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Nats at Marlins – 3/9/11

Mar 9, 2011, 2:35 PM EST

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats travel to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter to face the Marlins.

Some of you have been asking about Ryan Zimmerman's absence from the lineup the last couple days due to a strained oblique muscle, and whether this injury is any cause for concern. By all accounts, the answer is no. This is a minor strain, unrelated to the one that sidelined Zim for the final 10 games last season. Sounds like if this was the regular season, he'd be playing.

Zimmerman's absence, though, does underscore one of the big reasons you can't read a whole lot into early spring training results: Teams rarely field their entire starting lineup. In fact, only once in 10 Grapefruit League games so far have the Nats trotted out a lineup that could legitimately resemble the one they'll have on Opening Day (March 1 against the Mets, though Adam LaRoche was still restricted to DH duties that day).

Managers do make a point to start using their regular lineup during the final week or two of camp, provided everyone's healthy. By then, Zimmerman's oblique should be a thing of the past.

As for today's game against the Marlins in Jupiter, well, Laynce Nix is hitting third. Need we say more…

(Programming note: I'll be appearing on today's episode of "Lunchbox Live" on, talking Nats (and possibly other stuff) with host Ivan Carter. The show begins at noon; click on this link to watch it live.)

Where: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 19 mph RF to LF

CF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Laynce Nix
1B Adam LaRoche

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  1. alexva - Mar 9, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    I find it interesting that Harper has played in all but one game but, to the best of my recollection, no starts.

  2. HHover - Mar 9, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    @Alexva I don’t think that’s so surprising: he’s a phenom, yes, and he's going to draw the spotlight. But there’s still a pecking order here.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 9, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    And by playing him later in games, he's mostly facing his peer group which would be AA or AAA players. He definitely will be at the AA level before the season is over.

  4. TimDz - Mar 9, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Quick poll for the denizens here:Chris Marrero: Does he stick here or does he get traded to an AL team as a potential DH, say by this time next year? I've been hearing that the glove has improved, as has his range. With LaRoache here this year and next, it may make sense to keep him. If he struggles in AA/AAA this season, I wouldn't be surprised to see him packaged to an AL team looking for a future DH…

  5. phil dunn - Mar 9, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    No Werth again today. It isn't like he can't use some at bats. He's been less than decent at the plate. I sure hope he doesn't turn out to be a dud. He had lots of support in that powerful Phillies lineup and the ballpark is a band-box. If he reverts to his pre-Phillies days, the Nats are in deep doo doo.

  6. DFL - Mar 9, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Ironically, Laynce Nix will be hitting third at Syracuse in April.

  7. Rabbit - Mar 9, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    Phil Dunn….I've been thinking the same about Werth. He has shown the least among all the players, well..except for Morgan whom I really don't think much of.

  8. Theophilus - Mar 9, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Re: MarreroTeams don't trade for DHs. The typical DH is a veteran who no longer can play in the field, e.g., Guerrero or Edgar Martinez, or who has become redundant (Posada, Michael Young) or whose lack of fielding skills dictates full-time DH status (Dunn). They are available by the dozen on the FA market every season. The only "young" DH I can think of has been Butler in KC, and they have finally put him at 1B. Marrero as a DH is unlikely to fetch anything of value in a trade. If he has improved significantly in the field, and has decent offense at Syracuse, someone might want him as a 1B but the lists of Top-100 minor league prospects are heavy w/ first basemen — at least a half dozen that are close to ready. Again assuming improvement in the field, Marrero's highest value to the Nats is as a call-up if LaRoche gets hurt, or as a hedge against LaRoche being traded in 2012 or deciding he can do better elsewhere when his contract is up.

  9. JD - Mar 9, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Theophilus, That's a really good analysis; besides teams have started using veterans at DH to rest them. The Yankees did that some with Posada and Arod.Marrero also has not shown that he is such a great power hotter where teams would give up anything for him just to DH. Marrero's best bet is to keep climbing in our organization at least until he proves that he is a legit MLB hitter.

