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Desmond Gets Start at Second Base

* First of all, take note. Ian Desmond is starting at second base -- a position he hasn't played since his junior year of high school. For the last two or three days, Desmond has prepared for the position switch, taking grounders there with Pat Listach and Tim Foli. So now, he's ready. Plus, the Nats want to get their .750 hitter into the lineup. Listach, speaking about the adjustment from short to second, said that the double play pivot will be the most important change -- and maybe the only one. "A ground ball is a ground ball no matter where you stand," Listach said. "A double play is going to be different. He'll have to know where the runner is without seeing him. A shortstop -- everything is in front of him. But he's a good enough athlete."

* Pitcher Scott Olsen, recovering from surgery to repair a small tear in his left labrum, will report on Wednesday to Viera, Fla., to begin a 5-1/2-week throwing program. "Taking these five-pound weights out of my hand and picking up a ball will be nice," Olsen said. During the program, Olsen won't throw off a mound, but he'll do enough long toss to gauge his readiness. If, by the end of the program, Olsen can throw 125 feet without pain, he'll be ready to pitch come spring training, he said.

* Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Willingham are out of the lineup, just to get an off day. "Ryan hit a home run the other night, but he's not on top of his game right now," Jim Riggleman said. "It's a little bit of a struggle for him the last couple days, and Willingham the same way. It's just a day to let them clear their heads and watch one, maybe get a big pinch hit for us."

* No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg, who was with the Nationals for the last 1-1/2 weeks, has returned home to San Diego. He will report back to Viera, Fla., for the start of Florida Instructional League on Sept. 17, general manager Mike Rizzo said. Strasburg's first bullpen session -- and, I presume, the corresponding SportsCenter special -- could come the next day, though that has not been finalized.

So why was Strasburg briefly sent home, rather than heading directly up I-95?

"It's just, there's nobody in Viera now," Rizzo said. "I didn't want him flying into Viera for four days and staying in a hotel and playing catch for 30 minutes. So go home for four days and come back with the rest of the guys."

By Chico Harlan  |  September 13, 2009; 12:54 PM ET
 
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Next: In Another Rain Delay; Nats Lead, 7-2

Comments

Noting that Riggleman has to find some excuse to get Pete Orr into the lineup: resting Zimmerman.

And sec233 or whomever said I have a b*&Ner for Mike Morse. Morse hits, he might even be better than Willingham in left field offensively?

Why does Riggleman have a b*&Ner for Orr? He was really terrible in Syracuse, he wasn't helping that team when started when their top guys were recalled to the Nats? Why not try Morse at third?

At this point I think its best for Mr. Riggleman to remain 'interim'.

Posted by: periculum | September 13, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Pete Orr, born in 1979, will get high recommendations and get to follow Jim Riggleman to his next job. In Peoria.

Posted by: periculum | September 13, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from prior string...

Maybe today's lineup sets up a "flip the infield" defensive change by Riggleman later in the game; Desmond to SS, Orr to 2B, RZim in at 3B, and Morse in for Dunn at 1B.
Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009 1:37 PM |

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, peric; What did Orr do to you to deserve all the p!$$ & vinegar from you - refuse an autograph, "fart in your general direction", turn 30, or what?

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Orr is having a heck of a game, as if in response to this discussion.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 13, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The beard on Lannan might actually be a good thing, although I hardly recognize him.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 13, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

+1/2St.: Glad to have you in the discussion (such as it is). I know it's early, but I'm feeling an AGonz/Orr platoon @2B in 2010 wouldn't be a bad fall-back position. Thoughts?

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I think that Orr is making a good case to platoon with Gonzalez, who has been a bit of a disappointment. However, maybe there really is something to Guzman or Desmond at 2b, as well.

As for today, let's take a rainout, and a quick win for Lannan.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 13, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

With the rain delay, Charlie & Dave are discussing RZim as a Gold Glover, driven by ESPN's "WebGems" (were he is #1 overall for the season).

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"Why does Riggleman have a b*&Ner for Orr? He was really terrible in Syracuse, he wasn't helping that team when started when their top guys were recalled to the Nats? Why not try Morse at third?"

Perhaps because by most accounts Morse is absolutely terrible defensively, no matter the position.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 13, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"The beard on Lannan might actually be a good thing, although I hardly recognize him."

Lannan has a beard? It's hard to tell from MASN's terrible standard definition picture. The constant freeze frames during the action don't help either. When will MASN go to two HD channels, one for the Nats and one for the O's?

Posted by: nunof1 | September 13, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"+1/2St.: Glad to have you in the discussion (such as it is). I know it's early, but I'm feeling an AGonz/Orr platoon @2B in 2010 wouldn't be a bad fall-back position. Thoughts?

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009"

Orr just picked up his second error. He is definitely not a sure handed fielder. He had 13 errors in SYR and continues here. Its not like he is a "young" prospect still learning.

I suspect that Rizzo will go out and get a sure handed fielder at short stop. That means Guzman moves over. Guz has now seen Desmond playing second base. The handwriting is on the wall for Guzman. Play that other position or move out.

I suspect that its going to be Jack Wilson (as many including BinM have guessed. ) until Espinosa is ready. Desmond at second base. Guzman?

Posted by: periculum | September 13, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

As far as Orr ... gee BinM aren't you and the rest always telling me that SYR means nothing? How many points does your average fall in the majors?

Orr hit .242. .242 .242 .242 .242? Kasto hit .271. Morse hit .330. Desmond hit .350. Okay?

He will end up hitting around .200 just like Maxwell if what you and others on this blog indicate is true? You want to platoon him at second?

