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Nationals Journal: September 5, 2010 - September 11, 2010

Collin Balester's strange day

Collin Balester entered today's game with no outs in the eighth inning, a runner on first base. He could be called plenty of things as a pitcher, but "dull" is not one of them. The first thing he did --...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 11, 2010; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Defensive gems by Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond not enough for Nationals

Danny Espinosa has played second base as a professional for less than one month, and now he is in the major leagues making plays that few other second basemen can make, plays that drop jaws and steal hits. The Nationals'...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 11, 2010; 5:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Game 142 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Marlins

Hanging outside Nationals Park, just beyond the center field entrance, a huge American flag is hanging from two cranes. Inside the park, the Nationals will wear their special, white hats and blue uniforms in honor of remembering the Sept. 11...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 11, 2010; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Jordan Zimmermann feeling confident, healthy during return

After making his first three major league starts since returning from Tommy John surgery, Jordan Zimmermann has been surprised by only one thing. His arm always used to ache two days after he pitched, even when he felt completely healthy....

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 11, 2010; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Today's lineup

Danny Espinosa stays on top of the lineup and Nyjer Morgan creeps up from eighth to seventh as Wilson Ramos takes the catching duties with Jason Marquis on the mound. Nationals 1. Danny Espinosa, 2B 2. Ian Desmond, SS 3....

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 11, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
 
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Joe Bisenius makes it back to the majors

Before Friday night, Joe Bisenius had not been in a major league game since April 7, 2004. He had changed franchises, from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Nationals, and he had pitched in Class A, Class AA and Class AAA....

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 10, 2010; 11:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Game 141 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Marlins

Today marks an important anniversary for the Nationals. On Sept. 10, 2009, Ian Desmond, almost six years after Jim Bowden compared him to Derek Jeter, played his first major league game. He used the final month to lay a foundation...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 10, 2010; 6:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Danny Espinosa takes the leadoff spot as Nationals put brawl in the past

After Nyjer Morgan met with league officials at Nationals Park this morning -- a meeting that lasted some 4 1/2 hours and included chief disciplinarian Bob Watson -- the Nationals remain unsure when a ruling will come down on how...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 10, 2010; 5:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
 
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Nyjer Morgan ruling delayed, Doug Slaten will start serving suspension

After speaking with league officials this morning to appeal his dual suspensions, Nyjer Morgan will play tonight as he and the Nationals wait for the league to make its final ruling. Meanwhile, left-handed reliever Doug Slaten will begin serving his...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 10, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Today's lineups

Nyjer Morgan had his appeal hearing with the league this morning, but no resolution has been reached. He is eligible to play tonight and he's in the lineup -- but he's batting eighth while Danny Espinosa leads off. Reliever Doug...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 10, 2010; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Nationals awaiting word on Nyjer Morgan's suspension

The Nationals are still awaiting word on Nyjer Morgan's suspension, which may or may not come before today's game. The appeal hearings for both his seven-game suspension and his eight-game suspension were scheduled for this morning, but one league official...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 10, 2010; 1:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
 
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Has Ian Desmond's surge made him a Rookie of the Year candidate?

During the all-star break, Ian Desmond went home to Sarasota, Fla., and used the three days off to "refresh myself," he said. While he relaxed, Desmond also had to stomach his first-half offensive performance. He hit .255 with a .297...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 9, 2010; 5:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (65)
 
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More hard luck for Livan Hernandez

Yesterday afternoon, Livan Hernandez faced a familiar situation. He walked off the field after a sterling performance, baffled hitters in his wake, left to wonder how his start would be reflected in the scorebook. He pitched well enough to...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 9, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
 
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Livan Hernandez's adventurous out

The Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Mets today included one of the more bizarre outs of their season - one in which Livan Hernandez nearly threw a live ball into the stands and recorded the final out an inning while...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 8, 2010; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
 
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Game 141 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets

First, a late lineup change to tell you about: Ivan Rodriguez was scratched (reason unknown as of now he's feeling ill and will be available pinch hit) and Wilson Ramos will take his place. He will bat eighth, Danny Espinosa...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 8, 2010; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (35)
 
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Nationals prepare for Nyjer Morgan's suspension

Since the Nationals have an off day Thursday, today's game will be the last time the Nationals play with Nyjer Morgan for an indefinite period of time. Morgan's hearing to appeal his suspensions - seven games for "inappropriate actions" in...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 8, 2010; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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Today's lineups

Mets Pagan - RF Hernandez - 2B Beltran - CF Davis - 1B Wright - 3B Carter - LF Thole - C Tejada - SS Dickey - P Nationals Morgan - CF Desmond - SS Zimmerman - 3B Dunn -...

By Alexa Steele  |  September 8, 2010; 10:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
 
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Rookies continue to make impression

The Washington Nationals, long out of contention for a playoff berth, are getting plenty of chances to examine which prospects may be in the mix for next season and perhaps beyond, and Tuesday night's 4-1 loss to the New...

By Gene Wang  |  September 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Danny Espinosa , Yunesky Maya  | Tags: Danny Espinosa, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Yunesky Maya  
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Josh Willingham named award nominee

Outfielder Josh Willingham was named the Washington Nationals' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award presented annually to the big league player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding on-field performance. Wednesday marks the ninth annual...

