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Flores at full strength in Florida

Sep 28, 2010, 11:49 PM EST

Photo courtesy Bill Scheuerman
Jesus Flores has been participating in full in the Florida instructional league.

Encouraging news from Viera, where Jesus Flores is playing at full strength in instructional league games and giving Nationals officials reason to believe he's still in their long-term plans.

Flores, still rehabbing from a shoulder injury that dates back to May 2009, has been participating in full in the instructional league. He homered in his first game, has driven several other balls off the fence and has thrown to all bases with no troubles.

"He's hitting the ball very well at the plate, as expected," Mike Rizzo said. "He's making throws to all the bases. He caught six innings yesterday. He's getting into the swing of catching every day. He's full-go to do everything."

Flores is expected to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, then report to spring training and battle for a roster spot alongside IvanRead more »

  1. Evan S - Sep 29, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    all of this contingent on him still being a National after the winter…

  2. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    Flores will be there … unless traded of course. Wang on the other hand might not.

  3. sjm105 - Sep 29, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    what will the plan be with Pudge, Ramos and Flores (if he is at full strength)?Can we keep 3 catchers and only 4 outfielders?I find it interesting that for a team that is not that good, there are not that many questions for next year. Bullpen – Storen,Burnett,Clippard,Balester,Peralta,Slaten & StammenStarters – here its not as settled Hernandez, Lannan, Marquis,J. Zimm, & either Detwiler or MayaInfield – R. Zimm,Desmond,Espinoza, Dunn, GonzalezOutfield – Morgan,Willingham,Morse,Bernadina and ?Catcher – Pudge,Ramos,Flores (if healthy)That would give you 12 pitchers 3 catchers 5 infielders and 5 outfieldersIf we could sign Crawford and Lee this lineup could do somethingDunn just went deep!!!

  4. TimDz - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:27 AM

    sjm: Pudge is a lock for next year and I am sure that both Ramos and Flores have options left. One will win the MLB job and the other goes to AAA for the year (baring injuries) or until the trade deadline (if Pudge gets traded to a contender).

  5. Anonymous - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:39 AM

    LOL! 2010 isn't even over and people are talking about trading I-Rod to a contender! The Plan sure worked, cause every reasonable person expects next year to be more of the same!

  6. Anonymous8 - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:40 AM

    SJM105/TimDz – Your roster looks about right but not sure about Slaten and Morgan and of course Dunn is still a wild card. Hopefully 1 more years experience will only add to this team's abilities. Without a substantial FA pickup or trade and depth of bench, this team you outlined is only a 75 win team IMHO.Tough to carry 3 catchers but I like that he is a RH batter if the Nats add another lefty OF to the bench. Can JFlo play 1st base as a backup? He is a good bat off of the bench and Pudge is only under contract through 2011.

  7. TimDz - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:57 AM

    Anon @ 11:39 PM:Realistically speaking, the Nats probably won't contend next year. They could pull off a 2010 Padres though…My comment was more focused on having two catchers on next years roster as opposed to three. Given the fact that Pudge will be 39 next season and the likelihood that he may have only one good shot at another series…it would be the classy thing to do for Pudge if the FO sees no playoffs for the Nats in 2011.

  8. Mississippi Snopes - Sep 29, 2010 at 5:10 AM

    Don't forget Derek Norris, the catcher who was one of the Nats' top prospects entering 2010 (Baseball America rated him the #38 prospect in the minors). Norris's star dimmed slightly this year, probably due to injuries (off-season wrist surgery and concussion from HBP), but he still finished at Potomac with an .838 OPS. And he's just 21.It probably won't happen in 2011, but the Nats may have a valuable trading chip at catcher by 2012, whether that is Flores, Ramos, or Norris.

  9. Souldrummer - Sep 29, 2010 at 6:01 AM

    Flores goes down to AAA barring injury. I don't care what kind of spring or winter ball he has. Pudge is under contract for a bunch of money and has shown he's capable of competent work even at this stage of his career. Ramos has done pretty much everything he can do to earn his shot as well. Flores has to start from square one and show that he can stay healthy for at least a quarter season at AAA and that his power and plate discipline remain intact at the plate. In AAA, he'll get the at bats he needs and the opportunity to DH against AL affiliates.With catchers especially, these logjams have a way of working themselves out.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 29, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    Souldrummer…. I agree totally. My concern with Jesus is can he stay healthy…. He looks great, like he's just completed a P90X program for the third time in a row! But staying healthy…. that's the issue.

  11. Harper_ROY_2012 - Sep 29, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Mark,I thought I read somewhere that Ramos has played 1B previously in his minor league career, any chance he becomes a multi-positional guy?

  12. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 29, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    Harper_ROY_2012: Ramos played 12 games at first base in rookie ball four years ago. Otherwise, all he's done as a pro is catch and DH. I don't see a position switch. And Rizzo said yesterday Flores would not be moving to 1B, either.

  13. Juan-John - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    Why do I get the feeling that Rizzo is setting Flores AND Ramos up as trade bait? Barring injuries, they're both full-time, catchers of the future for either the Nats or a team that has something enticing to trade for.

  14. Harper_ROY_2012 - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    Mark,Thanks for the heads up, I guess we will have a great catching platoon in 2012 with Ramos and Flores then!





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