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Maxwell, Detwiler and a One-Liner From Riggleman

On September 15, Justin Maxwell -- hitting .204 at the time, still looking over-matched against big league pitching -- found himself in the Washington Nationals' starting lineup against Phillies ace Cliff Lee. Hitting coach Rick Eckstein and first base coach Marquis Grissom approached the outfielder with a suggestion. They'd studied other tall hitters -- Alex Rios, for instance, and Dave Winfield. All, when batting, started their swings with their hands at chest level. The 6-foot-5 Maxwell started his swing with his hands almost behind his ears.

The coaches suggested that Maxwell change his approach, shortening his swing.

"That's actually how I hit in college," Maxwell said, "and I kind of got away from it when I got into pro ball because at the time I wasn't hitting for much power. But [Rick] told me, 'You've got to learn how to be a hitter first and the power will come afterward.' "

Since Maxwell adjusted his stance, the results have come, with no detriment to his power and plenty of benefit for his future. Since September 15, Maxwell is hitting .333 (8 for 24). His walk-off grand slam on Wednesday is the most eye-catching highlight, but more promising for his development is this: He's struck out just five times in that span. This, from a guy who struck out 10 times in 16 hitless May at-bats. The improvement has positioned Maxwell, 25, to have a strong chance at a bench role with the Nationals in 2010.

"He's really been a better hitter since that adjustment," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "It's still a work-in-progress, but we like the results so far."

*

Starting pitcher Ross Detwiler's six-inning, one-run outing on Monday had the makings of a satisfying last impression for 2009. The Nationals, after all, didn't want the rookie to overextend himself this season, and at least publicly, they indicated that another pitcher -- perhaps Marco Estrada or Zack Segovia -- would fill Detwiler's rotation spot for Saturday's game against Atlanta.

Thursday, however, the Nationals decided to fill Detwiler's spot with Detwiler. Though the lefty has already thrown 147-1/3 innings this year, counting work in the majors and minors -- that's already a jump of 23-1/3 from his total last year -- General Manager Mike Rizzo said, "His inning count is under control, so he's good with that ... And we want him to get one more start under his belt before he shuts it down for the year."

Detwiler earned this final start because of an impressive September, in which he's pitched 18-2/3 innings (three starts), with a 2.41 ERA. At the time Rizzo and Riggleman made the decision to use Detwiler on Saturday, they were still operating under the impression that Atlanta might be in the playoff race. The Nationals, Rizzo said, "owed it to the Braves" to field their best team. But even when the Braves were officially eliminated with Colorado's victory on Thursday afternoon, they stuck with the plan -- a telling sign that the team wants a final chance to evaluate Detwiler, no matter the competitive stakes.

Said Rizzo: "It's been really interesting and really exciting to see since he came back from the minor leagues, how his composure has improved and how his command has improved and just the whole package of what he brings to the mound."

*

Quotable.

(This is classic.)

On Thursday afternoon, a television reporter asked Riggleman several questions about Mike Morse. One of those questions was, "How would you describe his personality."

Riggleman's initial answer:

"Um. (Pause.) Well, um. I don't really want to date him."

(Laughter.)

More earnestly, then:

"He's a nice young man, you know. He comes to the ballpark every day, he's in a very good mood, he's talking to the coaches, he's looking for advice. He works very well with Rick. He's just been outstanding. He comes to work every day, he really does. He's always looking for extra work, he's always out there hitting early. Never in a bad mood. I might date him, I don't know."

By Chico Harlan  |  October 1, 2009; 6:38 PM ET
 
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Next: Nats 2, Braves 1

Comments

Nooooooooo!

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Ninety-five year-old fitness legend Jack LaLanne was on Neil Cavuto's Fox News business program the other night.

Cavuto asked LaLanne what he thought of Richard Simmons.

"I wouldn't sleep with him."

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 1, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Is it only on my television, but is the video for the Nats game actually the Braves feed with Carp's and Dibbs' voices? Did MASN decide to punt the Nats last four games?

Posted by: leetee1955 | October 1, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

leetee

it's not just your tv.

