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Injury updates and the return of Ron Villone

Garrett Mock today returned to Nationals Park, where he played catch for the first time since an MRI exam ast week revealed a herniated disk in his neck. Mock first felt the injury late in spring training but assumed it was typical soreness. He underwent regular treatment but saw his control worsen.

"The tightness in my shoulder, I just figured it was something I was working through," Mock said. "For me, it kind of explained a lot. I just figured it was the muscle. It had something to do with me not being consistent.

"I know that on the mound, I didn't change my mind-set. I didn't pitch away from contact. I had everything geared toward attacking hitters. I just couldn't do it."

The injury offers an explanation for why Mock struggled late in spring training. He also pitched poorly in his only start of the regular season, lasting only 3 1/3 innings against the Mets. The Nationals optioned Mock to Class AAA Syracuse two days later, and Mock accompanied the team to Philadelphia to throw his regular bullpen session.

"I told [pitching coach Steve McCatty], 'I can't throw like this,' " Mock said. "I know my velocity. I know I've been throwing the ball all over the place."

Mock underwent an MRI the next day, and the Nationals discovered the disk. The Nationals are unsure exactly when Mock will be able to return. Manager Jim Riggleman estimated "a couple weeks, at least."

"I have no idea," Mock said. "For me, that's the most frustrating part for me to deal with. I want to be on the field. But I'm not going to rush it."

* * *
Mike Morse appears close to heading out to a minor league rehab assignment. Morse ran sprints in the outfield today and "everything went great," Mose said. "I'm really happy right now." Morse has been nursing a strained calf he hurt in the second game of the regular season.

* * *
The Nationals had two minor league injury developments worth noting. First, catcher Derek Norris, the highest ranked position player among Nationals prospects, made his 2010 debut for Class A Potomac yesterday, playing half a game and going 0 for 2. Norris had surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in his hand, and he experienced soreness at the end of spring training. The Nationals know Norris needs at-bats, but "we're going to be cautious," Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said.

The Nationals also activated Class AA Harrisburg infielder Danny Espinosa. He had been on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. "We need him on that club," Harris said. "He kind of sets the tempo with his mentality."

* * *
The Nationals brought back reliever Ron Villone by signing him to a minor league contract and sent him to extended spring training in Viera, Fla. Villone, who led the Nationals in pitching appearances last season, was cut early in the spring.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 19, 2010; 7:53 PM ET
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Next: Willie Harris provides power and, for himself, relief


Ron Villone=grabbing at straws!!

Posted by: dargregmag | April 19, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

For a team thats 7-6 you guys sure are quiet and negative. Give them their "props". These guys are a lot like the 2005 Nats. I guess if you have nothing bad to say you say nothing.

Go Nats!!!!!

Posted by: natsguy | April 19, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

It's extended spring training--he's not even blocking some low-A guy. Cheap insurance. And there may be an opening for a manager in Visalia next year...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 19, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

And I can't speak for anyone else, but watching 2 games while I eat dinner kinda slows down my production in here.
Nothing negative going on tonight--fine job by Stammen, Capps, and of course, Willie Harris. They're playing like a good team now.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 19, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Natsguy. Things have gone as well as can be expected. Of course the "glass half empty folks" will hone in on marquis, But I would counter with Hernandez. We all knew he was a gamer, but who expected this?
The Nats are on the road back to respectability. Keep the faith!!

Posted by: chris88 | April 19, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: tailwagger | April 19, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

After thirteen games last year, the Nats were 3-10. Martis got the win against the Braves, and Hanrahan earned his second save of the season.

Dukes started in center. Kearns was in right. Anderson Hernandez lead off and played second.

I know 7-6 isn't worth getting too excited about. But we're just a half game out of third place. And a game and a half out of the lead. And we have wins than eight other teams in the NL.

This sure is cool.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS; NSA agents Scully&Mulder(Xfiles Div.) were waiting in the Nat's clubhouse along with the Lerner family and team officials to confront Mike Rizzo and Nat's manager Jim Riggleman as to the possible dissapearance or body invasion of one Craig Stammen the Washington Nationals starting pitcher the invesigation was triggered by a phone call by Stammens parents to the Lerner family roughly around 8:30pm Craig's parents became suspicious after Stammens performance against the Colorado Rockies earlier this evening, Craig Stammen's parents are in route to DC as of this story, stay tuned for updates as soon as they are available.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 19, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

That was a fun game to watch. A nice start by Stammen, and Capps finished it off. (I liked his sunflower seed commercial, too.) There was some sparkly defense out there as well. Maybe a bit frisky on the basepaths. And how about Super Willie?

dargramps, are you suggesting that they ought to search for pods in the clubhouse? Don't fall asleep, anyone. That's how they get you! Nah, I like these 2010 Nats. Let's call off the pod search. :-)

And welcome back, Ron.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 19, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm overjoyed that the Nats are a winning ball club so far. And congrats to Stammen for going 8 innings. But, woooh, did the Rockies hit some shots off of him! Thank goodness they were at people. Still, this will build his confidence. Like they say, pitch to contact.

