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 embraced his role in the Nationals bullpen, which often comes down to 1) preserving hope when there is little and 2) proving how much wear he can handle. Scott Olsen's injury pressed Batista into serve last night, and he fired four scoreless innings.
"That's what I am capable of doing," Batista said. "Pitching short, pitching long. Rest or no rest. That's my job to do here."
It's easy to overlook Batista. Aside from his surprise against the Mets earlier, he rarely pitches important innings. Rather, he goes into the game when the Nationals need a body, when they're playing because Major League Baseball requires nine innings are played. Sometimes, like last night, he pitches well enough to give the Nats a chance when it seems like they'll have none.
"He's unbelievable," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "He's a throwback."
How many pitchers could throw two innings one day and four the next?
"You can't do that with everybody," Riggleman said. "You do it with Miguel, and it's not called abuse. You do that with somebody else, and you're abusing them. He wants the ball. He was throwing on fumes there the last inning. But he wanted to finish it, and he did a great job for us. He really saved us."
Batista even broke up a no-hitter. In the fifth, with David Hernandez improbably shutting down the Nationals, Batista poked a hit through the middle, his first hit since Aug. 9 2006.
"I only have one technique when it comes to hitting: Swing hard in case you hit it," Batista said. "My hits are like comets. They happen every five years."
FROM THE POST
Scott Olsen's elbow stiffness, which surfaced in a 5-3 loss to the Orioles, seems like cause for concern.
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Syracuse 6, Rochester 1: Justin Maxwell went 2 for 5 with a double. Chase Lambin went 2 for 2 with two walks. Shairon Martis allowed one run in seven innings on four hits and two walks while striking out five.
Harrisburg 9, Akron 3 (7 innings): Aaron Thompson allowed 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings, only surrending three runs while striking out three. Chris Marrero went 2 for 3 with a home run.
Potomac 5, Salem 4: Mike Burgess went 2 for 4.
Hagerstown 7, Delmarva 2 (7 innings): Steven Souza went 2 for 3 with a walk, a double and three RBI. Josh Smoker allowed two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings on three walks and and three hits, striking out five.
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