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Nationals Journal: April 11, 2010 - April 17, 2010

On Zimmerman's return, Maxwell's future and a fresh bullpen

The Washington Nationals just completed an 8-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers to register a winning record (6-5) for the first time since April 4, 2008. The story from Saturday's game focused on the No. 7, No. 8 and No....

By Zach Berman  |  April 17, 2010; 5:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Justin Maxwell , Livan Hernandez , Ryan Zimmerman  | Tags: Jim Riggleman, Justin Maxwell, Miguel Batista, Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Walker, Washington Nationals, livan hernandez  
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Riggleman talks about Capps's availability

Washington Nationals closer Matt Capps has pitched two consecutive days, including a five-out save on Thursday and a two-out save on Friday. If the Nationals are in a save situation in the ninth inning of Saturday's game against the Milwaukee...

By Zach Berman  |  April 17, 2010; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Tags: Jim Riggleman, Matt Capps, Washington Nationals  
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Game 11 discussion thread

Sorry I did not create this Friday evening, but hopefully Saturday's game will give you something to discuss. Ryan Zimmerman is in the lineup, Adam Dunn is back after his ejection on Friday and the Nationals try to climb over...

By Zach Berman  |  April 17, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
 
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Why Ryan Zimmerman is back in the lineup

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit a routine ground ball while pinch hitting in the eighth inning of Friday's win over the Milwaukee Brewers and ran hard down the first base line. Manager Jim Riggleman did not want Zimmerman...

By Zach Berman  |  April 17, 2010; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Tags: Jim Riggleman, Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals  
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Ryan Zimmerman returns, and the rest of Saturday's lineups

Good morning from Nationals Park. I need to get down to clubhouse, but wanted to give you the Nationals lineup right away. Ryan Zimmerman has returned to the starting lineup. Washington Nationals (5-5) 1. Nyjer Morgan CF 2. Cristian Guzman...

By Zach Berman  |  April 17, 2010; 9:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Washington Nationals rally past Milwaukee Brewers, 5-3

From print editions of The Post: It is only 10 games into the season, but the Washington Nationals already reached a benchmark that eluded the franchise in recent years. They do not have a losing record, which had occurred through...

By Zach Berman  |  April 17, 2010; 12:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  John Lannan  
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Stephen Strasburg dominates in rain-shortened home debut with Harrisburg

From print editions of The Post: HARRISBURG, PA. -- After the 130-minute rain delay at the outset and the additional 21-minute delay caused by a power surge -- but before the second, 65-minute rain delay that sent the bulk of...

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 17, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Strasburg live-blog: Welcome to Harrisburg, kid

We're settling in for a long night at newly refurbished Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg, where Stephen Strasburg is set to make his home debut for the Senators against the New Britain Rock Cats. The tarp is currently on the...

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 16, 2010; 6:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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More on Ivan Rodriguez's night off

Considering the Washington Nationals play a night game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday and a day game on Saturday, Ivan Rodriguez was going to receive an off day for one of the games, as often happens with catchers. But...

By Zach Berman  |  April 16, 2010; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Tags: Ivan Rodriguez, Jim Riggleman, Washington Nationals, Wil Nieves  
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Ryan Zimmerman out of lineup again; no timetable for return

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman missed his fifth consecutive start Friday with hamstring tightness suffered April 10 against the New York Mets. Zimmerman entered Thursday's win over the Philadelphia Phillies as a pinch hitter and hit a game-winning home...

By Zach Berman  |  April 16, 2010; 6:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags: Jim Riggleman, Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals  
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Today's lineups

Ryan Zimmerman, despite yesterday's pinch-hit home run, remains out of the Nationals lineup. Also, Ivan Rodriguez gets a day off. (The Nationals, for what it's worth, are 2-0 when Wil Nieves starts this year.) Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2....

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 16, 2010; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Another save, another adventure for Matt Capps

If April has taught us anything about Matt Capps, it's that he turns his outings into adventures and then lives to tell about it. He has saved all four Nationals wins and has yet to surrender a run surrendered just...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 16, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez , Jim Riggleman , Matt Capps , Pitching rotation , Ryan Zimmerman , Scott Olsen  | Tags: Chase Utley, Ivan Rodriguez, Jayson Werth, Matt Capps, Nationals, Nationals Phillies, Nationals baseball, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, Shane Victorino, Washington Nationals, Washington Nationals baseball, washington nationals  
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Free of the Phillies, the Nationals head home

The Nationals' exhilarating, 7-5 victory today over the Phillies may run neck-and-neck with another a source of happiness for the Nationals. They could flee Citizens Bank Park and bid farewell to the Phillies. They won't play, see or even think...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 8:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Jim Riggleman , Ryan Zimmerman  
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Justin Maxwell's big week

