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Miguel Batista rounds out the Nationals bullpen

With opening day near and roster decisions looming, the Nationals have a firm handle on which pitchers will comprise their bullpen when the season begins. Matt Capps, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Jason Bergmann are all clear-cut choices. Veteran right-hander Miguel Batista may fit into that category, too.

Since the Nationlas plan to use those five pitchers for short bursts, they need to choose a long reliever. The likely candidate is Batista, who pitched in 56 games as a reliever last year and posted a 4.04 ERA and a 1.654 WHIP.

"Right now, it would look Batista would have a good chance to fill that role," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "We need somebody there who can give us some length in the bullpen. Those guys are primarily three- or four- or five-out guys."

Batista has allowed six runs on 12 hits and four walks in 9 2/3 innings this spring, but Riggleman judges Batista more from his experience than his spring. Riggleman described him as "a guy with a rubber arm." Last year, Batista pitched often and in various roles, eating up innings of entering for a specific situation.

"He's not been as sharp as we know he can be," Riggleman said. "For myself, I go on the track record of a long season."

The Nationals may still begin the season with 11 pitches and a six-man bullpen. If they stick to seven relievers, then left-hander Jesse English, who has never pitched above Class AA, and veteran right-hander Tyler Walker will vie for the final spot.

"I'm pretty comfortable with those arms we have there," Riggleman said. "I think there's a lot of good choices there."

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 26, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
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Bergmann hasn't exactly impressed this Spring. And although he's had flashes of competence in the past, after 5 years of back and forth between DC and the minor leagues, I would think its time to find someone else.


Posted by: arlingtontwb | March 26, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I think before long that MacDougal and Storen will push out guys who aren't performing or we can trade. Bergmann and Batista are the most likely candidates to go.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | March 26, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Bergmann needs to be released. No hope there!!!! Storen could replace him NOW!!!!

Posted by: KGG769 | March 26, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The argument for Bergmann is the same as the argument against him. He's pretty reliably tolerable. There are flashes of brilliance that never quite materialize into a trend, but mostly it's good and bad days hovering around the mean.

With all the craziness we've seen this spring, let's go into the season with at least one reliably middle-of-the-road pitcher.

Posted by: Section506 | March 26, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Seems strange that you would play Pudge in a day game after a night game in spring training.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | March 26, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Agreeing with SCNatsFan that Bergmann is on a short leash. He's out of options, which may be part of why he's made the roster, but I'm not sure anyone else would claim him if we sent him down.
But there's no point in sending him down. He either needs to produce or be released.

He actually pitched quite reasonably as a starter in 2007.(4.45 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, .231 BAA).
He wasn't much good in 2008 or 2009, his first year full time in the bullpen, although his September was pretty effective.
We have enough AAAA arms in Syracuse that it doesn't make sense to keep him much longer unless he really produces.

And yes, KGG, Storen should have made the team. The way he jumped in quickly last year, did everything the team wanted and could have hoped for, it makes no sense to send him back to AA. Especially considering he owned AA during his brief stint there last year (no runs allowed, 9 saves, 3 hits and 6 walks in 12 innings, .077 BAA).

Posted by: Sunderland | March 26, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"I think there's a lot of good choices there."

Oh,yeah. Just peachy keen choices.

Posted by: JohnRDC | March 26, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

From a baseball perspective, Storen and SS should be here.

From a business perspective, both should be right where they are for 3 months.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | March 26, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

What about MacDougal? Isn't he a better option for right now than Walker or English?

Posted by: hapster | March 26, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Jesse English is left-handed and younger. MacDougal is right handed. You keep English first, then MacDougal but yes over Tyler Walker.

Posted by: periculum | March 26, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

From a baseball perspective Cristan Guzman should be unceremoniously released just like Dukes. Bad attitude, weak shoulder, poor range and fielding, age.

From a business perspective there is that matter of 8 million dollars so Guzman stays, and gets coddled.

