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Nationals Journal: June 27, 2010 - July 3, 2010

Drew Storen, that other first-round pick, pitches in

Once Stephen Strasburg departed, Drew Storen reminded everyone not to overlook the Nationals' other 2009 first-round draft pick. Storen, the 10th pick last year, cleaned house during the sixth and seventh innings of Saturday's thrilling, 6-5 victory over the Mets....

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 3, 2010; 10:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Drew Storen , Stephen Strasburg  
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Did Stephen Strasburg just pitch himself out of All-Star Game?

Now that Stephen Strasburg's sixth big league start is over -- with Strasburg stuck with a no-decision following five inconsistent innings, leaving him with a 2-2 record and a 2.45 ERA -- it is time to ponder how the performance...

By Dave Sheinin  |  July 3, 2010; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Game 82 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets

Manager Jim Riggleman gave Adam Kennedy a start today, which, if all goes to plan, will become a more regular thing. When Cristian Guzman got hot early this year, Riggleman, for all intents and purposes, made him the everyday second...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 3, 2010; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
 
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Josh Willingham, a possible all-star, wants to stay a National

Tomorrow, Josh Willingham might become an all-star. By the end of the month, Willingham may or may not still be with the Washington Nationals. Willingham, because of his production this year and the fact that he still has one year...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 3, 2010; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Tyler Walker eyeing return

Reliever Tyler Walker, on the disabled list with soreness in his right shoulder, will likely play catch tomorrow for the first time since receiving a cortisone shot Tuesday. Walker is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday, and he...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 3, 2010; 3:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Willie Harris replaces Roger Bernadina

The Nationals scratched Roger Bernadina and replaced him in right field and in the No. 2 spot in the lineup with Willie Harris. Bernadina came out of the lineup with lower back tightness, and he is available as a substitute....

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 3, 2010; 3:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Today's lineups

While the Nationals have played cleaner baseball -- putting aside Roger Bernadina's unforgiveable gaffe for the 27th out last night -- they still have produced five runs in two games against the Mets. They can win the series today with...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 3, 2010; 12:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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The bright side: Stephen Strasburg pitches Saturday

There were several plays the Nationals could have made -- or that could have gone their way -- Friday night that might have translated to a more positive outcome for the home team. Cristian Guzman could have fielded Ike...

By Steve Yanda  |  July 3, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Cristian Guzman , Jim Riggleman , Nyjer Morgan , Stephen Strasburg  
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Nationals sign Orlando Hernandez to minor league deal

The Washington Nationals signed right-handed pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez to a minor league deal Friday, according to a report on the team's Web site. Hernandez, 44, is the half-brother of Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez. Livan Hernandez confirmed his half-brother's...

By Steve Yanda  |  July 3, 2010; 12:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  minors & farm system  
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Game 81 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets

On Thursday night, the Nationals edged the visiting New York Mets by one run. Since May 5, Washington has played in 22 one-run games (9-13) and 13 games decided by two runs (6-7). The Nationals have played in 46 games...

By Steve Yanda  |  July 2, 2010; 6:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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Chien-Ming Wang, Jordan Zimmermann injury updates

Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, who has been on the disabled list all season while recovering from right shoulder surgery he underwent in July 2009, threw live batting practice Friday. General Manager Mike Rizzo said there is no established timetable for Wang's...

By Steve Yanda  |  July 2, 2010; 6:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Chien-Ming Wang , Pitching rotation , minors & farm system  
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Lineups -- Nats vs. Mets

Mets: Pagan -- CF Tejada -- SS Wright -- 3B Davis -- 1B Bay -- LF Barajas -- C Francoeur -- RF Cora -- 2B Niese -- P Nationals: Morgan -- CF Guzman -- 2B Dunn -- 1B Zimmerman --...

By Steve Yanda  |  July 2, 2010; 3:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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The Nationals came through in the ninth

With one out in the ninth inning last night, Manager Jim Riggleman sent Willie Harris to pinch-hit. Behind him lurked Nyjer Morgan and Cristian Guzman. In June, those three, the bridge to Ryan Zimmerman in a tie game in...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 2, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Elijah Dukes signs with independent league

Former Nats player Elijah Dukes resurfaces in Newark

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 7:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Game 80 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets

The next week and a half could very well prove critical to the Nationals' overall success this year. In the next 11 days, with a new month to clear away the stink of June, they get to play 10 games...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 6:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Mike MacDougal released

The Nationals had until today to decide to add reliever Mike MacDougal to their major league team or release him, and they made the expected decision to grant him unconditional release, a team spokesman said. MacDougal, their closer for the...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 6:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Nationals sticking with Stephen Strasburg's schedule

