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Rodriguez placed on DL [updated]

May 24, 2010, 2:58 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats will be without Pudge for at least two weeks.

[UPDATE AT 4:40 P.M. -- The Nationals will purchase Carlos Maldonado's contract from Class AAA Syracuse tomorrow and add him to the big-league roster as Ivan Rodriguez's replacement. Maldonado, 31, appeared in 21 games with the Pirates in 2006-07 and was hitting .218 in 26 games at Syracuse before his promotion.]

Ivan Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list this morning with a lower back strain, a significant blow for a Nationals club that is woefully thin in the catching department right now.

When Rodriguez had to come out of Saturday's game against the Orioles with a recurrence of the back pain that has nagged him on and off all season, it didn't raise too many red flags. But then the future Hall of Famer said he would need at least a couple of days off. When he didn't board the team's charter flight to San Francisco last night, a DL move seemed imminent.

All of a sudden, the Nationals face a major dilemma behind the plate. Wil Nieves takes over as the primary starter, but he's never been an everyday catcher in the big leagues. And the organization has no viable backup to him at this moment.

Chris Coste (picked up in late spring) just had Tommy John surgery and is done for the year. Jamie Burke (picked up late last season in a similar emergency situation) is still recovering from knee surgery. Jesus Flores is nowhere near ready to return from his shoulder injury. The two catchers at Syracuse are journeymen Carlos Maldonado andRead more ยป

  1. Mike - May 24, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    But for the immediate term, you have to bring up either Maldonado or Ivany, right? You don't want to be forced to put Josh Willingham behind the plate. Both AAA guys are miserable at the plate, so I'd call up whichever is better defensively.

  2. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    We were asking about this very issue a few days ago. Why have they not put Coste on the 60 day? They are wasting a 40 man spot by keeping a guy with TJ counting against the 40 man….Is this Lerner being cheap again?Something also smells with Flores injury. We need to find out what his daily baseball activities are at this point…….90 days after spring training what can he do?How can Rizzo's brain trust be so good (just ask the Nats FO and they will tell you they are the best and brightest) and still have no plan if a 38 year catcher goes down……Inexcusable really.

  3. LoveDaNats - May 24, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Well,that's scary. Hang in there, Nieves. The team needs you.

  4. Anonymous - May 24, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Who?

  5. Anonymous - May 24, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Josh Bard is currently unemployed….

  6. Anonymous - May 24, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Ahem. Josh Bard is the starting catcher for the Mariners!Also, Nats just announced they're recalling J-Max. It's on the team site.

  7. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    Bard does not have a job for a good reason………………..He can not catch….passed balls and stolen bases…rather have Morse back there at least he can hit.

  8. NV - May 24, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Anyway to get the MASN Commercial embedded in here, Mark?"WIL NIEVES!!!"

  9. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    Bard six games with SEA 1 error 0 for 3 on stolen bases….0 BP….yet…..

  10. Anonymous - May 24, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Bard had a couple hits in the M's game I watched the other day. How bout we just move the draft up a couple weeks and call up Mr. Harper?

  11. Steve M. - May 24, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Anon @ 11:21JMax played for the Nats yesterday.

  12. Steve M. - May 24, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Looks like Wil Nieves will be catching Stephen Strasburg in his 1st MLB game.So the question marks go to the new backup catcher as well as who will take Olsen's spot in the rotation for 1 start as I would think that spot will go to Strasburg and Atilano and Stammen are in the rotation until Olsen comes off the DL and possibly has a Minor League tuneup start.

  13. SilverSpring8 - May 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    @MikeHarrisWasn't the who made Frank Robinson cry named Matt LeCroy?

  14. natsfan1a - May 24, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Yep, that would be Mr. LeCroy.

  15. natsfan1a - May 24, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    LeCroy is managing the Hagerstown Suns.

  16. Anonymous - May 24, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    They should bring up Brian Peacock from Potomac. The Nats have pretty much buried the poor kid.

  17. Chris - May 24, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Take a step back form the ledge and breathe, people. Pudge isn't seriously hurt, but the FO wants to avoid having his injury get worse by sitting on a plane for two long flights.At most we'll need a back-up catcher for the Houston, SD, SF and maybe the Cincy series – depending on when the DL is retroactive. Maldanado has had a few cups of coffee in the bigs so for one or two starts (if he's the choice) we'll be fine. And if he's not Rizzo's choice there are plenty of other FA catchers that can fill in.

