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Two years later, Flores ready to play

Feb 27, 2011, 6:36 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jesus Flores has participated fully in camp and is ready to play in games.

VIERA, Fla. — Sometime during tomorrow’s Grapefruit League opener in Port St. Lucie, Bryce Harper will trot out of the Nationals’ dugout and assume his position in right field. All eyes will focus on the 18-year-old, curious to see how he handles his first big-league exhibition game.

Around the same time, Jesus Flores will take his spot behind the plate, drawing far fewer eyes. Make no mistake, though: Flores’ first appearance in a big-league game in nearly two years is in its own way just as significant a development as Harper’s ballyhooed debut.

Sidelined since May 2009 with a major shoulder injury, Flores is finally healthy again and ready to resume a career that looked like it was about to take off before he got hurt.

“I’m excited about it,” the 26-year-old catcher said. “I want to show everybody that Jesus Flores is back. It’s not a shoulder issue anymore. For me, it’s done. It’s over with.”

Read my full story on Flores on CSNwashington.com.

  1. Doc - Feb 27, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Good update on Flores, Mark. To be on the out-side of your career for 2 years, is a lot to live through.As much as I was able to follow the Venezuelan Winter Leagues, and Flores' progress, it looked like opposing runners stopped trying to run on him after he threw out all runners in his first few games.Ramos had a great Winter League too! 8-9 HRs and about 40 RBIs in 48 games. It would be interesting to hear how scouts rate this league. Seens like it's between AA and AAA.We're so much beter this year in the C department, it's unbelieveable. Since Pudge is going to be traded sooner, rather than later, trading Flores doesn't seem wise. Having a good C, is not an easy roster achievement; having 2 good Cs is not so much a luxury, as an asset.

  2. Sunderland - Feb 27, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Given that Pudge is going to get more than half the games, at least April – June, my guess is that Ramos stays with the big club to play 2 – 3 times a weel and Flores goes to AAA where he can play 5 – 6 times a week.As far as I'm concerned, moving Pudge can't come soon enough, even if all we get is a bag of balls. It's not as though if we time it right we'll get a decent return for Pudge. His value is low, and even if he hits reasonably well (.270 with no power and a terrible OBP is the best you can hope for) it will remain low.His defense is fine, but it's not like Ramos and Flores are slouches in that department. I'd rather have Flores and Ramos in DC, Norris in Syracuse and Pudge somewhere else.

  3. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Rodriguez's value may peak if a contender has an injury problem, and needs an established veteran backup catcher. There is no one more established and veteran than Pudge. No one seems to be in that situation now, of course, but even early in the season, that could come about. There's no rush.

  4. JD - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Sunderland, I agree with you completely. Trying to maximize Pudge's value is wishful thinking; it's not happening. If everyone gets through spring training healthy and ready I think we need to give Ramos and Flores 3 games a week each. Incidentally; LaRoche can't hit lefties at all; how about Flores at 1st against lefties?

  5. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 27, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Flores is a catcher. LaRoche plays first. Different positions.

  6. Doc - Feb 27, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Yeah, it's time to think about Ramos/Flores doing some double duty at 1B, in addition to stopping the ball behind the plate. The very old Yankees had Berra and Howard, both catching and playing LF. Now with the DH, they have Martin and Posada (C and DH, with Montero in the wings.One thing for sure, we don't want to trade Flores, have Ramos injured, and end up with a Nieves and ? for the Nats catching department. Next year they could figure Norris into the equation. Having two guys who can put the gear on is a necessity.

  7. sparky - Feb 27, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Maybe Storen can play some LF sometime, and Ballester can take his long left handed frame to 1B too.

  8. Natsochist - Feb 27, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Doc – no need to worry about part of that scenario. Nieves is with the Brewers now.

  9. Knoxvile Nat - Feb 27, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    If you want to bench LaRoche against LH pitching why not play Morse at first base?

  10. Slidell - Feb 27, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    Doc: not to be nit-picky, but Yogi, at least, did some of his late-career subbing in RF. I remember seeing him at Griffith Stadium about 1960 or '61; he looked a bit lonesome out there all by himself, nothing or no one to talk to but that big green wall!

  11. JaneB - Feb 27, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    I thought Nieves wasn't on tbe roster anymore? I hope Flores is the major leaguer we all hoped he be, and fast out of the gates. I remember him at RFK flying after foul balls and the first hiker he hit. I like him. I'm glad his nightmare is over.

  12. jd - Feb 27, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    knoxville,because Morse will play LF against lefties.I think that Flores can really improve his marketability by adding a 1st baseman's glove to his equipment bag.

  13. Anonymous - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    @JD:LaRoche's splits vs. LHP/RHPCareer vs. RHP: .277/.349/.501Career vs. LHP: .254/.307/.446 2010 vs. RHP: .259/.331/.4712010 vs. LHP: .264/.297/.462Yes, he's better against RHP. But far from hopeless against LHP. Let's not platoon him just yet.bertbkatz

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