Now, let's hope Olsen does well. Then, the rotation wouldn't look bad at all.

Posted by: nats24 | April 19, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

What's with the lousy attendance? A nice night, albeit a Monday, and less than 12,000? Sad

Posted by: nats24 | April 19, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have made positive strides this year.

Though, its very early in the season, all I wanted to see was progress, and so far the club has delivered.

Good Job Boys, keep up the hard play !

Posted by: dashriprock | April 20, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

What a great win! Stammen came through, although I have to agree that there were some shots hit right at people, but he motored through it all!

And, what a great sports night in DC -- I watched both the Caps and Nats (nice to be back) and was full of cheering and good news on both screens.

Keep it going Nats! Tough matchup tomorrow as de la Rosa is pretty solid, but we need to show we don't lay an egg after every good outing!

Go Nats!

Posted by: mo_dc | April 20, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

One more thing:
I have to agree with natsguy -- this is a quiet night for posting. Curious how many others were watching the Caps and how many are just not very vocal when good things are happening with our team...

Maybe it's just a sign of a Monday night, kinda like the attendance. Even many regulars taking the night off. Maybe we call Monday nights "Marquis Night" on NJ going forward -- we take a breather?

Posted by: mo_dc | April 20, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Different GM, different manager, a couple new/old players = different mindset, different results. We're doing better than the Bosox right now! Even with hiccups, a very, very nice start to this season.

Posted by: samantha7 | April 20, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Stan The Plan is right on track. Attendance on 4/19: 11,000. Lowest ever.

Solution: Bring back Ron Villone. That'll fill the empty seats.

Posted by: JohnRDC | April 20, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm not ready to panic about the attendance just yet. Caps on TV last night for one thing and they really never draw that well in April anyway. Keep winning and they will come, eventually.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 20, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, why are people realistically believing that the Nats are going to contend with the Caps, who are in the playoffs?

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 20, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

I think you may be reading too much into a slow post night, natsguy and mo_dc. Speaking for myself, I tend to be downstairs watching tv when a game's on, rather than upstairs posting on teh internets.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 20, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure I'm not the first one to notice, but the Nats have three quality starts in their last four games. Maybe the pitching isn't as dreadful as the glass-half-empty people have been saying.

Posted by: gilbertbp | April 20, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

On attendance: Bear in mind that since baseball has become much more a season-ticket based business than it once was, early season attendance is largely the product of the previous year's performance.

The assumption is that the season ticket base, around 12,000 last year, is now below 10,000. On a cold Monday night early in the season, with the Caps playing Montreal in the playoffs, I wouldn't have expected many more tickets sold over the season ticket base (and it was clear, watching on TV, that a lot of those season ticket holders weren't there last night despite being counted in the attendance total).

If the club keeps playing well, and especially if it remains in contention through May, attendance will improve significantly. This is one place where Kasten is right: they will get the attendance they deserve. If they contend, this will prove to be a very good baseball town.

Posted by: Meridian1 | April 20, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh, yeah--when the Nats win, it gets real quiet. Where are the guys who were saying yesterday that Stammen needed to go to the bullpen or Syracuse? I'm guessing we won't hear from them today. The best they can come up with is a little smack-talk referencing a 20-year old TV show. Nice. Fact: the Nats are improved and fun to follow.

Posted by: fpcsteve | April 20, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I wish they would put Maxwell in right for a month and see what happens. All this rotating around and shifting up and down is not helping us find out anything.

Posted by: markfromark | April 20, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I would love to read ONE story about how a young pitcher complained about a sore elbow or shoulder and the team checked it out and got him the rest and or recovery necessary.

What I get instead is yet another injured pitcher sent out to get blasted AND just for kicks, get injured worse. Mock was doing fine then boom all of a sudden he isn't. Maybe he's hurt you could ask? Not sending an injured pitcher out there might be useful.

There has to be something wrong organizationally for pitcher after pitcher to NOT report arm trouble and instead go out there hurt.

Posted by: traderkirk | April 20, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

It seems that athletes are competitive sorts who minimize their injuries and attempt to play through them. Remember Pudge's reaction to his back "twinge": "I'm a guy; I don't take myself out of the game." There's also the specter of Wally Pipp hanging over someone who misses a game (get replaced by Lou Gehrig for 2130 contests).

Posted by: bertbkatz | April 20, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Mock is an adult. If he is hurt, he needs to tell someone. The Nats shouldn't have to read his mind.

Posted by: fpcsteve | April 20, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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