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Rookies continue to make impression

Morning roundup

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 York Mets was no exception.

Right-hander Yunesky Maya, signed on Aug. 3 after a stellar career in Cuba, made his major league debut, giving up a three-run homer to Ike Davis in the first inning and an RBI single to pitcher Dillon Gee in the second. After that shaky start, however, Maya retired 11 of 12 batters.

Maya used a variety of breaking balls often to set up his fastball and also mixed in an effective changeup to earn at least another start in his bid to become a regular part of the rotation.

"It's way to early for that," Manager Jim Riggleman said when asked if Maya distinguished himself enough to be in the Nationals' long-term plans. "But certainly five days from now, six days from now, we'd like to get him back out there."

While Maya was trying to make headway on the mound, teammate Danny Espinosa continued to impress in his second game at Nationals Park after his first week in the major leagues. Although Espinosa went without a hit against the Mets on Tuesday night, he contributed several quality plays at second base, including starting a double play, turning another and making a slick grab late in the game.

Prior to Tuesday night, Espinosa had dazzled at the plate. In Monday's 13-3 win against the Mets, he had six RBI and two homers, including a grand slam, to cap a week in which he hit .563 with three homers and 10 RBI. That prompted Riggleman to say in jest that he didn't think Espinosa would hit that well next season.

But all joking aside, Espinosa has more than validated in September call-up from Harrisburg and figures prominently in Washington's plans for many years.

"Defense is what I'm here for," Espinosa said. "I'm here to play good defense, and that's what I go out everyday and work hard on is my defense. I enjoy being out there making plays."

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Maya struggles early, then improves late, writes csnwashington.com's Mark Zuckerman.

In the final three innings of his start, Maya looked like he could be a fixture in the rotation, according to Ben Goessling of MASN.com.

Maya's outing was a mixed bag, writes MLB.com's Bill Ladson.

By Gene Wang  |  September 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Danny Espinosa , Yunesky Maya  | Tags: Danny Espinosa, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Yunesky Maya  
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Next: Today's lineups

Comments

Went to the park last night thinking Maya was really going to impress. We had a quality pitcher throwing against a really bad lineup. Didn't work out.

So I guess we temper the expectations and see what the next few starts bring us.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 8, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Re: Maya...
I think we need to give this guy a few starts before we either annoint him the next big thing, Cuban Style or write him off as a failure.
It was one start in an MLB game in a new country. The guy doesn't even speak the language. I think we need to see him 2 or three more times this year and into spring training next year to get a better feel for what we have...

Posted by: TimDz | September 8, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Last night did show some of the worst of our offense. Gee, in his first ever MLB start, needed only 18 pitches to get through the first two innings. I lost track after that, but it was rare our guys took pitches. Hacking early in the game is a make or break strategy, and last night, it was broken.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 8, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I wound up pretty impressed with Maya. He looked like he didn't have a feel for the breaking pitches in the first inning, but he threw some really nasty pitches in the third and fourth innings. His fastball hit 94 and his wicked curveball was about 70. The man can pitch.

Posted by: LandoverHillsBoysClub | September 8, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Last two games I've been to, Nats lose 4-1 and Willie Harris plates our only run with a pinch homer.

Going again today, would like to break the streak (no offense, Willie).

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 8, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

My Ouija board is telling me the good Livan will show up today. It's also telling me that Willie Harris will plate the only run in a 1-0 shutout.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | September 8, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I was there, too, in 225, and after the absolute bomb to center, he settled down nicely.
Either that, or the Mets hitters starting borrowing the Nats phone.
An uninspired showing, at best.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

by the hitters, that is, not Maya.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

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