. Now I have some numbers on Lannan. A lot of numbers. Before I get into it, here are a few tidbits: The Nats on Monday agreed...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 27, 2009; 7:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (107)
 
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Stammen in July, Lineups

Craig Stammen goes for the Nats on Monday evening. Overall, the guy is 3-5 with a 4.14 ERA, nothing eye-catching, but over the last four starts, he's sustained a considerable run of success. His innings pitched in those four starts:...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 27, 2009; 4:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
 
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Finally, a Shining Moment for Kearns

Until Sunday afternoon, the previous two-plus months for Austin Kearns had been almost entirely about failure. From May 8 through July 25, he had 16 hits in 102 at-bats (.157) with two doubles and one RBI. So emphatic was this...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 27, 2009; 8:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (98)
 
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Dmitri Has Injury Setback, Likely Finished As Nat

An injury will end Dmitri Young's season and, presumably, his time with the Nationals.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2009; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (102)
Tags: Dmitri Young, Fort Lauderdale, Harrisburg, comeback, quad  
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Lineups From Nats Park

Nyjer Morgan is out of the lineup today because of a sore left hamstring. Thus, Willie Harris gets the start in center for the second time in three days. Meantime, let's take a quick look at the Padres' lineup, or...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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The Game That Ended At 12:57 A.M.

There is but one absolute way to salvage a night in which you lose your starting pitcher after two innings, wait out a 3-hour, 11-minute rain delay, and finally resume competition against baseball's 29th-best team in a ghost town stadium:...

By Chico Harlan  |  July 26, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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