Posted by: periculum | March 26, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

SCNatsFan, I feel differently about Storen's case than Strasburg's. He signed day 1, reported day 2, doing exactly what the Nat's wanted and did it great.
If they want other draftees to behave the same way, then reward him.
Strasburg earned his 2009 money doing close to nothing.
Storen earned his in 3 different leagues.

For baseball reasons, yes, they both deserve to be here.

And because recognizing and rewarding Storen's choices and attitude and effort and results is the right way to develop a team and a winning attitude, having Storen here now is the right business decision as well.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 26, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

SCNat/Sunderland, I used to be in the "keep Storen down on the farm until June, just like Strasburg" camp, until Chris Needham convinced me the two cases really are different. Not because Storen has paid his dues or is owed anything but because relievers are much less valuable than starters.

So if Storen is ready for major league batters now, and it sure looks like he is, I'd say "bring him on."

Posted by: Section222 | March 26, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Bergmann has got to go, i really don't want to see this guy on the 25. Seems to me we have given him ample chances but he has never shown anything outstanding. Walker should not be mentioned either, havent liked the way he has pitched. I would take Macdougal or English over Walker and Bergmann. I still would like to be the team that has MacDougal's rights once he figures out how to control that fastball (if he ever does). Either way Storen comes up May/June and pushes whoever is at the bottom of the totem pole out.

Posted by: Stu27 | March 26, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Has there been any hint anywhere that the Nats might be interested in Chad Gaudin, who was released by the Yankees very recently? If not, why not?

In the meantime, be nice about Bergmann. He's the only Nat ever to join us on this blog.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 26, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

2009 OPS against right-hand hitters from likely bullpen pitchers:

Burnett (Nats only) 524
Batista 676
McDougal 698
Bergmann 728
Capps 782
Bruney 810
Clippard 860 (I was surprised too)

Bergmann was reasonably effective when spotted in 1 IP or less in the right situations. Are there better pitchers out there for this role? Yes. Would they work for what the Lerners would pay? Probably not. But I agree that his job security may not be high when Storen is called up.

Posted by: chiefwj | March 26, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Stu27, JohninMPLS, arlingtontwb and others in their asserting that Bergy has got to go. I understand he's a great guy, et al. But I'm sick of watching him throw 420-foot pitches.

Nine days from Opening Day: When is StanK going to open up single game tix for April 5? Or does he go on his WIP "Come on Down Tour" first?

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | March 26, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Media Alert...Media Alert

StanK scheduled to appear on WIP next Tuesday afternoon. StanKs pitch to Philadelphia "Lots of good seats available, we are planning to provide ground transportation to get those who would rather drink then drive" Buses will be leaving 17th and Patterson every 30 minutes starting at 8, with the last one departing at 1000. For those planning to bring the wife and kids we will provide shuttle bus service during the game to the Tidal Basin so that they can ohh and ahh at the Cherry Blossums. Thanks STANK!

For the life of me people, to even consider MacDougal, Bergmann and Batista all in the same sentence and then associate that to a ML caliber bullpen team is crazy talk. Face facts, this team along w/the Pittsburgh Pirates will be almost unwatchable. Don't matter much here in DC, with Lord Stanley waiting to visit and Redskins 24X7X365 no one will notice much anyway!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 26, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Stan K is recruiting drunk Philly Fans? Oh Joy!

Storen is too young to pitch in the majors! Relievers stress their arms much more so than starters; they get up warm up, sit down, the manager panics and in they come not really ready. Arms get sore or worse if they have not fully matured. Bring him up next year at the earliest even though the current bullpen is only marginally better than last springs. History fully shows that relievers last longer if they mature first. Remember the Oriole's Olson? 21 year old with 95mph fastball and a killer curve; burned out in 18 months or less.

What about that guy they found in the Mexican Winter League, Martin? I believe he will start off at AA with Storen and SS. They say he throws in the mid-90s with movement. It is time the Nats get lucky with at least one of their recruits.

SS makes his first ML start in early June?

Posted by: MultiverseJoe | March 27, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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