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Nats contemplate moves to add position players

The Washington Nationals have had a number of nagging injuries that have limited what Manager Jim Riggleman can do with his bench. As a result, he said that the organization was considering sending down some relief pitchers in order to get more position players.

"It's a thought, that's for sure," Riggleman said Monday before the Nationals lost to the Chicago Cubs in 10 innings. "You've got some off days coming up so you can possibly operate with less pitchers with the off days coming up. We've been a little strapped with how we can us about bench, but until we have to do that, we wont do it."

The day-to-day injury concerns for the Nationals include: third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's sore right hamstring, which has kept him out of the starting lineup for the past five games; Willie Harris's bruised right knee, which has limited his mobility and kept him out of the starting lineup; and Ivan Rodriguez's tight lower back, which kept him out of the starting lineup as a late scratch on Monday.

Washington does not exactly have a wealth of relief pitchers it can consistently rely on; it has lately looked to Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps, but Riggleman has said he hoped to utilize more of his bullpen.

Yet with an off day on Thursday following their third game in Chicago, the Nationals have some extra time to rest their relievers, which could make this a good time to shuffle around the roster in order to give Riggleman more options with additional position players.

"We'd like to give these guys an opportunity to get healthy," Riggleman said of his sideline starters. "If it doesn't happen sooner or later, though, we might have to make a move."


On Monday, Nationals reliever Brian Burney walked Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez on four pitches to give Chicago a 4-3 win in 10 innings.

What? You say you missed some of Washington's opening game against Chicago? As Dan Steinberg writes, MASN lost its television feed of the game.


Rochester 9, Syracuse 6: Pete Orr went 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored. Also, Eric Bruntlett went 2 for 3.

Harrisburg was postponed at Reading because of rain.

Hagerstown was postponed at Delmarva because of rain.


Wanted: More quality relievers, writes Nats Insider.

The Nationals showed fight on Monday, but it simply wasn't enough as the Cubs walked (get it?) to the win.

And Federal Baseball has a graph to help chart the National's 20th game of the season.

By Mark Viera  |  April 27, 2010; 8:55 AM ET
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez , Jim Riggleman , Ryan Zimmerman  
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Next: Nationals battled heavy wind in Chicago


I watched and/or listened (MASN video crapped out but Carpenter and Dibble were entertaining in reverting to their radio days)to that game, and there was quite a bit of bad play all around. Bad pitching by the first and last pitchers, bad defense by more than one player, and failure to score guys in position. All teams have bad days, and this was one of ours.

It is early for injury bugs to bite, but we seem to have that problem too. If someone needs to go down to provide bench strength, there are certainly some candidates to be found.

Posted by: NatsFly | April 27, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

The first question might be what is the status of the two bench players on the 15-DL (Morse & Coste). If either (or both) of them are close to ready, that would clear up the depth issues.

Posted by: BinM | April 27, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

We're not going to carry 3 catchers, that's of no help. And I doubt Rizzo/Riggleman is even considering sending Pudge to the DL, so Coste is of no help.

And if we're going to bring up an outfielder, I'd prefer the one who's hitting .390 or whatever in SYR, and plays better defense than Morse, Bernadina.

Not sure why we can't put Willie Harris on the DL, and replace his left-handed bat with Bernadina's left-handed bat (dmacman's suggestion yesterday morning).

Posted by: Sunderland | April 27, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland - Agreed. What were they waiting for on Bernadina? He should have been in Chicago on Sunday night!

Willy Taveras just isn't getting on base so all that speed does nothing for you if you can't get on base, unless he is a designated pinch runner and there is no room on the bench for a limited role player.

So Mike Morse replaces Willy Taveras and Roger Bernadina replaces Willie Harris.

How bad is Pudge? Do you place him on the 15 day?

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 27, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Of course, back before the days of bloated pitching staffs, it was normal to carry 10 pitchers and 15 position players. Bench depth wasn't a problem.

I'm waiting for the day when teams have 9 position players and 16 pitchers.

Posted by: deMille_Ondefloss | April 27, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Makes sense to send a reliever down. Walker and Burnett went six days without an appearance before last night, and English is on day 7 and counting.

This luxury is certainly something new around here - and something for which we can thank Livo, I believe.

I did not get to listen to the game last night, but it sounds like Lannan struggled a bit and yet still made it through six and kept the team in a position to win.

Posted by: lowcountry | April 27, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Give Walker and Brunley bus fare and a PBJ sandwich for the ride to Syracuse.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 27, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Then again, maybe Brunley should walk. He's so good at it.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 27, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Bruney. Where did the L came from? L if I know.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 27, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

If I'm not mistaken, the L in "Bruney" came from last night's performance.

Posted by: InTheCheapSeats | April 27, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I think the L came from about 10:50 last night, Eastern Time, on a 3-0 count.

Posted by: Section506 | April 27, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Curse you, Cheap Seats!!!!

Posted by: Section506 | April 27, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Then it should be Brunwwwey

Posted by: SCNatsFan | April 27, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Or, depending on your scorekeeping convention, BBBBBBruney.

Posted by: seamhed | April 27, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking for better results tonight with Livo pitching and both Clippard and Capps available. Although Capps history against the Cubs isn't shining, this is a different year with hopefully different results, that is unless Livo manages a complete game.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 27, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

In June when SS and Drew show will be Storen and Clippard in the 7 and 8 when it counts, and Capp to close...this year. Burnett, Walker and Bruney when it doesn't matter...and the rest of doesn't matter...the Nats are still going to lose 80 games or so, and there will be a need for people to pitch man innings in meaningless the guys who are getting the job done for the games that need to be won.

Posted by: outrbnksm | April 28, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

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