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Posted at 7:18 PM ET, 03/10/2011

Spring training (sort of) live-blog, I'm Sorry Houston Edition

By Adam Kilgore

End 7, 9:34: Kimball got out of the inning thanks in part to Bryce Harper's inning-ending, running catch on the warning. Took a good, confident route to the ball and it took some athleticism to make the play. He may have been feeling fielderish.

Bot 7, 9:27 Bryce Harper is in the game in right field, with Cole Kimball on the mound.

Top 7, 9:21: With a four-run seventh, the Nationals have tied it at 5-5. Roger Bernadina nailed a two-run triple to the warning track in center, and Danny Espinosa singled him home. They've still got the inning going with two down and Espinosa on second after a stolen base.

Mid 6, 8:59: After an error on Jerry Hairston and a double to the wall led to another run off Mock in the fifth, it's 5-1 Astros. Derek Norris has hit the ball hard twice with nothing to show for it. Hairston is 3 for 3, and he's also out of the game in favor of extra man Stephen King of minor league camp.

End 3, 8:23: Garrett Mock made a mess of that inning. He allowed three hits and got out of it when Wilson Ramos made an excellent block of home plate and tag on a one-hop throw from left fielder Roger Bernadina. Still 4-1.

Bot 3, 8:16: It took Garrett Mock one pitch to close the book on Gorzelanny's night -- Chris Johnson ripped a two-RBI single to left. So, the line on Gorzelanny: 2.1 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 1 K. It's early and he's not quite full strength. But that's does add some intrigue to the fifth-starter derby.

Also, Mock gave up a warning-track double to the next batter, Jason Michaels. It's 4-1, Astros.

Bot 3, 8:11: Tom Gorzelanny is done with one out in the third and men on second and third. He got the first out of the inning on a Hunter Pence grounder. Carlos Lee singled to left-center, a single caused by some miscommunication between Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina. And then Bill Hall hit a rocket to the right-field corner for a double.

Garrett Mock is the new pitcher. It's 1-1, with Gorzelanny on the hook for two runners.

Mid 3, 8:02: Well, Tom Gorzelanny is out for a third inning. Jerry Hairston had a one-out double, but the Nats went quietly otherwise.

End 2, 7:55: Tom Gorzelanny had another uneven inning in which he escaped largely unscathed. He allowed two singes and a walk, but the only run of the inning was unearned after Jeff Frazier botched a single to right and turned it into a double. The Astros had runners on second and third with one out, but he got out of it with a pop-up and a fly ball to left.

Gorzelanny was slated to pitch two innings. If he's done, his line will look thusly: 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 H, 1 K.

Mid 2, 7:44: I'm willing to make this point: if the Nationals have some injuries and find themselves in need of a Class AAA infielder to come up to the majors, they will be in good hands with Brian Bixler. He roped an RBI triple to the right-center gap with two outs, scoring Chris Marrero, who had singled. He's had a rock-solid spring, and he seems to have some pop. Anyway, he was stranded when Roger Bernadina grounded out to second. 1-0. Gorzelanny should have one more inning in him.

End 1, 7:37: Tom Gorzelanny got off to a rough start in his first big league inning with the Nationals, but he somehow squirmed out of a jam without allowing a run. Gorzelanny gave up a single to Jason Bourgeois and walked Clint Barmes. In the process of striking out Hunter Pence, he uncorked a wild pitch to put runners on second and third. He then walked Carlos Lee the bases, but Bill Hall bailed him out with a 4-6-3 double play.

Bot 1, 7:14: Just settling in here at Osceola County Stadium, hard by the Reptile Word Serpantarium. Once Tom Gorzelanny departs, given the time of night, I won't be giving the usual amount of updates. The Nats have two down in the first against Wandy Rodriguez, and Jerry Hairston singled to left.

Here's their lineup:

1. Roger Bernadina, LF
2. Danny Espinosa, 2B
3. Jerry Hairston, 3B
4. Wilson Ramos, C
5. Derek Norris, DH
6. Chris Marrero, 1B
7. Jeff Frazier, 1B
8. Rick Ankiel, CF
9. Brian Bixler, SS
-- Tom Gorzelanny, SP

By Adam Kilgore  | March 10, 2011; 7:18 PM ET
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Next: Nationals sign Ron Villone


The Houston radio broadcast time is one of the worst I've ever heard. Man, I can hardly wait to hear Charlie and Dave!

Posted by: COL_DFox | March 10, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sorry, Houston" edition...

Is that a DBT reference? Makes me reminder the hallowed days of Barry S running this thing

Posted by: hoo93 | March 10, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Make that "team," not "time."

Posted by: COL_DFox | March 10, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Ankiel: CUT. I don't care how much Riggleman loves the guy ... now he's letting balls drop in CF?

Posted by: periculum | March 10, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Gorzelanny would have to tank at a Daniel Cabrera or 2010 Jason Marquis level before Gaudin beats him out for a spot in the Opening Day rotation. This is true no matter how well Gaudin pitches in spring training. The reason is simple. Gorzelanny signed a major league deal and has no options left, while Gaudin signed a minor league deal. It's a long season, and if they choose to cut ties with Gorzelanny there's no turning back. The only way is to DFA him. They're not going to do that based solely on ST results. They'll give him time during the season to straighten out. Meanwhile, no action at all is required to assign Gaudin to Syracuse to bide his time until Gorzelanny or another starter falters. Gaudin's best hope would be to make the Opening Day 25-man as a long man in the bullpen.

Of course, this could change due to injury. But the only pitcher whose non-injury related failure would help Gaudin's chances would be Lannan, because IIRC he's the only one with options left. And Lannan looks to be back on track now.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 10, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Gaudin and Maya are more threats to Hernandez and Marquis. Right now Marquis looks good but he could be trade bait. LIvo needs to go to the bullpen as Riggleman's jack-of-all-trades to step aside for youth.

The Nats seem very canny. Three left handed starters in a division that features the Philadelphia Phillies at the top. Riggleman, who likes to play that percentage way over the top would have to admit to that.

Harper looks better than Ankiel thats for damned sure. Surprising how quickly Harper has advanced his game!!!
IMHO should start in Harrisburg and work his way to Syracuse. Hagerstown and Potomac might not present enough of a challenge.

Posted by: periculum | March 10, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Actually, come to think of it Zimmermann does have options left, so he's theoretically a guy Gaudin could beat out for a rotation spot. But Zimmermann is looking too good so far not to keep in the rotation.

And Detwiler's situation is the same as Gaudin's, except that long man in the bullpen isn't a possibility for him. So it will almost certainly be Syracuse for the both of them. But we'll surely see them both in DC at some point this season, either as replacements for injured/faltering rotation members, or for Zimmermann once he hits his innings limit.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 10, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Fielderish - nice one.
Harper now at .375 for the spring.
What exactly is he going to learn in low A ball?

As for Gaudin, there is nothing in his career to make it seem he could really hold down rotation spot for a month, late alone for the year. He is long relief & spot start, and he'll be frustrating and inconsistent at that. He's got 650+ MLB innings, perhaps 2/3 of those as a starter, and in 8 years has a career ERA of 4.61 and career WHIP of 1.51. He didn't just figure it out as he prepares for year 9 of MLB.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 11, 2011 12:51 AM | Report abuse

It sure does look strange to see "Washington" in first place -- even if it's only spring training. Be nice to see that in September.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | March 11, 2011 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Why is the Mock experiment still going on?

Posted by: M20832 | March 11, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

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