  10. SCNatsFan - Mar 9, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    If Marrero proves he can hot then there will be a spot for him somewhere, be it here or somewhere else. If you have the talent then there will always be a spot for you.

  11. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    phil dunn said… No Werth again today.—————He has soreness in his legs.

  12. Pilchard - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Before the 2010 season, the A's traded for Jake Fox, when he was essentially young DH playing for an NL team (the Cubs). Then again, Jake Fox was putting up some unbelievable AAA numbers (.409/.495/835/1.336 BA/OBP/SLG/OPS) when the A's traded for him. FWIW, he did nothing for the A's, who then dealt him to the Orioles.

  13. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    On Marrero and anyone else, I want to see someone who earns a spot on the Opening Day roster make it, but it is still too early on Marrero. Let Marrero start some games against real rotation guys and lets see how he handles it. Some of these matchups like the one Eury Perez got yesterday was against a no name. The Mets announcers didn't know who he was or how to pronounce his name whether it was pronounced Buyer or Bayer. It was actually humorous.Lets see how 2 bubble guys (Nix and Stairs) do today vs. Vasquez.Bixler has a tough road ahead of him with all the competition. Frasier is a possibility if we can see more of him but my guess is Riggles and Rizzo already have it down to Hairston, Cora, AGonzalez, Nix and Stairs with Hairston almost certainly in.The bullpen is WIDE open IMO. Burnett and Clippard are in for sure.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Actually, Werth may have a sore butt from sitting on the bench.

  15. md_schmidt - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Quick question for any of you Spring Training experts: Which Nats staffer(s) is primarily focused on Nats player evaluations during Spring Training? Do they use the assistance of their own scouts or just the big league coaching staff? Would seem like they might want / need the extra assistance of some scouts to dig into each AB, P, play, matchups, etc and the coaching staff may not catch all aspects. I'm sure teams have this down pat, but I was just curious.

  16. joemktg - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    NatsJack: you're closest at ground level…is there a published list of which player in the organization is where? In other words: who is down at Viera, and where are they? Obvious as to where the upper level guys are at, but looking to find out who else is in this mysterious congregation of attendees.

  17. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    How didn't Michael Morse score from 3rd with no outs and Pudge hitting into a DP on a grounder to shortstop?It happens but there is Pudge's #1 inning killer coming back to haunt the Nats, the ole DP.

  18. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    The Washington Times I think officially hired a Nationals beat writer Amanda Comak who used to write for the Cape Cod Times on everything baseball.

  19. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    2 hits and 1 walk against Marquis through 3 innings. SOLID!!!

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    joemktg…. the Nats (and most other ML teams) do not print a ML camp roster due to the extreme # of guys in camp. However, if you go to Wikipedia and check "Nationals Minor League Roster" you'll get a listing of every player under contract and that's who's in camp. The big club will bring up one or two guys a game (especially on road trips) from the minor league camp like Lombardozzi and Perez yesterday.I go over early on game day weekends to watch some of the games and workouts. You'll see lots of duplicate numbers and most guys with no names on their backs, so you need to know who's who. I look forward to catching a game with A.J. Cole pitching soon.

  21. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    So Marquis pitched an impressive 4th inning with Hanley Ramirez leading off and got him to ground out.So 4 innings by Marquis with 2 hits and 1 walk!VERY SOLID!!!

  22. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Marquis got 8 of his 12 outs through groundouts and 3 through strikeouts. Only 1 ball hit in the air.

  23. SCNatsFan - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    I know its early but the SP is giving me hope this year might be different

  24. N. Cognito - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "I look forward to catching a game with A.J. Cole pitching soon."Are you on the 40-man or a non-roster invitee?

  25. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    SCNatsFan, JZim and Marquis are looking like a solid 2 and 3 and if Livo is the Livo of 2010 then it is hoping for 2 more to step in and hold a spot for Strasburg in September.I still am not convinced Detwiler can go full bore for more than 4 innings which has always been his problem but maybe this year is different. His ST is encouraging as he should make this team in either the starting row or in the bullpen as I think he deserves to be with the big club.My concerns are consistency at the back of the rotation, and how long Marquis and Livo stay effective as they both tired out towards the end of August. It should create opportunity for Maya and Wang too.My other concern is getting a leadoff hitter who can be on base at least at a .340 clip which is echo'd by just about every one on here.