By Gene Wang  |  September 8, 2010; 12:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Tags: Josh Willingham Foundation, Roberto Clemente Award, Washington Nationals  
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Game 139 discussion thread: Mets vs. Nationals

September call-ups mean a chance for younger, untested players to show they belong in the majors. Today's game between the Mets and Nationals is just such an opportunity for a pair of rookie pitchers making their big league debuts. Starting...

By Gene Wang  |  September 7, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Yunesky Maya  
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Joe Bisenius looks to possible future with Nationals

Joe Bisenius got his major league call-up today, joining the Nationals expanded September roster for tonight's game against the New York Mets and hoping this opportunity leads to something much more down the road. Bisenius, who spent the first six...

By Gene Wang  |  September 7, 2010; 6:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Joe Bisenius  
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Nationals add Yunesky Maya, two other pitchers

The Washington Nationals today recalled right-handed pitcher Yunesky Maya and added Joe Bisenius, another right-hander, from Class AAA Syracuse and reinstated left-hander Ross Detwiler from the 15-day disabled list. Catcher Carlos Maldonado, meantime, was designated for assignment. Maya is scheduled...

By Gene Wang  |  September 7, 2010; 5:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Yunesky Maya  
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Today's lineup

UPDATED Nationals Morgan, CF Desmond, SS Zimmerman, 3B Dunn, 1B Bernadina, LF Morse, RF Espinosa, 2B Ramos, C Maya, RHP Mets Pagan, RF Hernandez, 2B Beltran, CF Davis, 1B Hessman, 3B Duda, LF Blanco, C Tejada, SS Gee, RHP...

By Gene Wang  |  September 7, 2010; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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The Nationals offense comes alive

As the Nationals consider their offensive surge the past 11 games, it may inspire a pair of questions: Where has this been all season? And where would they be if they had found it sooner? From opening until Aug....

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 7, 2010; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
 
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Willie Harris 'OK' after leaving game

Right fielder Willie Harris left the Nationals' 13-3 win over the Mets in the bottom of the second inning after crashing into outfield fence. In the evening, Harris said over the phone that he was "OK." During the game, a...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 7:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Scott Olsen dominant on the mound, upset with bullpen role

Slumped in a chair in front of his locker after his first bullpen appearance in more than five years, Scott Olsen was happy about two things. The Nationals had won, and his mother was in town and got to watch...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
 
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Harrisburg clinches playoff spot

Class AA Harrisburg clinched a playoff today when Bowie, their only competition, lost to Richmond. The Senators -- who have been carried by the pitching of Tom Milone (12-5, 2.85 ERA, 6.7 K/BB) and the bats of Stephen Lombardozzi (.925...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Nyjer Morgan: 'I'm still the same person'

Days removed from the controversial week that capped his difficult season, Nyjer Morgan has a new way to view his year. "I'm getting tested," Morgan said. "Can I handle it, or am I going to break?" Morgan veered away from...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
 
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Game 138 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Mets

The Nationals will attempt to build on a 34-31 record at Nationals Park, which, at that pace, would be the best home record since baseball returned to Washington. Their offense is hot right, having scored 72 runs in 10 games...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
 
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Ian Desmond resting with a sore hamstring

The Nationals are starting Danny Espinosa at shortstop today in order to rest red-hot Ian Desmond, who has been battling "a hamstring issue," Manager Jim Riggleman said. Riggleman pulled Desmond from Sunday's game after the Nationals opened up a large...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 12:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Wilson Ramos will split time with Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan Rodriguez is behind the plate today, but with 25 games remaining in the season the Nationals plan for him to share playing time "almost 50-50" with Wilson Ramos, Manager Jim Riggleman said. Ramos, the highly regarded prospect just called...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 12:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Today's lineup

Danny Espinosa will make his first appearance in the majors at shortstop as red-hot Ian Desmond gets a day off. Jordan Zimmermann, opposing Mike Pelfrey, makes his third start of the year. Nationals 1. Nyjer Morgan, CF 2. Adam Kennedy,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 10:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
 
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Wilson Ramos is already a prime target

Jason Marquis first pitched to Wilson Ramos last month, when he was still rehabbing and when Ramos had just arrived in Class AAA Syracuse from the Minnesota Twins. So yesterday, when Ramos made his first start since being called...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 6, 2010; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
 
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Game 137 discussion thread: Nationals at Pirates

Jim Riggleman will return to the dugout today after serving his two-game suspension for his role in the brawl with the Marlins on Wednesday, sending John McLaren back to his usual role as bench coach. I jokingly asked Riggleman about...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 5, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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Nationals can compete and evaluate at the same time

The Nationals want to accomplish two aims in the final month of the season. One of those is the same goal every team has every day of the season -- they want to compete and win. The other is to...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 5, 2010; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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With Yunesky Maya and Ross Detwiler in the fold, Nationals must sort out starters

Yunesky Maya and Ross Detwiler joined the Nationals today in Pittsburgh, their presence providing visual proof of the logjam of starters the Nationals have in the final month. They have not officially been added to the roster, but the Nationals...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 5, 2010; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
 
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Scott Olsen's reaction to move to the bullpen

Scott Olsen had little to say about his move from the Nationals starting rotation to the bullpen. He told a reporter to expect one-word answers when approached about the subject, and his spare answers provided a clear picture that Olsen,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 5, 2010; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
 
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Today's lineups

Wilson Ramos gets the second start of his Nationals tenure and his first playing time since being called up Wednesday. He'll bat eighth as Adam Dunn returns after his one off day to rest an ailing hamstring. Jason Marquis (1-7,...

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 5, 2010; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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