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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 active roster for Syracuse pitcher Scott Olsen, Thursday's starter, but it appears the Nationals sent down Bernadina independent of Olsen's promotion.

Manager Jim Riggleman told Bernadina, a left-handed batter, he was being sent down because the Nationals will face several lefties in the coming days, Bernadina said. That led Bernadina to guess Justin Maxwell, who bats right-handed, will be joining the Nationals in his place, although he was not certain.

In their next four games, the Nationals will face three left-handers -- J.A. Happ of the Phillies Randy Wolf and Doug Davis of the Brewers.

Maxwell struggled through a horrid hitting slump in spring training, but he went 5 for 15 with two doubles and five walks to start the season in Syracuse. On Monday, Maxwell's wife gave birth to a daughter and he left to the team to be with her in Frederick. Maxwell attended the University of Maryland.

The Nationals are expected to send down a reliever to make room for Olsen. After Wednesday's 14-run pummeling of the pitching staff, Riggleman said the Nationals need to "reevaluate" whom to send down in order to make room for Olsen.

In terms of what happened Wednesday night, Jesse English may have helped his cause. English has allowed two earned runs in five innings this year. Wednesday, he allowed four hits while throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Jason Bergmann may have hurt himself. Wednesday night, he surrendered a two-run home run to Shane Victorino. In 2 1/3 innings this season, Bergmann has allowed four earned runs. Bergmann has no options remaining, meaning the Nationals would risk losing him because he has to pass through waivers in order to remain with the organization.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 15, 2010; 12:02 AM ET
Categories:  Justin Maxwell , Scott Olsen  
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Next: For Nationals pitchers, misery loves company

Comments

I cannot argue with the logic of this move. Still, I wish the team would give Bernadina about 10 - 20 starts and then we might finally find out what he's capable of doing at the major league level. I know a lot of people are Maxwell supporters. I've always been a little fonder of Bernadina because of his defence and speed. I think the Nats have to give someone a full time audition if RF and the sooner the better. I don't think much of Guzzie there or any of the other choices they've used so far.

Posted by: grforbes | April 15, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I've got to think Bergmann is the one going down for Olsen

Posted by: jstack34 | April 15, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

AK wrote: "Bergmann has no options remaining, meaning the Nationals would risk losing him because he has to pass through waivers in order to remain with the organization."

This is about the same risk one takes when walking the C&O Canal and one worries about the risk of getting hit by a tsunami.

Bye-bye, Bergie. I hear it's lovely this time of year in SYR. Write when you find work.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | April 15, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Bergmann should write when he finds a pitch opponents can't hit in the cheap seats.

Posted by: pryorcommitments | April 15, 2010 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Who'd pick up Bergmann? Are teams that desperate?

And, if they are, hopefully it'll be a team coming up on the Nationals' schedule!

Posted by: p_chuck | April 15, 2010 4:11 AM | Report abuse

At least Bruney did not win his arbitration case this Spring. At the rate he is showing off his skill set he wont have to worry about winning any other arbitration cases in the future either.

I have to admit that I could not watch the entire game, it was too darn depressing to voluntarily sit through that.

Posted by: driley | April 15, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Did Bernadina even get to take a shower while he was up?

So Maxwell who did nothing in Spring Training and in Syracuse may get called up? What ever happened to earning a spot?

PLEASE BRING DUKES BACK

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 15, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, that just rearranges the deck chairs - honestly, just start Maxwell every game for about 20-30 games and see how he does. If, and I believe this will happen, he still does not cut it you're done with him. It's a crying shame that the Nats are still left with these few options to choose from.

Another big problem is the persistent inability of this pitching staff to throw strikes and get people out. It is institutional at this point in the development of this staff and I think it's going to be very ugly. This has a very good chance of being one of the worst staffs in recent baseball history. I know its only 8 games, but I've seen nothing to indicate any progress, and really have seen a regression from some of the "better" arms like Lannon. Face it, the Nats have a long long way to go - this ain't a 2-3 year turnaround.

Posted by: bendersx6 | April 15, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I like both Bernadina AND Maxwell and I'm sorry we have to send either down. They both play their position with the best of 'em, and when they get on base their speed wreaks havoc with the pitchers.