  18. Kyle - May 24, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Wheres a young Derek Norris at?

  19. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Chris,That is accepting losing….we have had those years, and this year we expect more. Will N is not a front line catcher for any about of time. Rizzo's front office is so smart they should have a plan to keep winning even is a key player goes down…that is what they said they were doing this past winter….let's see the plan Mr. Rizzo.

  20. bdrube - May 24, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    @Kyle – He just got beaned in the head and is out for 7-10 days. :(

  21. Doc - May 24, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    Derek Norris is sitting out a mild concussion, otherwise it might make some sense to bring him up for a short period of times.

  22. Bowdenball - May 24, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    What JayB said.This is a big deal not because of our new absence at backup catcher, but because that means Nieves is our starting catcher for this critical ten game road trip. That would have been fine for the 100 loss teams of the past, but not for the 2010 Nats.

  23. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    This team needs a catcher who can catch. Norris is way, way below a MLB catcher in his skills. He really should be in Low Single A based on catching skills…even then look at his stats…..not good at all….He needs to find a position or better be traded and let some other team deal with a guy with not defensive skills.

  24. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    The real question here is what went wrong with Flores…..He was the plan….Mark, please, info on what he is doing as far as baseball activities and with what level of success?

  25. Richard - May 24, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    It is a serious matter for another reason — the Nats have been overworking an aged catcher. I love Pudge, and he is really great, but he is probably too old to play every single day. He will come back from this soon, but if they continue to overwork him, it will happen again, and maybe not such a minor injury. I'm old, I know these things!

  26. Anonymous - May 24, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Paul Hoover was just DFAed by the Phillies. Nice arm and has been getting playing time in front of large crowds. Probably an equal for Nieves in the bat department. The transition would be easy.

  27. NG - May 24, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Some of the commentary on this thread is priceless. Criticizing Rizzo because you don't like the backup to the backup (Nieves) to the backup (Flores) to the starting catcher (Pudge)? Name the team that's done a better job planning for this contingency. And who should Rizzo have signed that would have substantially improved things? And you can't put a player on the 60-day disabled list (Coste) unless you add another player to the 40-man. What would the point of doing that before Pudge's injury have been, other than wasting an option year on someone who was going to be in the minors anyway? This isn't cheap, it's roster management. I'm glad the front office understands this better than certain blog commenters…

  28. NatinBeantown - May 24, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Seriously, can we back off the FO on this one? In ST, Flores was Plan A, progressing from injury. Pudge was Plan B, and Nieves was Plan C insurance. When Flores started to not look like he would be ready, Pudge and Nieves moved up a peg and Coste became Plan D. So with Plan A and Plan D hurt indefinitely, Plan B currently nursing some game injuries, we have a temporary need to fill. But can we not freak out and question why there was no plan??There are tons of AAAA guys who are perfectly adequate to fill in for a few starts while Pudge is out for two weeks.All that said, catching depth is a system-wide issue, which is one reason I think they might be less inclined to move Harper if he's the one drafted.

  29. Doc - May 24, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    I'm like everyone else, wad's happening to Flores?? Is he returning this year? We're going into June, and no word on his status. Can he throw? Is he taking BP? Somin stinks here how the Nats have handled his one injury, that all of a sudden became two injuries.

  30. Rachel - May 24, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    I think Rizzo will want more than just a place-holder for this road trip.http://bit.ly/cgMgt6

  31. Bowdenball - May 24, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    There's really only one person giving the F.O. a hard time here. Everyone else is just upset that we're losing a very valuable piece as we head into this road trip. And rightfully so.There's also some legitimate questions being asked about the handling of Flores' injury, but they're just that- questions.

  32. Joe - May 24, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    What is the status of Jamie Burke? I'd think he'd be the logical option, if he can play.

  33. alexva - May 24, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    On NJ site, May 4, Rizzo said Flores, Detwiler and Wang were still a few weeks from rehab assignment. Not much to go on, I'll admit. Unlike RF, I would think only the most fervent Rizzo basher (guess who) would pin this situation on the front office.

  34. K.D. - May 24, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    The Nats have survived Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn being unavailable for days in succession or less than stellar in production in the latter's case. The team needs Pudge back and healthy for the mid-season grind. He hasn't been on the DL for years, it doesn't seem serious just nagging, he should take care of it now and come back re-energized. Nieves should be rested enough to hold the staff together until he returns.

