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Nationals Journal: March 7, 2010 - March 13, 2010

Olsen is getting closer, but he's not there yet

Scott Olsen still plans on being ready for the first week of the regular season, which for him mattered most Saturday after his second preseason start. "My arm's still attached," Olsen said. "Nothing broke today." In the Nationals ninth consecutive...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 13, 2010; 5:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Updates: Nationals at Astros

I'll provide periodic updates. ... 4:20: The Nationals dropped to 0-9 after a walk-off single off of Sean Burnett. The Astros win, 8-7. 4:11: The Nationals tied the score, 7-7, in the ninth. Willie Harris walked, Eric Bruntlett doubled and...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 13, 2010; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Cristian Guzman's return, Scott Olsen's start, Stephen Strasburg, part two

On March 4, the Nationals came here for their first game of the spring and absorbed a 15-5 beating at the hands of the Astros and the wind. The Astros launched five home runs, four of them to right-center, where...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 13, 2010; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Elijah Dukes scratched with tenderness in left toe

Elijah Dukes had been in the lineup early this morning, but the Nationals scratched him with tendnerness in his left toe as a result of being hit by a pitch last Monday. Dukes is sitting as a precaution because the...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 13, 2010; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Today's lineup

After the drive up Route 192 that included sights such the Reptile World Serpentarium and The Gun Store (not to be confused with The Gun Shack, which is just up the road), we're settling here at the Osceola County Baseballtarium....

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 13, 2010; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Lineups and links

Elijah Dukes has been batting seventh, or even eighth, some games this spring, and that is not coincidence. Spring training is a time to try things out, and Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman is considering batting Dukes lower in the batting...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 13, 2010; 7:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Stephen Strasburg in Washington -- in April?

After the Nationals refigured their pitching schedule to cope with the rain, Stephen Strasburg will still start Sunday against the Cardinals. That keeps him on a potentially interesting pace, one that could have him making a start in Washington even...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 12, 2010; 3:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Stephen Strasburg's magic number: 158 innings pitched

The question of where Stephen Strasburg will pitch this season has of course been a dominant storyline this spring training, and it seems the most likely outcome will be 15 starts in the minors, a mid-June call-up, and then he's...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 12, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Jim Riggleman , Stephen Strasburg  
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The Nationals' draft plot thickens

For a while now, I've harbored a deep suspicion the Nationals would ultimately use their No. 1 overall draft pick this June on someone other than 17-year-old catcher Bryce Harper. It was an educated hunch, based on a few facts:...

By Dave Sheinin  |  March 12, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Nationals-Yankees game canceled

The Nationals and Yankees never had a chance today. It was called because of rain at about 9 a.m. before the Yankees even had a chance to arrive in Viera. (The bus had left, I was told, so it must...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 12, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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A hard rain's a-gonna fall

The forecast -- they're calling for flash flood warnings down here -- makes playing baseball today not much more likely than yesterday. If there is a game, it'll be Jason Marquis and Matt Chico on the mound against the Yankees....

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 12, 2010; 6:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ryan Zimmerman , Stephen Strasburg  
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Eddie Guardado caught by surprise by release

In his 17 years of professional baseball, Eddie Guardado had never been released before this morning, when the Washington Nationals included him in their first round of cuts. "They caught him totally, pretty much, by surprise," said Kevin Kohler, Guardado's...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 11, 2010; 5:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Stephen Strasburg's spring education

In three days, Stephen Strasburg will again get to do his favorite thing: pitch. His Sunday start remains on schedule despite the rain, and it promises to bring significantly less hoopla than his Tuesday debut. Between then and now, Strasburg...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 11, 2010; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Nationals-Astros game canceled

Not much else to add yet. The game today has been rained out, and it will not be made up. Once we talk to Jim Riggleman and get an idea of any re-worked pitching schedules and such, I'll include it...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 11, 2010; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Stephen Strasburg's next start will be Sunday

The Nationals have scheduled Stephen Strasburg to start Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals, the encore to his highly anticipated Tuesday debut against the Detroit Tigers. Livan Hernandez, making his first appearance this spring, will follow Strasburg in the game....