And I would hate to lose Bergmann because he shows such flashes of truly extraordinary brilliance sometimes, but he continues to have such trouble pitching from the stretch that, well, I just don't know. But English has clearly pitched himself onto the roster and it would be unfair to send him down now because of some other guy's contract issues.

Don't we have some other guy we could demote for Olsen? Bruney, Burnett or Batista, maybe? None of those guys have shown me squat.

I do miss Nick Johnson, though.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | April 15, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Five right fielders, one hurt, two platooning, and two shuffling between AAA and the majors, none of whom can really play the position.

Posted by: markfromark | April 15, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I know that the are trying to field a competitive team and that you can't hold tryouts at the MLB level, but once and for all they need to know what they have. Dump Tavares, put Willie on the bench and platoon Maxwell and Bernadina.

Posted by: sjt1455 | April 15, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Call me a nut but I think that a pregnant wife could be the cause for Maxwell's poor spring?
I have never had a kid but I understand that the last month or so before the baby is born is a cluster ____ on the mind.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 15, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang,,,been a while....WOW. Fergie-you shilling for the F.O.? Thing is, I AGREE with you. At times Bergman looks like a Brandon WEbb-er, well, he has in the past....but only for a few innings. Then the inevitable occurs.And I dig both of our not so young prospective outfielders....but the thing is, when are we gonna stop drinking the kool-aide? And yea, I know, it's only a week in but our collection of 4.5 and 6 starters.....well, you get what you pay for.>Sigh<......I'm SO tired of hoping each night that our starter will "show something" and live up to his potential as an adequate back of the rotation pitcher. Right now, Livo is our #1. I LOVE Lannan but c'mon now-not as our staff ace.I know, I know-Sras is coming. But no matter how good his "make up"....a lot to put on a rookie when he arrives. Sure would be nice if we had Heyward in right field instead of Detwieler on the DL, huh?(14th pick in the draft we took Ross at 7).
And I do believe Randy St Claire is the pitching coach for the Marlins....just sayin'...
But all in all, 3-5 is SO much more palatable than 1-7!
Go Nats!!

Posted by: zendo | April 15, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Call me a nut but I think that a pregnant wife could be the cause for Maxwell's poor spring?
I have never had a kid but I understand that the last month or so before the baby is born is a cluster ____ on the mind.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 15, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Dibble was going off last night on how poorly (ie dumb) our pitchers are strategically. Example, Clippard was starting batters with his breaking pitch, which Dib called his "out" pitch, instead of starting with his #1 pitch, getting a couple strikes, THEN using the out pitch to get the batter chasing.

I'm beginning to wonder if our pitchers, the young ones, are simply too hard headed and don't listen to the coaching, or if the pitching coaches are teaching poorly? Seems to me, if Livan can throw no harder than 81 and last 7 innings, and be good doing it, then all our kids need to be paying serious attention to how he "works".

That or tell them they are not allowed to throw pitches other than their #1/2 before getting 2 strikes. and if they do, you pull them immediately, or better, make than do 5 laps of the field immediately!

Posted by: Rogueone | April 15, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Call me a nut but I think that a pregnant wife could be the cause for Maxwell's poor spring?
I have never had a kid but I understand that the last month or so before the baby is born is a cluster ____ on the mind.

Posted by: alex35332 | April 15, 2010 9:32 AM
______________________________________

I'm the father of two kids, so I suppose this makes me quealified...Unless he was the one giving birth (and if he WAS, he's in the wrong business) or if there was some form of complication (doesn't seem probable, as nothing was mentioned), I would say it was just a case of not playing well.

I want to see J Max do well as much as the next Nats Fan (I'm a Sherwood Alum to boot), but he may be one of those tweeners that can tear up minor league pitching (if 5 for 15 qualifies as "tearing up"), but gets eaten alive by major league pitchers. Time will tell.

I do like the idea of giving him 25-30 games to make the grade or have the team cut ties with him.

Posted by: TimDz | April 15, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

-Bergmann should be DFA'd immediatly, there is zero upside to this guy.

