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A Few Sunday Notes

During the 5-1/2 months where he auditioned for the general manager's job, Mike Rizzo was actually performing two jobs. He managed the day-to-day operations of the big league roster while still retaining his original duties -- heading the scouting and drafting as assistant general manager. Rizzo, in other words, was stretched thin.

With Rizzo now the permanent general manager, he has turned his attention to the vacancy he left behind. Rizzo this weekend said he'd like to hire an assistant general manager before the Washington Nationals' season ends. Team president Stan Kasten has admitted that the team been "shorthanded" in the front office since Jim Bowden's resignation on March 1.

"We're thinking about it and discussing it," Rizzo said. "I think the process is moving along, and before the end of the major league season we should have it narrowed down to the point where we can possibly hire somebody."

In his three years with the organization, Rizzo has run draft efforts, orchestrated trades and handled negotiations. But he hasn't hired anybody. And he's looking forward to the chance. Rizzo suggested that the next assistant general manager could have an expertise more in administrative procedures -- contracts, waivers, legalese -- than in baseball scouting.

"The assistant in a perfect world would have strengths where my weaknesses are," Rizzo said. "That would be the ultimate set-up. Somebody who has great knowledge of the rules, contracts, a great grasp of waivers, that type of thing."


Austin Kearns, on the disabled list since Aug. 5 because of a bruised right thumb, is not progressing as quickly as the Nationals had hoped, and there are no immediate plans for Kearns to begin a rehab assignment. If Kearns cannot return to the big leagues this season -- a distinct possibility -- his time with Washington is all but over. The Nationals can either bring Kearns back in 2010 for $10 million or give him a $1 million buyout, and given Kearns' productivity -- he has hit a combined .209 (487 at bats) in 2008 and 2009 -- the buyout seems the only option.

Said interim manager Jim Riggleman: "I think we were hoping in early September he would be able to play, but the latest I'm hearing, it's probably not going to be until later in September where he can aggressively swing the bat."


Garrett Mock has been Washington's best starter during the last month. But he has one very distinct hurdle to clear. He is still struggling in the later innings, when batters see him for the third time.

Check out Mock's numbers as the game progresses.

First I'll list the batter averages of opponents.

First time through the order: .278
Second time through the order: .279
Third time through the order: .514

And now slugging percentages against Mock.

First time through: .409
Second time through: .500
Third time through: .629

For perspective, the league-wide batting averages increase from .253 (first time against a starter) to .271 (second time) to .284 (third time). The league slugging percentages go from .400 to .436 to .464.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 30, 2009; 1:49 PM ET
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Next: Nats Trade Belliard To Dodgers


Great at-bat by Guzman - 11 pitches, nearly beat out the grounder.

Posted by: BinM | August 30, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

It was about 40AB. He hit poorly his first four, then hit over .300 his last six games. In his last game, he was 3 for 5, stole a couple of bases and scored in the ninth for the win. Hurt his knee. Should have slid head first. You know those injuries from feet-first sliding? Leave Tony Plush alone. Let him be.


Why haven't we heard anything about the health of Jeff Kobernus, down in GCL or was it NYP? I'm a Berkeleyite, and after he went down after 10abs or so, there's been silence.

Posted by: clarquito | August 29, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 30, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

If his knee is OK, Kobernus will either get a "re-do" at VT to start the year, or make the jump to HAG-POT from EST in 2010. I'm hoping to see him in POT before the season is too-far done. He might not be great with the stick, but he's smooth in the field & plays smart baseball.

Posted by: BinM | August 30, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Mock is great today. Too bad we can't give him any runs.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 30, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Starting the third time through for Mock; get close to the bullpen phone, Riggs.

Posted by: BinM | August 30, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I want to hear again how "errors are part of the game." C'mon, PAY ATTENTION.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 30, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Can anybody here play this game? Ray Knight called it right why throw Puljos a fastball on a 3-2 count like i said in a friday night post with the game on the line, WALK HIM!!!! WHAT ARE YOU? STUPID! HE'S THE BEST HITTER IN BASEBALL He just beat you on a walk off,stop being hard headed.I don't blame Mock it's the machismo of McCatty and Riggleman you can't win throwing Puljos fastball's in clutch situations.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

No more Guz at SS. Routine play.

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 30, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hoping for Pot. Not great hitting, but not awful. .275. 10-15 HRs, 65 RBI? If he's too big for 2B (Utley-sized?), then there is no place for him in MLB. He said in an interview that the Nats want to move him up pretty quickly. I hope Rizzo is right about him. He got the slot money

If his knee is OK, Kobernus will either get a "re-do" at VT to start the year, or make the jump to HAG-POT from EST in 2010. I'm hoping to see him in POT before the season is too-far done. He might not be great with the stick, but he's smooth in the field & plays smart baseball.