Justin Maxwell sat next to Ian Desmond this morning in the Nationals clubhouse, finally a chance to relax. "Expect me to get hot," Desmond joked. "Maxwell's my boy." They both bragged about their prowess when they played together in Class...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 3:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Game 9 discussion thread: Nationals at Phillies

The Nationals will play their fourth straight game without Ryan Zimmerman in the starting lineup. He has already not played in four days, but Zimmerman brushed off any thought of going on the disabled list. While Manager Jim Riggleman said...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 3:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (104)
 
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Jason Bergmann designated for assignment

To make room for starting pitcher Scott Olsen, the Nationals today designated relief pitcher Jason Bergmann for assignment. In an effort to improve their shaky bullpen, the Nationals potentially cut ties with a pitcher who has been with the organization...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Nationals place Garrett Mock on the disabled list

The Nationals placed pitcher Garrett Mock on the 15-day disabled list with a nerve injury in his neck that was discovered after they sent him to the minors, thereby voiding the option and keeping Mock on the major league roster....

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Nationals pitching and the wrong kind of change

I don't know what the exact point of this post is, other than to add some sort of perspective to what's going on with the Nationals pitching staff. Like any stat at this time of the season, the disclaimer is...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Today's lineups, neither of which includes Ryan Zimmerman

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman remains out of the lineup for the fourth consecutive game. He hasn't played in five days, so the disabled list seems to be becoming a real possibility. Oh, and Justin Maxwell is starting in right field,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 11:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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For Nationals pitchers, misery loves company

The Nationals have walked 44 batters in eight games, a figure Manager Jim Riggleman said is "not acceptable." It is also not contained. Almost the entire Nationals staff has been prone to free passes. Tyler Walker hasn't walked anyone, Jesse...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 8:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Roger Bernadina sent down, Justin Maxwell coming up?

The Nationals optioned outfielder Roger Bernadina to Class AAA Syracuse after their 14-7 loss to the Phillies, the first of multiple moves the Nationals plan to make before Thursday night's game. The Nationals already needed to clear space on their...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 12:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Justin Maxwell , Scott Olsen  
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Game 8 discussion thread: Nationals at Phillies

Before the game today, some of the Nationals were watching the Red Sox-Twins game. Victor Martinez singled to right field, and Michael Cuddyer tried to throw out Martinez at first, forcing him to slide in just safe for what seemed...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 14, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
 
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Scott Olsen's turn, Ian Desmond's day off, Jason Marquis's struggles

Scott Olsen, as planned, will be called up from Class AAA Syracuse and start tomorrow's game. The Nationals will send down a reliever to make room for him, a decision they will announce after tonight's game. That means tonight will...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 14, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Pat Listach was not amused by the Phillie Phanatic

On Monday, Nationals third base coach Pat Listach joined a long line of players and coaches made into a foil by the Phillie Phanatic. For Listach, it happened at the wrong time, and Listach spoke with a member of...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 14, 2010; 6:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Tags: Pat Listach, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillie Phanatic, Washington Nationals  
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Ryan Zimmerman to miss third straight game

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will miss his third consecutive game Wednesday because of the same hamstring tightness that forced him from Saturday's game in New York. The Nationals are still treating the injury as a minor ailment. Zimmerman had hoped...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 14, 2010; 5:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Tags: Hamstring, Jim Riggleman, Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals, injury  
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Today's lineups

The Nationals will play without Ryan Zimmerman for the third straight game. Zimmerman was expected to return today after using Tuesday's day off, so his not being in the lineup is initially a little troubling. Also, shortstop Ian Desmond gets...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 14, 2010; 3:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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On patience, Ryan Howard and a strange Nationals trend

While heading to the park and waiting for Kendrick-Stammen II, three quick thoughts: -The Nationals should take Adam Dunn's lead in terms of patience at the plate. The Nationals have seen 3.72 pitches per plate appearance, 25th in the majors....

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 14, 2010; 1:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Deck McGuire among top college pitchers available with No. 1 pick

If the Washington Nationals bypass junior-college catcher Bryce Harper in June's draft and select a college pitcher with the top overall selection, one of the logical names in discussion will be Georgia Tech right-handed pitcher Deck McGuire. The Richmond native...

By Zach Berman  |  April 14, 2010; 10:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Tags: Deck McGuire, Draft  
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Josh Willingham wants to stay a while

In today's birdcage liner, I wrote about Adam Dunn, the most prominent National off to a light-hitting start. Not all of them, though, have stumbled out of the gate. Josh Willingham certainly hasn't. Again, it's important to realize how inconsequential...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 14, 2010; 8:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Drafting Bryce Harper not 'etched in stone'

Catcher Bryce Harper, certainly the most well-know amateur baseball player in the world, might also be the best. The Nationals may very well take the ultra-hyped, ultra-talented 17-year-old with the first overall pick of June's First-Year Player Draft. But, contrary...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 13, 2010; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
 
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The best Nats pitching prospect I saw in Altoona

The 23 members of the Class AA Harrisburg Senators who are not named Stephen Strasburg have been told countless times -- by their coaches, the Nationals' player-development bosses and (presumably) their agents -- to treat the intense spotlight focused on...

