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Miguel Batista can take the abuse

Morning roundup

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.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 22, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  bullpen  
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Next: Scott Olsen to miss next start

Comments

Wasn't it Olsen's shoulder, rather than his elbow, that was the issue? At any rate, hope that it's not serious, but agree that it is cause for concern.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

>>If you were told on Opening Day that on this date, they'd be one game under .500, you'd be ecstatic. Be real, people. It's a long season. Slumps happen. Ride it out and wait for better days. They're coming.

A slump is what happened on the roadtrip. Ok that's to be expected. But sorry, I've seen the Os play this year. They are in complete disarray. They are beyond bad.
For the Nats to come out last night as flat as that and look that bad against Hernandez, who hasn't won since Nixon was president and make him look like Nolan Ryan is ridiculous. It was the exact same game that they played against the Mets Valdez, a reliever who came in in the first inning.

This is beyond absurd. That's not a slump. Thats just bad baseball. The Os absofreakinlutely stink. Tatum hasn't had a multi- hit game his entire career. He barely plays. The Nats should be really ashamed about last night. That was awful.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 22, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

BTW if the Nats don't take the next 2 from the Os and I'm not sure that's happening with Stammen on the mound today (don't like him at all vs Bergeson), then Washington is going to find itself in a heap of trouble. They've got Lincecum and Zito coming up and then San Diego. If the Nats can't hit Hernandez and Valdez, just wait till they see what California has to offer.

Washington could come back from the west coast completely buried in a hole too deep to climb out of and looking more like the Nats of last year. Today and tomorrow could be 2 of their biggest games of the year.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 22, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Nice lede, Adam - That's exactly why the team needs a pitcher like Batista; He'll take the ball & give you everything he's got, and will absorb the occaisional beatdown without worrying about his stats. His quote on hitting - "My hits are like comets - They happen every five years" = priceless.
I, for one, would rather see him out there than trying to shift a young starter (Atilano, Stammen) into that position in mid-season.

Posted by: BinM | May 22, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@dovelevine:

All is not lost; Maybe Riggleman needs to fiddle with the lineup a little - think about something like this vs the RH Bergesen...

Morgan - CF
Rodriguez - CA
Guzman - 2B
Zimmerman - 3B
Dunn - 1B
Willingham - LF
Bernadina - RF
Desmond - SS
Stammen - SP

That leaves two LH on the bench (Kennedy, Harris) and three RH (Morse, Gonzalez, Nieves) for PH - defensive purposes.

Posted by: BinM | May 22, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Dovelevine: Don't panic yet bro if we can get em this afternoon and sunday then that's a little mo as we head west but i said it last week when i was reading on this blog how everyone was counting the chickens before they hatched, the O's if nothing else can hit and they have talent but to lose to them in that manner last night, whew! no doubt we were playing over our heads but no need to revert back to 09 keep playing hard and playing smart and hit the damn ball!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 22, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't follow the minors that much but from reading the snippets it seems like Aaron Thompson has been getting killed lately.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 22, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

No panic. The Nats are fine. The entire organization has come so far in the past year it is unbelievable. Yes they still have a long way to go and they will lose some games that should be winnable. They are making a ton of progress and we should be proud as fans. We are witnessing a team on the rise. And win or lose this team is fun to watch (unlike the Manny era). To paraphrase Crash Davis, " this is baseball. It's fun G#$$%^^%!!!! GO NATS!!!

Posted by: chris88 | May 22, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but perhaps file this for future reference. The next time the Steinbrenner's whine about the "luxury tax", they need to look at their own house first.
For your consideration: 1) the salary paid to their infield ($82.8M for six players) is greater than the 25-man roster totals for 14 teams in MLB; Roll that around in your head for a minute - six players on a single team cumulatively earn more than nearly half of the teams in MLB pay for their entire active rosters!
2) the salary paid to the Yankees' current starting staff ($63.2M for five players) is greater than six entire teams' 25-man salary.
3) The Yankees are #1 in overall expenditures for their 2010 roster (@208.1M), but the IF-SP salary aggregation ($146M) would rank 2nd, behind only the Boston Red Sox ($147.1M) in MLB.

If the League owners really wanted competetive balance, here is a clear argument for some kind of salary cap, imho.

Posted by: BinM | May 22, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Not that it needs to be said at this point, but if Olsen goes DL on the team, "You can never have enough pitching".

Posted by: BinM | May 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Today's line-ups:

Nationals

Morgan - CF
Guzman - SS
Zimmerman - 3B
Dunn - 1B
Willingham - LF
Rodriguez - C
Kennedy - 2B
Bernadina - RF
Stammen - P

Orioles

Patterson - LF
Markakis - RF
Tejada - 3B
Scott - 1B
Wiggington - 2B
Wieters - C
Jones - CF
Izturis- SS
Bergeson - P

Posted by: longhorn64 | May 22, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

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