  35. Chris - May 24, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Thank God there's a few sane posters on this blog. I was beginning to worry that JayB was allowed to go off at the keyboard completely unchecked. All he does is bitch and moan about EVERYTHING Rizz and Riggs do. It's become borderline unbearable and was ruining Zuck's blog for me. Now that I know he's a running joke it'll be easier to ignore his foolishness. Thanks NG, alexva and NatinBeanTown for restoring my faith in Nats fans.

  36. Rachel - May 24, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    K.D., part of the reason we could hold on without Zim (and barely survived w/out Dunn) was because the bottom of our lineup was producing. Wil won't be that kind of boost (Sorry Wil, I do love you to death).

  37. Knoxville Nat - May 24, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    JayB has passed blame on to everyone but George Bush. Apparently he hasn't gotten the memo from the big O on that one yet.

  38. Steve M. - May 24, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    KD – I agree. I think Wil Nieves will do a fine job behind the dish for the next 12 to 14 games and luckily there are enough days off in the schedule that Wil can handle it.IMHO, I thought the team did well with Zim on the bench but not as well with Adam Dunn on the bench.When is Rizzo going to get Dunn inked for a few more years?

  39. Anonymous - May 24, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Knoxville Nat said… "JayB has passed blame on to everyone but George Bush. Apparently he hasn't gotten the memo from the big O on that one yet. "Because he's one of those petulant whiners. Got old a long time ago. I wonder what his blog is like.

  40. K.D. - May 24, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    re: Rachel, I agree with what you wrote except that unlike earlier Ryan and Adam are producing now and hopefully will cover for the loss of Pudge's bat. It's their time to pick up Pudge, since he (and other's) picked them up earlier. I guess we will find out soon. It's good that Livan starts out the road trip, he should set a calming tone.

  41. markfd - May 24, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    Let's give Devin Ivany a chance to back up Wil.

  42. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    They have had plenty of time to deal with the facts on Flores not being able to come back. Rizzo made no attempt to deal with reality of a 38 year old catcher and a sub par backup….fact is the team is going to be hurt by lack of planning here.

  43. alexva - May 24, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    Come on, do you really consider Nieves a sub par backup? I believe their record in games he started is over .500. If Burke is available to join the roster then the only alternative was to deal players just in case this happened. I can't believe I'm arguing with you on this but don't overstate the facts to voice your dissaproval.

  44. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    sample size this year is small…..take a look at record over the past 3 years….

  45. alexva - May 24, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Yeah, I'll get right on that. My point is that he is an adequate backup and while I suspect you don't agree, you didn't answer my question.

  46. NatsJack in Florida - May 24, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Nieves is an excellent backup. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to playing consecutive games.

  47. NG - May 24, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    But JayB, which of the plethora of Joe Mauer-type free agents that were scrambling to be the Nationals' fifth catcher in Spring Training do you think (even with the benefit of hindsight) they should have signed to have made the situation better? That's the thing that's always missing from your constant criticisms: what could the team have done differently to absolve them of the criticism.

  48. Daniel the Nats Fan - May 24, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Stammen and Lannen have not been pitchign very good lately and they really need to pikc it up now with Olsen gone for a while. Hes been pitching pretty well consitering his track reord in the past. Rodriguez ism a big loss becasue he really gives the Nats something theyve been missing for a long time the want to win !

  49. Rachel - May 24, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    K.D. good point on the middle of the lineup producing now.@others: don't get me wrong. I think Nieves is one of the best backup catchers we've had. But relying solely on him for the full 10-day road trip plus a few days back at home with *nobody* else nearby to back *him* up, is frightening at best.

  50. NatsJack in Florida - May 24, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Maybe we could have finagaled a Molina brother from somebody. Thank god Posada wasn't available or he'd be on the IR with Pudge!JayB offers so many options in his posts. I even believe he's been lobbying for the recently demoted Chuck James to join our starting staff.Jaime Burke will be OK for a week or two. Everyone relax.

  51. Bowdenball - May 24, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    K.D. and Rachel, I'm not sure which Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman you've been watching, but the ones I've been watching are ice cold. Since that 14 run outburst in Colorado ten games ago they've combined for a grand total of seven RBIs. Seven RBIs over ten games from your 3 and 4 hitters combined isn't what I'd call "producing." I used RBIs because that's what I assumed you meant by producing, but for sabermetric types, I assure you their OPSs have been plummeting.I'm sure they're just in mini-slumps and it's nothing to be worried about, but let's not pretend they're producing when they're not.

  52. rmoore446 - May 24, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    Quick question JayB: back in the spring were you posting using the handle: "Peric"? The tone and style are very similar.

