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When Armando Galarraga could have been a National

Armando Galarraga, the biggest story in baseball today, could have been a Washington National. That was five years and two teams ago, but Galarraga began his career as a rookie with the Montreal Expos system in 2001. He reached Class AA Harrisburg by 2005, at which point the Nationals traded him to the Texas Rangers as part of the package that landed them Alfonso Soriano.

The last remaining Nationals connection to Galarraga is right fielder Roger Bernadina. He played with Galarraga in 2004 in Class A Savannah, one year before the Nationals existed. "He was a pretty good pitcher," Bernadina said. "He was a very nice guy. Very laid back."

Early this year, Bernadina ran into Galarraga in the minor leagues, Bernadina with Class AAA Syracuse, Galarraga with Toledo. Now both of them reached the majors, one of them enjoying newfound fame. "When you see a guy you played with going like that, it makes you feel good," Bernadina said.

The Nationals, like everyone else in baseball, had some opinions on Galarraga losing a perfect game to Jim Joyce's blown call with two outs in the ninth. The prevailing view in the Nats clubhouse is that Joyce deserved better.

"It's terrible," first baseman Adam Dunn said. "He's one of the best umpires in the game and one of the nicest guys. He cares not only about the game of baseball, but the players. For that to happen to him, it's awful. He's the best."

The play has spurred the belief that baseball has no choice but to usher in instant replay, a view the Nationals didn't share.

"That instant replay stuff, you might as well build robots to go out there," Dunn said. "I mean, that's part of the game. [Joyce] probably missed five calls in his entire career. It just happened to be that one. It's a shame that it happened to him. He's the best."

Said Manager Jim Riggleman: "Whatever they come up with, it's the same for both clubs. You don't know how it's going to help you or hurt you. I like the idea that umpires are always an integral part of the game. There's some human error involved. I'm okay with that."

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 3, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
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