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Nationals Journal: May 16, 2010 - May 22, 2010

Ivan Rodriguez says back injury no cause for worry

Washington Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez left today's 7-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park with soreness in his lower back but said he had no doubts he would be back in the lineup soon, perhaps when the team...

By Gene Wang  |  May 22, 2010; 11:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez  
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Scott Olsen sent to 15-day DL

Washingtion Nationals pitcher Scott Olsen was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of soreness around his left shoulder, the team announced immediately after a 7-6 victory over Baltimore tonight at Nationals Park. The move was revealed only hours after...

By Gene Wang  |  May 22, 2010; 9:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Pitching rotation , Scott Olsen  
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Game 44 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Orioles

Here are your lineups for today: Nationals Nyjer Morgan, CF Cristian Guzman, SS Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Adam Dunn, 1B Josh Willingham, LF Ivan Rodriguez, C Adam Kennedy, 2B Roger Bernadina, RF Craig Stammen, RHP Orioles Corey Patterson, LF Nick Markakis,...

By Gene Wang  |  May 22, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Derek Norris 'doing well'

After being hospitalized last night following being hit in the head by a pitch, Class A Potomac catcher Derek Norris is "doing well," Nationals director player of development Doug Harris said. "His vitals are good," Harris said. "All the tests...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 22, 2010; 3:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Scott Olsen to miss next start

Washingtion Nationals pitcher Scott Olsen is scheduled to miss his next turn in the rotation because of soreness around his left shoulder, according to Manager Jim Riggleman, and there appears at least a chance he could be out even longer....

By Gene Wang  |  May 22, 2010; 2:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Pitching rotation , Scott Olsen  
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Miguel Batista can take the abuse

Late Thursday night, Steve McCatty asked Miguel Batista if he would be able to pitch Friday. Batista had thrown two innings. For most pitchers, that would mean an ensuing day off. Batista just shrugged. "Absolutely," he said. Batista has...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 22, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  bullpen  
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Derek Norris hit on head, taken to hospital

Class A Potomac catcher Derek Norris was taken to the hospital Friday after being hit on the head by a pitch, according to a release from Potomac. Norris lay motionless on the field in Salem, Va. for nearly 10 minutes...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 22, 2010; 12:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Scott Olsen leaves game with shoulder injury

Scott Olsen left tonight's game early because of tightness in his left shoulder. Olsen, who underwent surgery last year to repair a torn labrum in left shoulder, lasted only three innings and 64 pitches against the Baltimore Orioles. He allowed...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 21, 2010; 8:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Brian Bruney clears waivers, will refuse assignment [UPDATED]

Having cleared waivers earlier this week, reliever Brian Bruney will refuse his assignment to the minor leagues, effectively ending his short tenure with the Nationals. Despite his struggles with the Nationals, Bruney still believes himself to be an able major...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 21, 2010; 7:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Game 43 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Orioles

Pretty much since the Nationals arrived in Washington, people have wanted to know if Nationals-Orioles constitutes any kind of rivalry. (Either that, or they've been trying to turn it into a rivalry; get ready to get sick of the phrase...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 21, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Nyjer Morgan gets another night off

Nyjer Morgan received his second night off this week, sitting in place of Roger Bernadina in center field and right fielder Willie Harris in the leadoff spot. Morgan is in the middle of his first prolonged slump with the Nationals,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 21, 2010; 6:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Today's lineups

Another day off for Nyjer Morgan in the Nationals lineup: Nationals Harris - RF Guzman - 2B Zimmerman - 3B Dunn - 1B Willingham - LF Rodriguez - C Bernadina - CF Desmond - SS Olsen - P Orioles Patterson...

By Alexa Steele  |  May 21, 2010; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
 
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Nationals release Willy Taveras

The Nationals today unconditionally released outfielder Willy Taveras, who had been designated for assignment Saturday night to make room for Michael Morse on the Nationals' roster. The Nationals signed Taveras, 28, to a minor league contract this offseason. When the...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 21, 2010; 1:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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For Ian Desmond, 'there's just going to be errors'

Ian Desmond made two errors last night, which brings his total for the season to nine, the most of any shortstop in the major leagues. One of the errors could have been avoided - Adam Dunn made a high...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 21, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
Categories:  Ian Desmond  
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Q&A: First Things First with Dan Steinberg, 9:30 a.m.

