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Atilano optioned, Maxwell on way?

Jul 9, 2010, 9:57 PM EDT

The Nationals have optioned right-hander Luis Atilano to Class AAA Syracuse, a move made to give the club an extra position player until the fifth starter's spot comes back up July 20.

No corresponding move was announced, but Justin Maxwell was scratched from Syracuse's lineup tonight, raising the likelihood the outfielder is en route to Washington and will be in uniform tomorrow.

Atilano, who is 6-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 15 starts, allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings last night and was charged with the loss against the Padres. He was told his demotion will only be temporary and that he'll be recalled in time to start the Nationals' fifth game coming out of the All-Star break (July 20 at Cincinnati).

In the meantime, Atilano will start Thursday for Syracuse, with an emphasis on refining the breaking ball that betrayed him during last night's outing. That will leave him on schedule to rejoin the Nats' rotation five days later.

"Definitely I'm going to work on getting my breaking stuff the right way," he said. "Hopefully I find it down there in one start or two,Read more ยป

  1. Positively Half St. - Jul 9, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    I am actually impressed with this move. I don't know that Maxwell has earned any promotion, honestly, but why not strengthen the bench for a little while, since an option is good the entire year? I have been impressed with Atilano, as a kid who was bought on the cheap, and has managed to be at least as good as many of the free agents the team has aquired over the last 5 1/2 seasons. Any time you trade for a lower level kid in exchange for a bench player, and he manages to win as much as he loses, you should be content. The team's problem is that this has been the extent of "The Plan," other than stinking so bad that the Nats get the top draft pick.The team can create amazing good will by making trades this month that take on salary from teams that overspent. Kasten would like us not to care about how much the team spends, but the truth is that spending a lot of money with a good GM gives a team flexibility. The Cubs may be in bad straits, but the Yankees and Red Sox always seem to be flush enough to trade away prospects for blue chips. And why do they have these prosepects? They are in the same draft, but they have such solid talent that they can trade people for prospects, as well.

  2. court - Jul 9, 2010 at 10:57 PM

    Good stuff Mark. This move makes sense, the way Luis has been pitching, he needs the work, not a break. When is Lannan's next start? Or Detwiler? I'd be nice to have Ross back after the break. I also like the decision to keep sKs on a regular schedule (as well as make him the ace). We'll (hopefully) have plenty of starting pitching in Sept – he's needed now. And giving him an irregular schedule could do more damage than good.

  3. Cwj - Jul 9, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    Oh no, please not Maxwell again…

  4. Anonymous - Jul 10, 2010 at 12:34 AM

    Maxwell?? Say it isn't true. He will just take at bats away from Morse. Morse can hit and Maxwell can't. Bringing up Maxwell makes absolutely no sense. He's been a bust every time he comes up.

  5. anonymous8 - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    Yes, Maxwell is on his way. I have confirmed this. Is the 3rd time a charm or harm?

  6. Jeeves - Jul 10, 2010 at 2:55 AM

    Maxwell will be very good. How soon? I don't know. But he will be good. Feel free to crap on me. It's what bloggers do best.

  7. Jeeves - Jul 10, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    Oh, and you people out there so keen on B.J. Upton. Have you checked his stats over the last year and a half?

  8. HHover - Jul 10, 2010 at 3:44 AM

    Thanks, Mark. Since the question of starting pitching has come up, any news from the Nats management about their timetable for Lannan? After a good first start down in AA Harrisburg, he's had one horrendous and one poor start, which aren't good signs for a quick return.

  9. lasatcsc - Jul 10, 2010 at 4:14 AM

    Jeeves, I`m with you. Maxwell will be good someday, I just hope it`s with the Nats and not someone else. In any event, his upside kicks Willie H`s best season in the butt. Time to let Willie go and give Maxwell his ABs.

  10. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 10, 2010 at 4:38 AM

    The U.S. wins the World Cup.Jim Gray asks a sensible question.LeBron James says it's not about the money.And J-Max can hit big league pitching.Q. Can you pick out the truthful sentence?A. None.

  11. aspenbubba - Jul 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Actually the promotion of JMax tells us how poor the Nationals farm system is at the top levels. If this is the only 'position" MLB ready prospect on the 40 man we are indeed in trouble.I feel that this maybe the last chance for Maxwell to strut his stuff.I agree that it does take away bats from Morse as someone else posted.

  12. Dave - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    How about if JMax is coming up to be showcased for a trade? Maybe he has a hitty streak while here, or flashes some impressive leather, right before the trade deadline.Surely he's not being seen as a real option for the big-league outfield!?

  13. MICHAEL MORSE FAN - Jul 10, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    So today and tomorrow you would hope Michael Morse was facing the Giants lefty pitchers and now I am thinking Justin Maxwell may step in for another chance to shine against a lefty/righty setup.I hope Michael Morse gets a start both days as he deserves it!

  14. Anonymous - Jul 10, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    Why does Riggleman hate Morse? He did the same crap to this young man while in Seattle, as if Morse is the alter-ego to Willie Harris (who can do no wrong). OOPS! I forgot about Jim Riggleman's rigorous, strict set of standards for being a starter: which side of the plate you stand on with a bat. Starting and past performance are IN NO WAY related on this Nationals' squad. It's why Guzman will always get the nod over a Gonzalez or a Kennedy.Maxim for the Nationals' management: If a player gets hot at bat, bench him…unless he's being paid "too much to fail."

  15. N. Cognito - Jul 10, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Maxwell can't hit major league pitching.Period.End of story.

  16. Anonymous - Jul 10, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Starting and past performance are IN NO WAY related on this Nationals' squad. It's why Guzman will always get the nod over a Gonzalez or a Kennedy.Maxim for the Nationals' management: If a player gets hot at bat, bench him…unless he's being paid "too much to fail."JMax hitting .140 in the majors right now. Nevertheless, you can bet your bottom dollar he won't be a bench player. Riggs will immediately pencil his "man crush" into the starting lineup. He looks brilliant with his idiosyncratic lineups in one game (and that's because Dunn has suddenly become the best power bat in baseball?) and suddenly he gets his guy back from Syracuse. What anon 9:39 said is truly profound. Little league management at its best, that's the Bad News Nats.

  17. Anonymous - Jul 10, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    I don't know that Maxwell has earned any promotion, honestly, but why not strengthen the bench for a little while, since an option is good the entire year?Maxwell on the bench? On a Riggleman managed team? Surely you jest half-street? He is a starter and Morse is again relegated to the Riggs dog house.

  18. sjm105 - Jul 10, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    agree with a lot of what 1/2 street said, especially about spending money. Hope Maxwell will not start right away but does give us depth. This team is so much better than last year, not sure why they still get so much hate. Look at the depth on our bench (except back-up catcher which was supposed to be a Flores/Pudge deal). Agreed we don't have many position players in the minors but we sure have pitching and I am guessing trades will be made in the near future.

  19. Anonymous8 - Jul 10, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Well, just as I thought. Maxwell starting and in leadoff. JMax better reward his "man crush" Rizzo with a big night!Pathetic if you ask me.

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