Nationals sticking with Stephen Strasburg's schedule

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 6:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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By winning, Jim Riggleman wants to keep the Nationals together

Before one game this week in Atlanta, Manager Jim Riggleman addressed the Nationals about the month ahead, roughly the time remaining between then and the July 31 trade deadline. The Nationals had tumbled out of contention, to the point that...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Mets lineup

The weary Mets got in from Puerto Rico at 8 a.m. this morning. Here's their lineup. Mets 1. Jesus Feliciano, CF 2. Ruben Tejada, SS 3. David Wright, 3B 4. Ike Davis, 1B 5. Jeff Francoeur, RF 6. Chris Carter,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 6:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Today's lineup

Ian Desmond is back in the lineup after not starting for four of the past five games. Ivan Rodriguez, having played three days in a row, is off in favor of Wil Nieves. Michael Morse will take right against left-handed...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 2:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Stephen Strasburg up for an ESPY

As if Stephen Strasburg has not received enough acclaim, he's been nominated for an ESPY in the category of "Best Breakthrough Athlete." You can vote for him here. The other candidates are Baylor women's basketball player Brittney Griner, Tennessee Titans...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Nationals Minor League Report

I'M GLUVIN' IT: Nats p.r. maven Bill Gluvna compiled the Minor League Report yesterday. Here it is in full. After a little bit of a hiatus, Gluvna came strong with the puns. Feel free to leave your favorite pun in...

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 1, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Washington Nationals: About that seventh-inning switch

The seventh inning last night provided an odd defensive sideshow. Rarely will you see two position players swap spots in mid-inning. But the Nationals and Manager Jim Riggleman did it last night. The reason for the swap started in...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 11:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Ian Desmond , Jim Riggleman  
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Game 79 discussion thread: Nationals at Braves

The Nationals have not won a series on the road since May 12, the day Roger Bernadina turned into a young Barry Bonds and the Nationals took the rubber game in New York against the Mets. That's more than a...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 7:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
 
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Ian Desmond: 'I haven't really been getting it done'

For the first time, rookie shortstop Ian Desmond will not start for consecutive games tonight. Benched for the fourth time in five games, Desmond understands why. "I haven't really been getting it done," Desmond said. "I'm the kind of guy...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 7:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Ian Desmond , middle infield  
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The Pirates-Nationals trade, one year later

On this date one year ago, General Manager Mike Rizzo made the first major trade of his tenure leading the Nationals. He shipped Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett - a...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 6:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Nyjer Morgan  
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Mike Rizzo looks ahead to July

With June ending today, baseball moved precisely one month away from the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo has no precise expectations, other than making the team younger and more athletic in any trades the Nationals...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Nationals uncertain about Chien-Ming Wang's debut

The Nationals know that Chien-Ming Wang will throw live batting practice in Viera, Fla., on Friday, when he will fire 45 pitches from a mound in his second such session of rehab from shoulder surgery. Anything beyond that, they remain...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 6:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Chien-Ming Wang  
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Today's lineups

The Nationals will go with the same lineup from their impressive, 7-2 win last night, with J.D. Martin on the mound this time. Ian Desmond is off for the fourth time in five games and the second straight game following...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 3:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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The All-Star case for Josh Willingham

Baseball will announce the all-star teams Sunday, and the primary question surrounding the Nationals - and, increasingly, the rest of the baseball world - is whether Stephen Strasburg will be on the National League team. The hunch here is that...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 1:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Catching up with Danny Espinosa, Chris Marrero

Shortstop Danny Espinosa will represent the Nationals in the Futures Game, an achievement especially exciting for Espinosa because the game at Angel Stadium is only minutes from his childhood home. "I was fortunate to go last year, but to go...

By Zach Berman  |  June 30, 2010; 12:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Alberto Gonzalez makes the most of his chance

Before Sunday, Alberto Gonzalez had become virtually a forgotten part of the Nationals. He had started three times since the end of April until Manager Jim Riggleman inserted him at shortstop. On Monday night, Riggleman started him again, this...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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Game 78 discussion thread: Nationals at Braves

Nyjer Morgan has been caught stealing 11 times this year and on three other occasions has been picked off at first base. The Nationals are concerned not about Morgan's focus, but more so about his jumps when attempting to steal....