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 13, 2010; 11:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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The Nationals' slow offensive start

Once his team joined him in the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, Manager Jim Riggleman had a message for his players. "We haven't got started yet," he said. Riggleman told them he liked their intensity and the way they...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 13, 2010; 9:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
 
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Tracee Hamilton to discuss the Nats during First Things First

The Nationals will be the feature topic for Tracee Hamilton's daily chat at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Here's a sample: After a week the Nationals are 3-4, not a surprising start. However, Jason Marquis, one of the Nats' biggest...

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  April 12, 2010; 10:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Ivan Rodriguez's bad throw the result of a bad back

Ivan Rodriguez's bad throw in the fifth inning had less to do with his decision-making and more to do with a spasm in his back.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 12, 2010; 8:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
 
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Game 7 discussion thread: Nationals at Phillies

The introductions have finished at opening day for Citizen's Bank Ballpark. The Phillies fans, in my estimation, were actually less rude to Nationals players and staff than they were at Nationals Park. The Nationals are trying to get above .500...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 12, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (106)
 
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Ryan Zimmerman's status, etc.

Ryan Zimmerman is out of the lineup today still aiming for a return Wednesday as he heals his sore left hamstring. He has not yet pushed it, not even running since he left Saturday's game in the sixth inning. The...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 12, 2010; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Looks like Jermaine Dye won't be a National

Contract discussions between free agent outfielder Jermaine Dye and the Nationals that began in mid-March have ended without a deal being struck, and any future conversation between the sides appears unlikely, according to a source. The Nationals and Dye's camp...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 12, 2010; 2:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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An update on Jesus Flores

After visiting with a doctor from Dr. James Andrews's team in Viera, Fla., catcher Jesus Flores was cleared to begin a throwing program tomorrow, the most tangible improvement yet in his rehab from last fall's shoulder surgery. "That's a good...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 12, 2010; 2:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Today's lineups

Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2. Willy Taveras, RF 3. Cristian Guzman, 2B 4. Adam Dunn, 1B 5. Josh Willingham, LF 6. Ian Desmond, SS 7. Ivan Rodriguez, C 8. Adam Kennedy, 3B 9. Jason Marquis, SP Phillies 1. Jimmy...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 12, 2010; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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A deeper examination of Strasburg's debut

I'm back from Altoona, where I was fortunate enough to witness Stephen Strasburg's minor-league debut for the Harrisburg Senators on Sunday aftrernoon. By now, you know all about his five-inning, 82-pitch outing against the Altoona Curve (the Class AA affiliate...

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 12, 2010; 10:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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On to Philadelphia

The Nationals have a pretty good feel about them right now. The effect of back-to-back wins, perhaps especially when an old master flies in from Miami and slings seven scoreless, can be pretty vast. Just Saturday morning they were 1-3...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 12, 2010; 9:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Strasburg live-blog: This time it counts

Greetings from Blair County Ballpark in Altoona, Pa., which today will play host to some 7,000 fans, 74 credentialed media members, two representatives of the Nationals' front office and 48 players of the Harrisburg Senators and Altoona Curve -- one...

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 11, 2010; 1:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Tags: Baseball field, Eastern League, Games played, Harrisburg Senators, Right fielder, Run batted in, Stephen Strasburg, sport  
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Game 6 discussion thread: Nationals at Mets

At about 10:35 this morning, Livan Hernandez walked into the clubhouse for the first time this year, smiling and carefree, and received handshakes and hugs as he walked around the room. His first start is a tough task, matched up...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 11, 2010; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
 
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Ryan Zimmerman out until Wednesday, Mike Morse on the DL

Ryan Zimmerman is out of the lineup today with a tight left hamstring and he will not return until Wednesday, a date selected in order to utilize the Nationals' day off Tuesday. Zimmerman left Saturday's game in the sixth inning...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 11, 2010; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Scott Olsen will replace Garrett Mock in the Nationals rotation

The Nationals chose Garrett Mock as their final starter to begin the season because, as General Manager Mike Rizzo at the time, "We need to see if this guy is a legitimate major league starting pitcher." It took the Nationals...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 11, 2010; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Lineups on a busy morning

Soon, I'll have fully detailed posts on the many happenings this morning: The Nationals optioned Garrett Mock to Class AAA Syracuse in order to make room for Livan Hernandez. Scott Olsen will start Thursday in Philadelphia. The Nationals placed Mike...

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 11, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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