Posted by: surly_w | October 1, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Not that there's anything wrong with that. :-)

---

I might date him, I don't know.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

and that reminds me of a Tallulah Bankhead story that's so filthy I'm ashamed to think of it myself.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

leetee, here's the word from "Ted Roosevelt"'s Facebook page:

"MASN TV truck died. They are working on getting the braves to feed the Fox Sports South feed to DC region."

Posted by: Hendo1 | October 1, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Then share it with the rest of us. Then you won't have to think of it all by yourself.

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 1, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Cavuto asked LaLanne what he thought of Richard Simmons.
"I wouldn't sleep with him."

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 1, 2009

_________________________________________________

LaLanne: "But I'd let him buy me drinks at the Harbor Hutt"

Posted by: periculum | October 1, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Loved Tallulah in Lifeboat, dahling.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I might date him, I don't know.
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 7:46 PM
-----------------------------
1a1: Say what? This string is starting to read like something from the "Celibritology" site.

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Fwiw, for denizens not in the Braves or Nats viewing area, the game is on MLB Network.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

LOL! The following was me, BinM:

"Not that there's anything wrong with that. :-)"

The rest was a snippet of the original post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Charlie and Dave have shut down too. =(

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

NSFW, gil, but if you google "Tallulah Bankhead" and "I don't know, darling" you'll find what I call "the Bankhead Test"

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

As long as we don't drift into "Bad Tattoos" S/S/M territory. Or Weingarten.
***************
1a1: Say what? This string is starting to read like something from the "Celebritology" site.

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 8:19 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Dang it, I'm still at work. Okay, Sec3, tell it to everyone else and I'll close my eyes...

Posted by: Section506 | October 1, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Help, please. Let's break out the bourbon and Maalox early: I'm having Debbie Taylor withdrawal symptoms. I actually, honestly, sincerely, miss Miss Peppy.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 1, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I can help, Sunshine.

Hendo, how did you feel when you found out the truck died? Were you sad?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

NN: I hear you - the mlb.com radio feed has punked out completely. Are there T-storms somewhere between ATL & WSH interfering with the feed?

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Zimmerman may beat Dunn in RBI's, runs scored and doubles. Not too many homers away?

Posted by: periculum | October 1, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey does anyone know this--like Chico--after the game on Sunday, does everyone just slap each other on the back & say see you in Viera? Or do they all have dinner together or something?

Posted by: Section109 | October 1, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

NSFW, gil, but if you google "Tallulah Bankhead" and "I don't know, darling" you'll find what I call "the Bankhead Test"
==========================================================
We're not at work, Sec3.

All right, I'll google the @#$%ing thing...
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Oh.
My.
Gawd.

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 1, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

BTW, anyone notice Dunn's made a couple of nice plays at first tonight? Scooped up Zim's throw off his 360-degree spin, and smothered Mock's heinous throw?

He may turn into a first baseman yet.

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 1, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

NN (continued): And the actual AM feed is all over the place - I'm getting feed that comes across in waves. It's like listening to a baseball game while standing shoulder-deep in the breakers at the beach.

Gad, I hope the Nationals can negotiate an FM carrier (with repeater stations) for next season! AM-only sucks.

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I have, gilbertbp. I've been noticing it alot and I'm very, very pleased. I forget he's there, which is the way I think it should be for 1Bmen.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

heh, heh. watching gameday it looks like JMax has Hanson a little flustered.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"Hendo, how did you feel when you found out the truck died? Were you sad?"

Didn't bother me. I'm exclusively a Charlie-and-Dave guy.

Posted by: Hendo1 | October 1, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

boy, the TV feed they are using is SO much better than usual. Why can't MASN get its ACT together?????

Posted by: Nats_Lady | October 1, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Did you hear what Riggleman said about Desmond?
"Love the way he wears his baseball hat!" sic

Well, since the Braves are out of contention, this series will be all about playing for pride. Hat's off the Bobby Cox, but I hope we sweep the Braves!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | October 1, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

W-AAAA-AAAA-HHH - My mlb.com feed (via Verizon) is apparently toast, the actual AM radio feed is garbage, and I refuse to listen to Crapenter & Dribble, even for two innings. This bites!