Posted by: BinM | August 30, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 30, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

we suckkkkkkkkkkk

Posted by: rachel216 | August 30, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Pete Orr was called up to replace Nyjer on the roster, and that worked out pretty badly with the bases loaded a few minutes ago. An August 15 showdown over Bryce Harper is starting to look more and more certain now. Mock deserved so much better today.


Posted by: kevincostello | August 30, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I certainly hated to see Felipe Lopez start playing well once he dogged his way off the Nationals' roster. I will hate to see Kearns perk up and play well for another team. However, I would much less enjoy seeing the Nats pick up his $10M option. Kearns has to go.

I wonder if Bowden would have tried to keep him?


Posted by: kevincostello | August 30, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Mock looked so good.

Clippard. Point him for a start mid-Sept.

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 30, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Mcdougal 3.75 million in 2010. I'm thinking no, but we could get quite a bit in a trade package? McD, Belliard, Orr, and one of our mediocre young pitchers for whom?

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 30, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Mock looked good, except for the error.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 30, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse


There are around 20 starters ... at least 2 in triple A who haven't gotten a shot yet. Detwiler, Mock, and Atilano are looking good.

They also need middle relief. That has decidedly been a HUGE GIGANTIC weakness? Clippard is one of the few bright spots there ... and you want to change him out as a starter when he is having success in his current role? Sounds kind of crazy if you ask me?

Mike Rizzo; you had to know this would happen? This series? Get Norris Hopper and Ian Desmond up here pronto. Hopper is your best bet as a replacement for Morgan. Why are you even bothering with someone like Orr Ian Desmond hitting .340 should have gotten the call. What are you thinking?

Posted by: periculum | August 30, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Belliard needs to go by tomorrow for a low minor league prospect. I don't know that he will be back next year. Orr has no value to anybody, or else he would have come up earlier for us.

McDougal seems to me like Hanrahan or Jonathan Albaladejo in value. All three were scrap heap acquisitions. Albaladejo got us Clippard, Hanrahan got us Burnett. We will get a fallen prospect for McDougal if we trade him, but I don't know if I see the point. He may have value worth keeping.


Posted by: kevincostello | August 30, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree with perc. Clip has been tried as a starter and that didn't work out. You have to quit thinking of being starter as a "promotion". It shouldn't be a "promotion" any more than you get "promoted" from catcher to SS.

What a person should be judged on is how well that person performs the duties they are assigned--as a team player.

We need middle relief. Who else is there, Sosa, Rivera?

Burnett seems better in the setup role, or situational, Villone you would only use when you have to.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 30, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Orr 6 LOB. Willie Harris .226 0 for 5 in the lead off spot.

Norris Hopper, Ian Desmond do you really want left-handed hitter who can't hit worth or damn ... I don't know I guess a part of this is Riggleman. He just isn't using the right players ... everyone complained bitterly about Kearns ... yet here were are with super willie hitting .226 not all that much better than Kearns? In the lead off spot?

And Orr what the hell is a great way to kill an offense as he did in Syracuse ...

One has to wonder ...

Posted by: periculum | August 30, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I've said before, we need to keep MacD until/if Storen is ready.
Lots of things could happen between now and then (injury, etc.). MacD is effective for us, was not effective for other teams. Clearly there is a fit. We need a closer, why trade one away?

So you pay some $$ for him, OK. Put incentives in the contract--since his past is so checkered, that's justified.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 30, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, apparently Kearns isn't coming back, so that's water under the bridge. We gotta hope Flores and Morgan are back to full strength in the spring. In the meantime, win a few games, try out some minor-leaguers and enjoy the food at the Park.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 30, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 30, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

New post. Bye-bye, Belli.

(And I don't see Kearns as a deliberate tanker.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 30, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Happy for Belli.

Wasn't that a pathetic swing, tho, his last swing as a Nat?

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 30, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I was a bit too slow with the submit button, I see.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 30, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Errors...part of the Nats game it should have read...

Guzman does not any range to his left...he needs to go.

Bye bye Belli! We will miss you. Couldn't they have traded Guzman instead?

Posted by: M20832 | August 30, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

It looked like Riggleman was making a lot of signals from the dugout after every pitch toward the end of the game. Was he calling the pitches? I hope so.

As for the supposed mistake mentioned upthread of pitching a fastball to Pujols, the other night the on air personalities were all saying it was a mistake for Bergmann to pitch him a slider. If you can't pitch Pujols a fastball or a slider, there's not much else you can pitch him except maybe an intentional walk. The guy can hit anything anytime.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | August 30, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Ponce: there are sliders like the Nats pitchers throw, and then there are sliders like Greinke or Sabathia throw. It takes a very good pitcher to shut Pujols down, and the Nats don't have any.

Posted by: JohnRDC | August 31, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

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