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 29, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
 
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Adam Dunn can't dodge trade talk

Adam Dunn has wanted to avoid days like today, when his name lands in trade rumors, for his entire career. "I hate this," Dunn said. "This is the part of the year." Dunn, who is in the final year of...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 29, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Adam Dunn  
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Nyjer Morgan's mistake indicative of Nationals struggles

This morning, one moment from Monday's loss seemed to spark more vitriol among Nationals fans than any other. Centerfield Nyjer Morgan caught Eric Hinske's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning last night, and while the game's first run crossed the...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 29, 2010; 6:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Today's lineups

Ian Desmond gets the night off after his crucial error last night, and Roger Bernadina will bat in the second spot as Cristian Guzman returns to the lineup and hits seventh. Alberto Gonzalez, who failed to get the go-ahead run...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 29, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
 
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The Nationals' record is down, but they aren't

After convincing the baseball world they were a different team, the Nationals face the familiar challenge of pulling themselves out of a massive tailspin. They have lost five in row, 6 of 19 since Stephen Strasburg debuted, 29 of 42...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 29, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
 
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Believe it or not, Stephen Strasburg didn't have his best

With the bases loaded in the seventh inning last night and Eric Hinske at the plate, the Nationals and Braves were still tied. Stephen Strasburg, still just a rookie, still in just his fifth start, was on the mound....

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 29, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
 
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The Nationals place Tyler Walker on the disabled list

Reliever Tyler Walker heads to the DL to make room for Tuesday starter Craig Stammen.

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 28, 2010; 11:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Craig Stammen , Pitching rotation , Tyler Walker , bullpen  | Tags: Craig Stammen, Tyler Walker  
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Game 77 discussion thread: Nationals at Braves

Manager Jim Riggleman made Ivan Rodriguez the No. 2 hitter in tonight's lineup for several reasons. First, Cristian Guzman is out with the same neck ailment that held him out of yesterday's game. (Guzman will be available as a pinch...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 28, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (100)
 
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Bobby Cox: Stephen Strasburg 'a Hall of Famer in the making'

Perhaps the most incredible thing about the beginning of Stephen Strasburg's career is simply that it's only a beginning. In four starts, Strasburg has 41 strikeouts compared to five walks, a 1.78 ERA and a .202 batting average against. He...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 28, 2010; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Jim Riggleman holds team meeting [UPDATED]

Update from Dave Sheinin [5:50 p.m.]: Manager Jim Riggleman said he called the team meeting in order to underscore comments made by General Manager Mike Rizzo in a Thomas Boswell column published this morning, in which Rizzo said, among other...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 28, 2010; 5:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Craig Stammen will start Tuesday

Craig Stammen, demoted to Class AAA Syracuse on the day Stephen Strasburg made his first career start, will start tomorrow for the Nationals. Stammen will effectively replace John Lannan, whom the Nationals optioned to Class AA Harrisburg last week. In...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 28, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Today's lineups

Unfortunately and as expected, Braves rookie outfielder Jason Heyward will sit out tonight with his bruised thumb, on which he underwent an MRI today. Also, Manager Jim Riggleman made a change in the lineup, sending Ivan Rodriguez to the second...

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 28, 2010; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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In-game chat: Nationals vs. Braves

Join Dave Sheinin later for a discussion about tonight's game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, pitcher Stephen Strasburg's fifth start for the Nats. Strasburg's fifth start...

By Alexa Steele  |  June 28, 2010; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Ross Detwiler recovering with Harrisburg Senators

Ross Detwiler continues to recover from February hip surgery, appearing in two games with the Harrisburg Senators on June 13 and June 18. The left-handed pitcher allowed one earned run in 7.2 innings, including eight strikeout and two walks. Detwiler...

By Zach Berman  |  June 28, 2010; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
 
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Guest post: Stat prediction winner II

Gloria MacKenzie, one of the two winners from our "Predict Strasburg's Debut Line" contest, has sent us her guest post ... and here it is: I became a Washington Senators fan as a young girl, driving in a carpool in...

By Gloria MacKenzie  |  June 28, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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A challenge for Stephen Strasburg, and the Nationals

The most delicious part of Stephen Strasburg facing the Atlanta Braves tonight will come if Jason Heyward steps to the plate. While Heyward may not play tonight, Strasburg-Heyward I will be as must-watch as baseball gets in late June....

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Game 76 discussion thread: Nationals at Orioles

The Washington Nationals will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the team with the worst record in the majors. They'll also be aiming for just their fourth win against an AL team since June 11 and third...

By Gene Wang  |  June 27, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
 
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Today's lineups: Nationals at Orioles

Manager Jim Riggleman is shuffling his lineup today on the last day of interleague play, giving regular first baseman Adam Dunn a break in the field and inserting Mike Morse there on what's expected to be perhaps the hottest day...

By Gene Wang  |  June 27, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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At least the offense is back on track, sort of

The Washington Nationals began this three-game series against Baltimore struggling at the plate in the wake of their most recent homestand in which they scored 10 runs in six games. That's an average of just 1.7 runs a game, but...

By Gene Wang  |  June 27, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Adam Dunn , Cristian Guzman , Drew Storen , Jim Riggleman , Livan Hernandez  
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