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 11, 2010; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Today's lineup vs. Astros

If the rain here lets up and allows the Nationals to face the Astros, here's the lineup they'll use: Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2. Roger Bernadina, RF 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 4. Adam Dunn, 1B 5. Josh Willingham, LF...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 11, 2010; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Eddie Guardado among first Nationals cuts

The Nationals trimmed their spring training camp for the first time this morning, giving pitchers Shawn Estes and Eddie Guardado their outright release and reassigning pitchers Victor Garate, Logan Kensing, Joel Peralta and Ryan Speier, catcher Derek Norris and outfielder...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 11, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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One man's Nationals roster guess and links

One full week into their Grapefruit League schedule, the Nationals are still looking for their first win. That's not the worst news this spring, and General Manager Mike Rizzo doesn't worry at all about the spring training record. In the...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 11, 2010; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Wrapping up another spring loss for the Nationals

The Nationals fell to 0-8 this afternoon with a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals, but at least their team ERA dropped to 10.21. General Manager Mike Rizzo today shared his view that they shouldn't even bother keeping stats in spring...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 10, 2010; 5:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Does Ivan Rodriguez throw harder than Garrett Mock?

As Garrett Mock finished speaking with reporters after his outing -- two runs on five hits in three innings -- he pointed a few lockers over, at this catcher. "By the way," Mock said. "Pudge Rodriguez throws harder than I...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 10, 2010; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Updates: Nationals at Cardinals

I'll provide periodic updates. ... 3:50: The Nationals are 0-8 in the Grapefruit League. The Cardinals beat them, 6-4. Jason Bergmann threw a scoreless eighth. Eric Bruntlett and Chris Duncan struck out to end it. 3:27: For the third time...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 10, 2010; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Rizzo on Nats' play, Strasburg, Dunn, Guzman

Along with addressing Jesus Flores's trip to Birmingham, Mike Rizzo touched on various topics today: * Rizzo could care less about the Nationals poor spring start. "Spring training is spring training," he said. "We shouldn't even keep score or keep...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 10, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Today's lineups, pre-game updates

We've got two reunions today at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, the city and not the planet. Felipe Lopez is playing second for the Cardinals, and Chris Duncan -- whose father Dave is still the pitching coach of the Cardinals...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 10, 2010; 1:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Jesus Flores will visit Dr. James Andrews, miss at least 10 days

Catcher Jesus Flores's depressing spring continues. Struggling to recover from shoulder surgery, Flores left the Nationals to visit specialist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., and will miss at least 10 days, Manager Jim Riggleman said. Flores already had said...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 10, 2010; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Final thoughts on Stephen Strasburg's debut, plus links

There were several things you could take away from Stephen Strasburg's debut yesterday. One is, he's not long for the minor leagues. Another is, there is no place he'd rather be -- except for maybe taking a walk with Bentley,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 10, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Stephen Strasburg makes spring training debut

I'll provide periodic updates. ... 3:56: Before Stephen Strasburg threw him first pitch in the bullpen, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty walked up to him. "He kept reminding to me breath," Strasburg said. Nervous energy, Strasburg thought, played a large...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 9, 2010; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (91)
 
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Stephen Strasburg is ready to go

The crowd had swelled to about 200 in the rightfield corner of Space Coast Stadium, where the Nationals bullpen is located. Shortly after the public address announcer bellowed the starting pitcher -- "none other than No. 37, Stephen Strasburg" --...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 9, 2010; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Catching up with Chad Cordero

I'd like to interrupt Straspalooza (or is it Strasburgeddon?) to bring you another installment of our continuing series, Great Ex-Nationals of the Cactus League. Today's guest is Chad Cordero, the Nationals' all-time franchise leader in saves (113) and ERA (2.78,...

By Dave Sheinin  |  March 9, 2010; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Stephen Strasburg's spring debut: The vibe and the lineups

Contrary to earlier rumors, Stephen Strasburg is not going to face the Detroit Tigers by himself. The lineup: Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2. Cristian Guzman, SS 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 4. Josh Willingham, LF 5. Adam Kennedy, 2B 6....

