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Nats vs. Astros — 3/17/10

Mar 17, 2010, 4:35 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats are back at Osceola County Stadium … again.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Hello yet again from the spring training home of the Houston Astros, which at this point feels more like the home of the Washington Nationals. This is the third time the Nats have played at Osceola County Stadium this spring, the second time in five days.

I'm guessing George and Barbara Bush won't be in attendance this time as they were Saturday, but you will be pleased to know Adam Dunn will be here. After coming out of yesterday's game with lower back spasms, the Nats' slugger made the trip as promised and will be starting at first base.

Jason Marquis on the mound, making only his second official start of the spring (his last one was rained out). And there's a threat of some light rain this afternoon.

If you didn't see the earlier, shocking news: Elijah Dukes has been given his unconditional release. In slightly less shocking news: Logan Kensing also has been given his unconditional release.

Check back for updates throughout the day, and check out other new posts for non-game-related stuff, including a deeper analysis of the Dukes move…

NATIONALS AT ASTROS
Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: Astros radio via XM and MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Cloudy, 64 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
RF Willy Taveras
SS Cristian Guzman
CF Justin Maxwell
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. Jeff Wang - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    What? No one bemoaning the loss of Logan Kindling? (thanks 1a for the nickname!)

  2. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    Justin Maxwell hitting all of .115 this spring batting 2nd?

  3. HabsProf - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Not bemoaning the loss of Kensing, but according to the ESPN data, Kensing has pitched one inning in spring training. Why did the Nats bring him back if they weren't going to give him a shot? It's not like the guy got lit up in his one inning (no hits, no runs, don't know about walks).Again, not saying he shouldn't have been dumped, but why bother bringing him to camp?

  4. natsfan1a - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Can't recall who said that, but it wasn't me, Jeff.

  5. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    I think with Drew Storen and new pitcher Rafael Martin now in the mix in Syracuse and Harrisburg Kensing's opportunities were about to diminish. They are loaded to the gills with relief pitchers that pitch at AA/AAA at this point.

  6. greg - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    i imagine they've seen kensing's bullpen sessions and decided he just wasn't throwing well enough to keep him over their other options. better to drop him now and get more live hitters for the pitchers they'll actually bring north.

  7. Matthew - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Mark, what have you heard about what will be the Nats gameplan in RF now that Dukes is gone?

  8. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Matthew: Check out the updates on the Dukes posting for the club's plan in RF now.

  9. jcville - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    It would make for some ugly defense, but what about Duncan in RF? I'd prefer Maxwell, but Duncan would seem to be an option there.

  10. Matthew - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Oops, my bad. Do you think they are going to stick to Harris, Maxwell, or Morse or will they look to upgrade before the start of the season?

  11. jcville - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Well, it's a good thing these games don't matter… Anyone else tired of that refrain?

  12. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Did the groundout go to Guzman? Interested in his fielding today.Sec314

  13. Steven - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    So, the future in RF is Willy Taveras?

  14. Jeff Wang - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    actually, this is the third rotation through, right? So it does matter, right?

  15. greg - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    actually, only the second time through for marquis and lannan. they threw sides when they were rained out.

  16. natscan reduxit - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    … my Yankees-fan workmate believes Dunn will be traded before the end of June, and might not even come north with the team. Any rebuttals?Go Nats!!

  17. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Any indication how the players are reacting to the Dukes news?

  18. markfd - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    Was Tavares using a bat he borrowed from Mickey Rivers!?Way to hustle Guz!

  19. Jeeves - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    And Jason Marquis self-proclaimed that he'd like to be a mentor to the young Nationals–Wow!

  20. Sam - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Sam - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    Jeeves: Marquis will teach the young pitchers how to walk off the mound quickly, which their heads down, after getting bombed by a poor offensive team. I think the rest of them is getting the hang of it.

  22. Wally - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    Just saw the Dukes news. I am as surprised as Mark and most posters. Very hard to believe that this was baseball-only, although Rizzo has usually been more candid. I think that JayB got it right that missing the rest of winter ball put him in Rizzo's dog house, and he did not do enough this spring to get out (but I do believe that they tried all avenues to trade him and there were no takers). But even though I am surprised, I am not too bothered because I think that Dukes has really regressed over the last 18 months in terms of power plus plate discipline.I'll bet plan A is a RF platoon of Morse/Duncan with Bernadina as the 4th OF, plus Willie. The final straw for Dukes even could have been a desire to keep both Morse and Duncan on the roster. Also feels like a bunch of trades coming up to shape up rosters (majors and Syracuse). I bet some of the pitching 'surplus' goes (some combo of Martin/Martis/Chico/Stammen).