Join Dan Steinberg -- a fearless fill-in for Tracee Hamilton while she is on vacation -- at 9:30 this morning for the latest edition of the daily chat. As interleague play begins, Dan is wondering: Do you still care about...

By washingtonpost.com sports editor  |  May 21, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Mark Lerner's batting practice misadventure

Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner received stitches this evening after an unfortunate moment during today's batting practice. Lerner, as he occasionally does, was shagging fly balls in full Nationals uniform alongside his team. Standing in right field, where the sun...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 20, 2010; 7:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
 
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Game 42 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets

Before the year began, it was assumed the Nationals would have the league's most difficult early-season schedule, reigning playoff teams comprising 19 of their first 40 games. With that stretching ending last night with a victory over the Mets, it...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 20, 2010; 7:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
 
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Nyjer Morgan slumping in May

This month, Nyjer Morgan has endured the first true slump during his tenure with the Nationals. In 63 at-bats in May, Morgan is hitting .206 with a .286 on-base percentage and 12 strikeouts, dropping his season average to .253 and...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 20, 2010; 6:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Today's lineups

The Nationals are going with their usual lineup, putting Adam Kennedy at second against right-hander John Maine. It's a Chamber of Commerce day at Nats Park. Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2. Adam Kennedy, 2B 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B 4....

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 20, 2010; 4:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Luis Atilano's importance

On a list of the reasons for the Nationals remaining above .500 roughly one-fourth of the way through the season, Luis Atilano, tonight's starter against the Mets, may not surface near the top. But after Jason Marquis's disastrous start to...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 20, 2010; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
 
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Nationals Minor League Report

ONLY GLUV CAN BREAK YOUR HEART: Nats p.r. maven Bill Gluvna yesterday provided the Nationals weekly minor league report, chocking it full of useful information and puns. Here it is in full, followed by box scores from last night's game....

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 20, 2010; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Nyjer Morgan's improbable night

Washington center fielder Nyjer Morgan played a part in not one, but two of the rarest plays in baseball during last night's 5-3 victory over the New York Mets at Nationals Park. First Morgan was in the field when Angel...

By Gene Wang  |  May 20, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Strasburg live-blog: Rochester edition

9:11 p.m.: Strasburg faced just one batter in the seventh, striking out Danny Valencia looking at a 96 mph fastball at the knees. To revise all the numbers, he wound up throwing 92 pitches, 60 for strikes. His final pitching...

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 19, 2010; 7:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Game 41 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets

The Washington Nationals (20-20, third in NL East) look to end a five-game losing streak in their first game back at Nationals Park since leaving for a nine-game road trip. They'll have Adam Dunn back in the lineup and right-hander...

By Gene Wang  |  May 19, 2010; 6:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Jim Riggleman remains committed to Clippard

Relief pitcher Tyler Clippard had been one of the surest bets out of the bullpen for the Washington Nationals this season. He started 7-0, proved to be a supremely effective set-up man for closer Matt Capps and had aspirations of...

By Gene Wang  |  May 19, 2010; 5:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  bullpen  
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Adam Dunn back in lineup

The Washington Nationals will have slugger Adam Dunn back in the lineup for tonight's game against the New York Mets. Dunn flew home yesterday for what was called a "minor procedure," and the Nationals were hopeful their first baseman would...

By Gene Wang  |  May 19, 2010; 4:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Adam Dunn , Jim Riggleman  
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Without offense, Nationals are too close for comfort

When you play one-run games in the major leagues, you're flipping coins. The Nationals won their first eight one-run, nine-inning games this season. They won those games because the relief pitching was nails and the clutch hits came. Both...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 19, 2010; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
 
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Game 40 discussion thread: Nationals at Cardinals

How much significance should we assign to this game? The Nationals will fly back to Washington afterward, and they're eager to get this nine-game, three-city, one-doubleheader beast over with. Any win is nice, and they all count the same in...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 8:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (67)
 
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Ian Desmond earns more praise from Jim Riggleman

Jim Riggleman has not been stingy this season with praise for rookie shortstop Ian Desmond, and he continued this evening before the game. "He's a got a chance to be one of the elite shortstops in baseball," the Naionals' manager...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 7:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Ian Desmond , Jim Riggleman  
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Adam Dunn returns home for "minor procedure"

Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn returned from St. Louis to Washington today to undergo a "minor procedure," and the Nationals hope he can return for Wednesday's game, Manager Jim Riggleman said. Dunn has been out of the starting lineup last...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 7:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Adam Dunn  
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The Strasburg effect

The city of San Diego, where Stephen Strasburg spent the first 20 years of his life, gets an average of 10 inches of rainfall per year. As a 21-year-old minor league pitcher, however, he has such a propensity for bringing...