Posted by: periculum | September 13, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The way Desmond is playing now, you have to give him the majority of the opportunities. Orr is known commodity and I'm begining to think the AG is too - both are utility infielders. I like Orr's speed and defensive versatility, and I think he'll be a good bench player, but he's not a starter.

Desmond on the other hand, may be a major league starter. If his defense if major-league ready, then I think I'd rather go with him over any of the available free agent shortstops, such as Scuturo or Crosby. Guzzy solves 2B (at least for next year) so I believe next year's SS should be a glove first guy. Improving team defense should be priority this winter in order to cut 100 runs off our runs allowed figure. So if Desmond is really a plus defender, then his defense could allow us to use him and Guzzy up the middle with Nyjer and Flores returning and we've made a big upgrade form the start of this season. But the shortstop position is vital to improving team defense and we have to upgrade over Guzman.

As for Morse, he could be a good role player, but I don't believe he's an everyday guy - at least of the caliber that we need to be successful. RF needs to be upgraded too, offensively. I think Nady would be a great get. He's close to 30 and is solid defensively as well. I believe he's lefthanded too. With a player like Nady in the lineup too, it's easier to hid a young hitter like Desmond.

So April 2010?:

CF Morgan
2B Guzman
3B Zimmerman
1B Dunn
LF Willingham
RF Nady
C Flores
SS Desmond

I think that looks pretty darn good, both offensively and defesively.

Posted by: sec307 | September 13, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Morse is a good 1st baseman and can sub in at the corner positions in the OF. The man has been clutch and his RBI's have been the difference maker in 2 wins.

Orr is having his best stint in the Majors which also is great news.

Unfortunately both Morse and Orr will have to compete as 2010 role players so these auditions are great but a long way to setting the 25 man roster in 2010.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 13, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Ian Desmond! I haven't seen electrifying production like this since the first two weeks of Emilio Bonafacio.

Maybe we still look for a long term solutions at SS, and 2b, and if the kid makes it he makes it...

Posted by: soundbloke | September 13, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The notion of a "left-handed" Kearns that hits consistently in Nady makes sense.

However, SOP says that these free agents aren't going to want to come to the Nats. First order of business may be to re-up Dunn to more than 2 years tacking on a additional 2. Marerro isn't going to replace him offensively. Better bets are right handed Willingham or Morse first. Marerro needs to find a new position.

That said I think they may have a better shot at getting Jack Wilson. He would be their MI fielding specialist. He might also coach up Desmond, Espinosa, Morse, Casto, Orr, et al?

Nady makes sense, but won't sign here, so you have to wonder if the guys currently on Syracuse's roster: Casto, Leonard Davis, Mike Daniel; p;us Nanita, Plascensia, and perhaps Lowrance if he learns to hit ... would they be possibilities next year? All bat left and play the outfield. Nanita's pushing it a bit ... he should already be past AA given his age. Way out is JP Ramirez ... who is trying to climb the ladder with Destin Hood.

Because the Nats are where they are at. In the cellar, losing 100 games again you are going to have problems signing the guys you want. So, you either trade for what you want or you make do with is already here.

Posted by: periculum | September 13, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"Jeez, peric; What did Orr do to you to deserve all the p!$$ & vinegar from you - refuse an autograph, "fart in your general direction", turn 30, or what?

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009"

I guess I don't like Riggleman's approach. Guys need to know that if they perform well in the minors they will get called up and given a chance.

Morse .330 16 home runs doubles
Desmond .350
Padilla .357

Orr did get 6 triples, but he also only hit .242 and although he didn't help the Nats in their current losing effort ... he didn't help Syracuse much when they lost key players called up to the parent club. He was a utility infielder, he didn't step up to help SYR on their playoff run.

Morse did. Padilla did. Desmond did.

Maxwell and Orr were easily replaced by Daniel and Casto. In point of fact they may even play better.

Posted by: periculum | September 13, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

It's a pity that this game means something to Florida, since 1) I wish the Fish ill, and 2) I would love to get teh 50th win easily.

Oh, well, almost time to root for my Giants against the Redskins.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 13, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

@307: IMHO, the following are "locks" for 2010 - Flores @CA, Dunn @1B, RZim @3B, Morgan @CF.

Willingham @LF & Dukes @RF are the "leaders in the clubhouse" for their positions, with Harris, Bernardina, Maxwell, & Morse competing for 1-2 spots.

Guzman, Desmond, Orr & AGonz could all be in a 50-50 situation for 3 slots at MI, with Guzman having a slight edge based on experience. Add a 2nd-string catcher (Nieves, Bard, or other) & you're at 12.

IF another every-day player gets added to the roster in either the IF or OF, everything shifts (as a matter of course); We probably won't have certainty until January, 2010. I'm personally betting on pitching additions, rather than every-day players for next year.

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

For those suggesting Nady, he had Tommy John surgery in July

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4301416

Don't expect him to be ready for the start of 2010. Maybe by July/August

Posted by: Brian_ | September 13, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

3 minutes to air - either they renew play, or call the game

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Due to the rain delay, Lannan only gets 5IP, 6H, 1ER, 1BB, 1K. Into the bullpen, and so the adventure begins.

Posted by: BinM | September 13, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Hello, peeps. Just catching up. Nats are winning?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 13, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Clip looking good. Lannan has red-scruff on his chin?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 13, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The organist just played "Raindrops keep falling on my head..." Cute.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 13, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness we have a scapegoat to follow Fick and Kearns as the real problem with the Nats. Dukes looked like he was going to step up and assume the responsibility, but then he started to hit. Thank you Pete Orr. We can continue to spew a hugely disproportionate amount of vitriol at the 25th guy on the roster.

Posted by: markfromark | September 14, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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