  23. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    I know it's piling on and arguably less important in March, but there is a reason some baseball fans think Marquis is a bottom of the rotation guy. One has no trouble wondering why he has been left off the playoff roster in the past after a performance like today. Carl in 309

  24. HabsProf - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Wow! Just saw read Marquis' spring training stats. They look ugly. Almost as bad as Capps' numbers.Weren't those guys the two big free agent signings? The guys who were supposed to help the pitching staff?It's still only spring, it's still only spring, it's still only spring…. or so I keep telling myself.

  25. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    The Mets are closing in on Joe Beime, the report I saw in the NY Post today said that besides the Mets, one AL team and one NL team are also talking to his agent.I sure hope the Nationals are that NL Team!

  26. Sam - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    What's with the interest in Joe Beimel? He isn't very good.

  27. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    Mark, I've never been to Spring Training. I recognize that, early on, guys just need to get their work in and work on a specific task (a pitch type, a new release angle, etc). At what point in the spring do they begin to focus more on the full package, as in, doing whatever they need to to get a guy out? 3rd time through? 4th? Not til the last week?-NatinBeantown

  28. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    NatinBeantown: I'd say generally teams are most concerned with spring numbers/results in the final 7-10 days. So the Nats are getting close to that point of no return.

  29. jcville - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    Those walks drive me crazy — isn't Marquis a groundball pitcher? Let 'em put it in play, then, Jason! Capps – you're not helping yourself as a closer by walking the leadoff hitter. These guys are clearly not following the McCatty way of being aggressive…

  30. Natsochist - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    Mark,Have you heard any word that the Nats are considering letting Bruney take a shot at the closing gig, with the way Capps has been getting shelled?

  31. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    I second Natsochist's question with an additional wrinkle..any talk of Storen being allowed to start the season as the closer? Also, can we please see the headline Nats Cut Walker tomorrow, PLEASE!

  32. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Sam said… What's with the interest in Joe Beimel? He isn't very good.Answer: He would improve our current pen and that is all that matters.

  33. Sam - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    He would cost money for, what, one additional win? If that many…there's just no point in signing him.

  34. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    I am very nervous about Capps at this point. And with all the other cuts, how in the world is Walker still in camp?

  35. JohninMPLS - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    Mark, if I send you another $20, will you come home? These updates are actually depressing me now. I prefer the ignorance-is-bliss approach now.

  36. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    Please, Nats fans, don't push the panic button. It is still early. Marquis, Capps, Bruney, they are veterans. They will be ready when the bell will ring.

  37. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    JohninMPLS has an interesting proposal. But here's a twist. If we all put up a little more dough, maybe we can get Mark to stay AND lie to us several times a day with glowing reports of crisp pitching, sharp infield play, timely hitting and deft baserunning. Then we'd be dumb and happy (in my case, fat as well).

  38. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    Sam said… He would cost money for, what, one additional win? If that many…there's just no point in signing him.Answer: Beimel won't cost much, after all he is not signed on 3/17. A bad pen, can loss games, the swing can be a lot more that "one add'l win". Plus if the Nats at out of in July, you can trade him again, get a minor league with upside and not have to pay half of it.

  39. HabsProf - Mar 17, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Interesting post by Rob Neyer re: Dukes.http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/2772/how-history-will-consider-nats-dukes

  40. Sam - Mar 17, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    I agree with Neyer. Now I don't have to write my own blog post. :)

  41. Anonymous8 - Mar 17, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    peric said… Justin Maxwell hitting all of .115 this spring batting 2nd?Can you say .103 and they pinch hit for him on his last at-bat to keep him from dropping to .100This is where Bernadina and Nyjer can help themselves by bunting to get a base hit and help their BA while Maxwell isn't really a bunter. When you look at the home run and one of Maxwell's other hits came off of AAA relievers later in the game. I want to see what my fringe guys are doing against real Major League pitchers.Duncan and Maxwell need to be sent to the Minor League camp now to get themselves straightened out.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 46 --
ATLANTA 58 48 0.5
MIAMI 52 53 6.0
NEW YORK 51 55 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 60 12.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
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