-The two Willies are not everyday players way can't management just admit it. Let Maxwell and Bernadina fight it out and then go from there.

-The pitching is just horrid (both starters and bullpen).

Dibbs on MLB Network XM175 made it the point very clear this AM. The Nats pitchers have let the Phillies get in their heads. They don't attack the strike zone because they have no confidence. This results in nibbling at the corners, showing all your stuff to one batter and never being able to recover. You know what? Dibbs is right! This has been an on going proble with this team now for 3 years!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 15, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Who knows about this staff i don't know about dumb but i think Dibb's has a point about the Phil's being in their head and that is where your pitching coach comes in, it's up to McCatty to have them mentally prepared to face them but to be frank is the talent there? I like Justin Maxwell but another poster thought that his wife's pregnancy might have led to Justin having a poor spring that's a stretch in my book, i say give Bernadina a shot, hell he can't be any worse then what we've seen so far and for the last time what's the link to the Syracuse web site?(thanks)

Posted by: dargregmag | April 15, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Quoth sjt1455: "I know that the are trying to field a competitive team and that you can't hold tryouts at the MLB level"

The killer B's (Batista, Burnett, Bruney, and Bergmann) of our bullpen have ERA's of 8.53, 9.0, 13.5, and 15.47 respectively. Each of them has appeared in four games, so it's not like any of those are a single bad outing. Is there any reason, other than wanting to pretend that Storen would not be the best guy in the pen if they didn't have to ice his arbitration clock, why things could get any worse if we start "holding tryouts"?

Meanwhile, our starters have complied so few innings that you have to wonder whether they're thinking about going with a seven man rotation, with numbers 4-7 sharing a single roster slot and being sent back down after each start so they can keep 8 relievers on the major league roster. (You need a few extras to pull this off because of the 10 day turnaround on recalling players you send down.) Until we start getting more innings from the starters, I'm not sure it's safe to drop down to seven arms in the bullpen.

Posted by: adbiosec | April 15, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

tough night last night.

would have been nice if Stammen had put down the bunt and advanced the runner instead of fouling of the bunt on strike 3 so including his awful pitching start, he did nothing to help the cause...nice guy but this has to stop.

morgan leads off with a single and harris promptly bounces into a double play...and now they are thinking about bringing up maxwell who can't hit major league pitching..he can't....this has to stop.

dunn needs to get off his ass and start contributing...this team is still the team that lost 103 games last year and will remain so...its certainly not good enough for him to have an off year.

i sure hope Olson has a good start today...we haven't found anybody who can pitch against the Phillies...just throw a good game, and give the team a chance.

Storen will be up shortly - the bullpen can't get anybody out when it needs to.

Posted by: outrbnksm | April 15, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully after this they will stop giving Maxwell more chances ...

Posted by: periculum | April 15, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty disgusting that none of the relief pitchers can or will throw strikes.

As far as Maxwell, Bernadina, Harris, Taveres, Guzman or right field is concerned, doesn't this prove how much the team -- front office and players -- must have wanted to get rid of Dukes?

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | April 15, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell IMO has the most potential and upside at the OF position of any of the others. He can play all three outfield positions, can make the amazing play with his height, can steal bases and can hit for power. His power is something that none of the others have. You have to think that someone has smart as he is will be patient enough to get walks as well, leading to a better batting average. Just got to give him fulltime play.

Posted by: ssktigers | April 15, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell IMO has the most potential and upside at the OF position of any of the others. He can play all three outfield positions, can make the amazing play with his height, can steal bases and can hit for power. His power is something that none of the others have. You have to think that someone has smart as he is will be patient enough to get walks as well, leading to a better batting average. Just got to give him fulltime play.

Posted by: ssktigers | April 15, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell IMO has the most potential and upside at the OF position of any of the others. He can play all three outfield positions, can make the amazing play with his height, can steal bases and can hit for power. His power is something that none of the others have. You have to think that someone has smart as he is will be patient enough to get walks as well, leading to a better batting average. Just got to give him fulltime play.

Posted by: ssktigers | April 15, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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