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Today's lineup

As the Nationals await their series-opening game against the Rockies and starter Aaron Cook, a few injured Nats are working out in the outfield. Garrett Mock was throwing with trainer Lee Kuntz, and now Mike Morse is running in the outfield as Kuntz oversees. Morse figures he'll learn today when and where he will start his rehab assignment.

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Adam Kennedy, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Ivan Rodriguez, C
7. Willie Harris, RF
8. Ian Desmond, SS
9. Craig Stammen, SP

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 19, 2010; 2:59 PM ET
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Next: Game 13 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Rockies


Why does the phrase "Garrett Mock was throwing..." fill me with a general queasiness?

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | April 19, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Mock throws, you throw up?

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 19, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The Rockies, like the Phillies will knock the crap out of Stammen with their lefty bats if he doesn't pick his spots well tonight.

Be great if the Nats could go 4-3 the rest of the stand...

Posted by: CJArlington | April 19, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Adam, how serious is Mock's injury considered? The link you posted last week made it sound terrible, but I'm not sure what it really means.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 19, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I have a question I'd like to see posed to

I think it's fair to say that there's little if any difference between Guzman and Desmond defensively. Or at least we can say that Desmond is not so much of a defensive superstar that his winning the starter's job was attributable to defense.

So, if we assume this was mostly a move for the sake of offense, why is Guzman good enough to hit in the 2/3 slot, while Desmond is usually in the #8 slot?

It's certainly not a "working the count" issue where you're trying to make the starting pitcher work hard earlier and more often- after all, Desmond sees more pitches than Guzman and has a higher OBP.

And it's not a speed on the basepaths issue- Desmond is way faster than Guz by all accounts.

So ... why? Any chance you could run this one by Riggleman?

Posted by: Fozzie1 | April 19, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"Adam, how serious is Mock's injury considered? The link you posted last week made it sound terrible, but I'm not sure what it really means."

@nervousnatsfan, I asked the same question and got reamed for asking it by the old fogey "I know the baseball prospectus backward and forward and you don't" crowd.

A ruptured disc anywhere is bad ... but in the neck? Its hard to know and so I also asked. I believe that Chris Duncan may have suffered something similar.

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse


Guzman's arm still looks very much suspect at the shortstop position. Noting that AG replaced him at short (Guz moved to right field) fairly early on.

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Periculum, are you saying that the Desmond over Guzman decision was made for defensive purposes? That may be the case, but I was under the impression that he was also the preferred offensive weapon ... and if he's not, he should be.

Posted by: Fozzie1 | April 19, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I like Kennedy hitting second. Let's get a win for Stammen!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | April 19, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I, too, share the general sense of malaise when I read that Mock is throwing. I forgot that he was put on the DL and not sent down to Syracuse.

Although I believe he was able to get an out before giving up 7 earned runs last time around, right?

Posted by: shepdave2003 | April 19, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@Fozzie - -I think your question is a good one, and not answered by peric's response. It's pretty odd that the guy who won the job because of his outstanding spring as a batter hits 8th, while the guy he beat out ends up batting 3rd when Zim is out of the lineup. My guess is that it has to do with not wanting to put too much pressure on Desmond, while Guzman has 10 years of experience. Also, Guzman though the professional way he handled his demotion this year seems to belie the claim that he complained about hitting lower in the lineup, he does have a history of not hitting as well from those lineup spots. Still, I wouldn't mind someone putting the question to Riggleman -- how is it that your super sub is good enough to hit third when he's in, but not to play full time?

At the same time, I'm happy about giving Desmond the opportunity to play (virtually) every day. Maybe part of the question ought to be -- why not make start Guzman the starting second baseman?

Posted by: Section222 | April 19, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Fozzie - Good question
Section222- Good response

Also, Guzman being a switch hitter, and being able to bat lefty against Cook, definitely plays into it.

Posted by: Sunderland | April 19, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Fozzie1 | April 19, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I think that it's a question of not wanting to put too much pressure on the rookie by having him bat second or third.

Posted by: rbpalmer | April 19, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the duplicative response, people. The wonderful WP blog technology didn't allow me to see the earlier responses until I had already posted.

Posted by: rbpalmer | April 19, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I'll say this in Guzman's defense(pardon the pun) he's put the bat on the ball, he's been more than adequate at 2ndbase, and he's hasn't muffed a fly in RF yet,i'll tell you what Guzman a bargain compared to Marquis.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 19, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

@Fozzie1, @sec222

"Periculum, are you saying that the Desmond over Guzman decision was made for defensive purposes? That may be the case, but I was under the impression that he was also the preferred offensive weapon ... and if he's not, he should be."

Into ST Riggleman stated that he would start Guzman at short (in spite of the should surgery issues) and began to use and talk about Desmond as a utilty guy. MIke Rizzo then countered with, not-so-fast, Ian Desmond will be a starting shortstop this year [with the big league club or in the minors].

Guzman's arm I believe led to Riggleman naming Desmond the starter. But then he turned around and said that Guzman would be the "starting utility man". He would still play short, some second and outfield. Not as a late inning replacement ... as a starter. And so far that has been the case.

My take is that there are two different "plans". One for Rizzo, and one for Riggleman. They do not always agree and seem to make "compromises"?

I do not believe that "offense" has all that much to do with Desmond playing. He could just as easily play in right field. Albeit Riggleman has stated that he wanted Justin Maxwell to be the starter there ... from the beginning of ST. I do believe its Guzman's defensive shortcomings, in particular his arm strength, that caused Riggleman to have to compromise from doing what he appears to have preferred: starting Guzman at shortstop batting second. In spite of the poorer OBP/OPS when compared to Desmond.

That's what I've taken from what I've read.

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman himself said, I paraphrase here, "I am stubborn and find it difficult to change. But when you get a bunch of smart guys in the room with different opinions [and the arguments to back them up] I will listen.

Posted by: periculum | April 19, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if Stammen can bounce back from his stinker against the Phillies.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

on Desmond and Guzman...

I think the way they are handling this is fine - you know what you have in Guzman, but you don't know what you have yet in Desmond. Desmond might be the starting shortstop for the next Nationals team to contend, so the right thing to do is to find out by giving him the full-time (or nearly so). I've followed many teams that struggled, and I have to say that the fact that the Nationals are willing to take a chance on an unproven young player is an encouraging sign, as it was with Jesus Flores. Does Desmond have the defensive skills of a starting shortstop? The only way to find out is to play him, and play him consistently enough that he has a chance to get together a bit of a defensive learning curve. It is a bit awkward, because you don't want to throw away the good things Guzman can do, but if they look roughly equal, I think you have to start Desmond. I'd bat Desmond higher up in the order too, but I can understand the argument for hitting him lower. I can't demonstrate that the argument about preserving Desmond's confidence lacks merit, and it certainly seems as if Guzman hits better higher in the order.

Posted by: joeyk1 | April 19, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse


Nice response - I personally like Desmond hitting low in the order, as it lets him get comfortable with MLB pitching in a 'low-pressure' spot in the lineup.

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Oliva gets his hacks in at the plate, doesn't he?

Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: BinM | April 19, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman: "Desmond gets quality at bats but he is going to define himself with the glove".


Posted by: periculum | April 20, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

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