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

BinM, I just got the gameday audio back.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

JiM, you'll want to know this: DEVO at the 9:30 Club in DC, next month.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Nats on FM would be GREAT. Gameday audio on my phone has become very unreliable. But my MP3 player (Zune) has an FM radio receiver, so do the new iPod nanos.

Was reading over the NJ posts from earlier today--fun, fun. Thanks for the laughs, people.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | October 1, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Pete!

ORR!!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Orr's blooper scores the Zimmenator! Way to go!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | October 1, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

ORRRRRRRRRR!

Either he's going to play another season at SYR ... ORR he'll be our fifth infielder next season.

Orr and Morse are a decent upgrade from AG and Willie.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 1, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

BTW, where is Nyjer? Did he just go home to recover? Hope all is well.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | October 1, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

More Debbie Taylor sound, sec3! I love it!
LOL

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 1, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer is everywhere. It is said, he will return when his team truly needs him most.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

We should have every confidence that our year long first class closer can shut down the Braves in the bottom of the ninth! Wait, what?

Posted by: poncedeleroy | October 1, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Come on Clip! Shut 'em down!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | October 1, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

MacDougal in - not the best call w/ a runner on 3rd, imo.

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman makes that play to second better than anybody! I mean it! Save for MacDougal!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | October 1, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

For one out, I'm OK with Mac. Six outs, not so much.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Nyjer is hanging out with Rachel? ~jk laughing~

Posted by: periculum | October 1, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

OMG, MacDougal gets the out! Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys & Girls, that's four straight wins; Another curly-W in the books, the final: Nationals 2, Braves 1. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Four, thanks to ORR!!!!!!!!!!!

This season is ending too soon. We have just hit our stride...against teams mailing it in.

Is this Salary Drive enough to save Riggs' job? It just might.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 1, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

109, to the best of my knowledge, mostly the former, except without that much back-slapping. They won't all be back in Viera, for one thing. I'm confident they don't all have dinner together, although I won't swear it's never happened.
*********
Hey does anyone know this--like Chico--after the game on Sunday, does everyone just slap each other on the back & say see you in Viera? Or do they all have dinner together or something?

Posted by: Section109 | October 1, 2009 8:57 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Salute to all the teams qualifying for post-season! I was interested in Atlanta, but they were eliminated today.

For my home team in Washington? Wait til next year! (it might take a lot of years, actually!). Convinced it's bad karma embracing the name Nationals/Senators. Guess I should be glad we didn't name them the Wizards or Redskins.

Can't anybody name a ball team around here?

Posted by: poncedeleroy | October 1, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

SO, we'll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, poncedeleroy, the Ponce de Leon rec league still has five weeks or so left.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 1, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

109: Since they finish on the road, it's hard to tell; they may scatter from ATL, they may all fly back to WSH first.

Usually, there is a day or two of head-to-head meetings with the GM/Mgr & individual players to discuss the season & outlook for next year. With the MGR position up in the air, all that might get put off until mid-October, or get done via conference calls.

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

From Bankhead to Byron, sec3. Wow.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

You know you've watched too many Nats games when you think or say something right before the broadcaster does. Such as when they first showed Lannan and Martin doing their hat tricks in the dugout, then showed them with Bard sitting in between (to separate them, as I and then Bob said). Or when Zimmerman made the final play of the game and I called out "Gold Glove" just before Bob's comment on Ryan's chances for the award. Sigh. I'm gonna miss my Nats.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Me too 1a, me too! I know what you mean. When I went to the game Monday, someone did the charge call right before the stadium did it! Deja Vu Oh Wow!

I also will miss talking to Johnny H. and Ray after the game at the MASN booth. Both are such gentlemen! Also, Johnny would let me know how his grandson Jack is doing (Now cancer free and getting radiation)!

I'll really go through withdrawl after Sunday I imagine! (heavy sigh).

Posted by: CALSGR8 | October 1, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we can all just hibernate this winter and wake up in the spring, just in time for Nats baseball : < ))

Posted by: cokedispatch | October 1, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

After googling per sec3's suggestion, I guess it's fair to say that her name certainly adds to the pun of that quote.

For sure, one of my favourite movie quotes is from Bankhead's character in "Lifeboat" when she quotes Kipling. To whit; "The sins you do by two and two,
you must pay for one by one".

Posted by: shygaard | October 1, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

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