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 18, 2010; 6:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Stephen Strasburg, Syracuse are rained out

Stephen Strasburg's latest start for the Class AAA Syracuse Chiefs, scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at Rochester, has been postponed by rain. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Strasburg...

By washingtonpost.com sports editor  |  May 18, 2010; 5:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Tonight in Stephen Strasburg

When he pitches tonight on five days rest, Stephen Strasburg will face a team that recently proved it can smack around a pitcher with elite stuff. Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban left-hander playing for Louisville, the Reds Class AAA affiliate with...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 4:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Today's lineups

The National of the Day receiving an off day is Ivan Rodriguez, who will yield to Wil Nieves behind the dish. Adam Dunn also remains out of the lineup, still, apparently, feeling sick. The Nationals have not scored more than...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 4:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Roger Bernadina's catch brought memories, not fear

In the fifth inning last night, Colby Rasmus crushed a Craig Stammen sinker to deep center field. Roger Bernadina bolted back to the warning track, approaching the fence. He had not done this in a major league game since last...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
 
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Drew Storen is here, so why not Stephen Strasburg?

In explaining why he called up Drew Storen, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, in part, said, "What more can we ask him to do in the minor leagues that he can't do in the major leagues?" There is, of course, another pitcher running empty on unaccomplished objectives in the minors.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
Categories:  Drew Storen , Pitching rotation , Stephen Strasburg , bullpen  | Tags: Drew Storen, Stephen Strasburg  
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Game 39 discussion thread: Nationals at Cardinals

The Nationals will play a rare game without Nyjer Morgan at the top of their lineup, rarer still because it comes against a right-handed pitcher, Kyle Lohse. Morgan has made strides against lefties, but Manager Jim Riggleman would still prefer...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 17, 2010; 8:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
 
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Drew Storen becomes a big leaguer

Drew Storen arrives in the major leagues

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 17, 2010; 8:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Adam Dunn scratched

Feeling under the weather for the second straight day, Adam Dunn will not be in the Nationals starting lineup but will be available to pinch hit. Josh Willingham will take Dunn's cleanup spot, and the infield will shift around to...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 17, 2010; 5:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Today's lineups

Nyjer Morgan gets the day off today against Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse, somewhat surprising since Lohse is a right-hander. Roger Bernadina will take center. The Cardinals made a seemingly minor shakeup that has pretty much rocked the local populace: Albert...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 17, 2010; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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In Drew Storen, help is on the way

Drew Storen ready to bring some relief to the bullpen

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 17, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
 
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Nationals promote Drew Storen

The Nationals promoted reliever Drew Storen from Class AAA Syracuse and he will join the team Monday night in St. Louis, Manager Jim Riggleman said. Storen, the No. 10 overall pick in last year's draft, becomes the first half of...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 16, 2010; 3:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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Game 38 discussion thread: Nationals at Rockies

The Nationals, nearly 40 games into the season, have turned themselves into contenders in part because of their resilience. Judging by their -13 run differential, they are still being outplayed despite a 20-17 record. They just won't let themselves lose...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 16, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
 
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For Mike Morse, his return is better late than never

Mike Morse had already waited nine years to become a regular part of a major league team for an entire season, and so one more month wasn't a problem. Morse made the Nationals out of spring training, only to play...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 16, 2010; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Livan Hernandez will start Wednesday on short rest

With the Nationals in need of a starter Wednesday because of their doubleheader this past Saturday, staff ace Livan Hernandez will start on three days rest against the New York Mets. Hernandez has surprisingly been the Nationals best pitcher. Unsurprisingly,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 16, 2010; 2:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Livan Hernandez , Pitching rotation  
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Adam Dunn feeling sick

Adam Dunn felt "noxious" when he arrived at Coors Field this morning, which is why Jim Riggleman gave him the day off. There seems to be a bug going around. A few Nationals players felt mildly under the weather, and...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 16, 2010; 1:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Adam Dunn , Cristian Guzman  
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Today's lineup

Playing a day game after a doubleheader will often lead to an atypitcal lineup, and that's what the Nationals have today. As Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis makes his first start of the season, Adam Dunn will get his first day...

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 16, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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