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 9, 2010; 10:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Stephen Strasburg, the debut and the polls

The anticipation for Stephen Strasburg's first spring training start, once it ends, will yield only to more anticipation. His career for now exists as a series of nexts. When will he make his first minor league start? Will he move...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 9, 2010; 7:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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The wait is just about over to watch Stephen Strasburg

Tuesday morning, presuming he has not changed his routine since college, Stephen Strasburg will arrive in the home clubhouse at Space Coast Stadium and act like any other pitcher. "I don't know of any superstitions he has," said Erik...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 8, 2010; 7:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Breaking down another bad day of Nationals pitching

The good news is that Stephen Strasburg is pitching tomorrow. The bad news is that in his maiden performance in a major league uniform, he'll be serving as the staff's stopper. Here is your daily tabulation of the horrid black-and-white...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 8, 2010; 5:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Some runs, but no concerns for Scott Olsen

The initial results in Scott Olsen's return from shoulder surgery conflicted with how Olsen viewed them. Olsen allowed seven hits in two innings, including a three-run home by Jorge Cantu of the Marlins that accounted for all the runs Olsen...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 8, 2010; 3:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Updates: Nationals vs. Marlins

I'll provide periodic updates throughout the game. ... 4:05: The Nationals, after a quiet end of the game and a two-walk, no-run inning from Brian Bruney, have to moved to 0-6 after an 11-2 loss to a split-squad crew of...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 8, 2010; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
 
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Cristian Guzman, the Nationals' No. 2 hitter

Cristian Guzman can hit for a high average, and last season's numbers show he hits best when he bats second. But batting average is a narrow appraisal of a hitter, especially one who hits high in a lineup. Guzman's general...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 8, 2010; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Chien-Ming Wang is back

Chien-Ming Wang has returned from Arizona, and one way you can tell is things like George Will being interviewed by a Taiwanese reporter by the dugout. Wang will continue the throwing program he was following in Arizona; today, he...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 8, 2010; 10:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Chien-Ming Wang , Jim Riggleman  
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One day away from Stephen Strasburg's Nationals debut

Scott Olsen is going to pitch today for the first time this spring, and it's an important start. Olsen, coming off shoulder surgery to repair a small tear in his labrum, is trying to recapture the mechanics that somewhere...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 8, 2010; 6:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Scott Olsen , Stephen Strasburg  
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Mike Morse, an inside-the-park grand slam, and a reasonably well-played Nationals game

At 6-5, 230 pounds, Mike Morse can sometimes be exactly the slugger he looks like. He launched his second home run of the spring Sunday, a three-run missile that sailed over the left-center fence on a line. In his next...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 7, 2010; 5:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen and Rick Porcello will share a mound Tuesday

The Nationals game Tuesday had already become a spring training extravaganza; pitching coach Steve McCatty joked before the game that he could use 100 extra tickets to the first game Stephen Strasburg will start. Today, the interest level ratcheted even...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 7, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Matt Chico returns, and so do his nerves

As Matt Chico sat in the bullpen along the rightfield line in the first inning today, his heart started pounding. Later, in order to explain the sensation, he tapped his chest and said, "it felt 130 miles per hour." "This...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 7, 2010; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Updates: Nationals at Mets

I'll provide periodic updates throughout the game. ... 3:39: And it's over. The Nationals lose, 6-5, but they most definitely lowered their team ERA from 12.82. 3:23: The Mets scored one in the fifth off of Matt Capps to take...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 7, 2010; 1:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Today's lineup

It's warming up, mercifully, in Port St. Lucie for the Nationals game today against the Mets. Jason Marquis gets his first spring crack as the Nationals trying to lower their team ERA from roughly 1,883.42. Nationals 1. Justin Maxwell, CF...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 7, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Jason Marquis's turn

One of the jobs of a staff anchor is to be a stopper, a salve when everything is going wrong. The Nationals could really use Jason Marquis fulfilling that aspect of his job description for the first two innings today...

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 7, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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