  53. Mark Zuckerman - May 24, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    If you guys haven't seen the update I posted at the top of the page, the Nats are going to purchase Carlos Maldonado's contract from Syracuse and make him Wil Nieves' backup for now.

  54. Rachel - May 24, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    d'oh. Guess i was wrong. But if Rizzo makes a move to acquire another catcher in the next 10 days, I still get bragging rights. ;)

  55. Jaxpo Nat - May 24, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    Look, I dread seeing Nieves in the lineup just as much as the next guy, but, as a back up, I guess he is adequate. Let us not forget that he was the Yankees backup for a brief time before he came to DC. Look around the league at other team's backups. Hanigan? A. Ellis? J. Lucroy? And those are on winning NL clubs (Reds, Dodgers, Brewers). And once again, who do you trade-mongers want Rizzo to plug in? Yes, he can just simply pull the trigger and have Russell Martin or Brian McCann tomorrow. No, you think trading is a far simpler process than it really is. Hopefully Pudge will be back soon.

  56. Dan - May 24, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    Maldonado has been catching Strasburg in Syracuse. Just saying.

  57. Jim Webster - May 24, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    OK naysayers, cut 'em some slack. Matt LeCroy is still on the payroll and can borrow a mitt. Failing that, isn't my man Robert Fick unsigned somewhere?

  58. JayB - May 24, 2010 at 10:14 PM

    Mark,Can you please get us some detailed information on Flores. What baseball related activities is he doing and at what level….Hitting live pitching or not, Playing in games behind the plate or not. Throwing at what distances and in game settings or not….This is going to turn into a major issue very soon. Pudge is not going to catch 120 games this year and if they play Will N. any more than backup role of 30 -40 games the team will be putting up a white flag. What is the story on Flores please.

  59. K.D. - May 24, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    Thanks for the update Mark.

  60. natsfan1a - May 24, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    Geez, can't we let Mark enjoy his off-day? I'm sure he'll track down the Flores info and get back to us.In other news, don't forget to vote for your fave moment in the Battle of the Beltway (coz the inside-the-parker is currently in the lead – yuck):http://masnsports.com/the_goessling_game/

  61. Andrew - May 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    So Ivany had a passed ball in Strasburg's start tonight giving up Strasburg's 1st run (unearned) in his AAA career and he just gave up a seeing eye single for the 1st earned run.

  62. Anonymous - May 25, 2010 at 1:11 AM

    Strasburg must have been distracted tonight by that hot blond rocking the red top in that seat right behind the plate.

  63. Herr Anonymous - May 25, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    Well, Rizzo's been talking to Houston. Have to wonder if Jason Castro's (no, not the singer) name has been bandied about? He is a top catching prospect in AAA who may be blocked by the current starter? AND THIS GUY BATS LEFT!

  64. Anonymous - May 25, 2010 at 1:44 AM

    This must truly be the whiner's blog … whine, baseball, and thongs. Sheesh you even whine about other posters whether its Peric or JayB? Haven't you anything better to do with your time? Do you even have jobs?

  65. Anonymous - May 25, 2010 at 3:19 AM

    Welcome back, peric.

  66. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 25, 2010 at 3:59 AM

    This is off on a completely different subject, but did anyone catch Mrs. Matt Capps on MASN during that Nationals Foundation dinner the other night? OMG. Prettiest. Baseball. Wife. Ever.She used to be Mrs. Johnny Sauter of NASCAR fame. That didn't work out. She's now Mrs. Matt Capps.To paraphrase: "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth…"

  67. Anonymous - May 25, 2010 at 4:21 AM

    Yeah, Strasburg's start today reminded me just how important a good catcher is… a catcher who can't block strikes, calls the game predictably, and has trouble throwing guys out can be the difference between winning and losing a ballgame. Not that Strasburg lost, but most of our other pitchers are not Strasburg either.

  68. Chris - May 25, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    Is there anything better than a person whining about other people whining? Oh, and don't forget the third-grade level insult… Good stuff.

  69. Anonymous - May 25, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    "This must truly be the whiner's blog … whine, baseball, and thongs. Sheesh you even whine about other posters whether its Peric or JayB? Haven't you anything better to do with your time? Do you even have jobs?"DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT YOU ARE WHINING ABOUT THE WHINERS. LOL.

  70. Anonymous - May 25, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT YOU ARE WHINING ABOUT THE WHINERS. LOL.And "the WHINERS" the latest entry in the President's race. Can they beat Teddy? Be a great name for this blog: The Nationals Whiners.

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