  26. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Steve M. said…Lets see how 2 bubble guys (Nix and Stairs) do today vs. Vasquez. March 9, 2011 1:15 PM ———————–Kind of as I thought before the game that stats against AAA guys are far different facing real MLB guys. Nix 0-3 and Stairs 0-2 while hitting into a DP.

  27. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Todd Coffey just struck out the side in the bottom of the 5th. I was told Stammen was coming in 2nd but apparently they went with Coffey as the Marlins made no offensive substitutions to this point. Maybe they want Stammen to face an easier lineup. Not sure but real impressive pitching to this point.

  28. Doc - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Laynce Nix looks good. Unlike Stairs, he's younger and can be a real sub in the OF. At this point he also probably ranks ahead of Ankiel on the depth chart. Ankiel might slightly rank ahead of Nix on offense, and has a history with Riggleman–for what that's worth.

  29. TimDz - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    WAPO Blog had J. Marquis throwing 42 pitches (no breakdown of balls/strikes) over 4 innings. That's not too shabby…and a far cry better than last year at this time.

  30. Janner33 - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Am i right in saying Coffey struck out the side on 9 pitches? I know it's only ST, but isn't it a pretty rare feat that only a few pitchers have ever accomplished? I know Dibble did it back in the day…

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    N. Cognito…. I am an ex-catcher but I'd get nailed in the face mask if I had to catch Cole these days. Hopefully I'll get to "see" A.J. Cole.

  32. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Janner33, no, it was not 9 pitches. BTW, Stammen is in now.

  33. MGG - Mar 9, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    I think Bernadinas on fire and is going to oust Morgan. How has he been in the field? Does anyone else think this is more then a slight possibility at this stage?

  34. Mark'd - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Happy birthday Craig Stammen

  35. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Side bar comment here…. The NL East is going to be interesting with the great/good starting staffs in Philly and Miami with absolutely NO bullpen, the great staff of starters and bullpen in Atlanta and our suspect starters (but I am seeing some potential) and great bullpen. Makes for some interesting baseball.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    Forgot about the absolutely suspect starters and bullpen in New York.

  37. Janner33 - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    @ SteveM. Thanks, must have been a glitch on

  38. N. Cognito - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Janner33 said… "@ SteveM. Thanks, must have been a glitch on"Not really a glitch. During ST, pitches are attributed as such:Hit or an out: StrikeStrikeout: 3 StrikesWalk: 4 Ballsand other play results, SB, PB, WP, etc add one to the pitch count

  39. Exposremains - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    For all of you Expos history haters and Morse lovers, you don't get Morse without Vidro. Vidro= Fruto, Snelling. Snelling=Langerharns. Langerharns=Morse

  40. Les in NC - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    I'm not sure anyone here hates the Expos…On another note, Espinosa's hamate surgery hasn't proven to be much of a hindrance to him, and that is a great sign so far this spring! All this winning, and breeding confidence, is getting me excited to see March 31 finally come!

  41. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    But thats Vidro thrice removed. And nobody counts Langerhans for anything.And I thank God everday for the Expos.

  42. Exposremains - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Hate might have been a strong word but I've seen plenty of comments in the past of people wanting to erase any traces of expos history.

  43. N. Cognito - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Exposremains said… "Hate might have been a strong word but I've seen plenty of comments in the past of people wanting to erase any traces of expos history."You probably get that more from the fans who were here for Senators I and Senators II and feel that those teams are the proper baseball history in DC.Being part of the above, I used to feel the same way about it, especially when Expos was getting shoved down our throats by MLB in contests and such, things that were titled "Washington," but didn't include the earlier teams.

  44. Farid Rushdi - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    I really think that Michael Morse is going to mature into a .285-25-85 type hitter and in a couple of years, someone is going check his baseball-reference page and say, "They got Morse for Ryan Langerhans???"*smile*

  45. CapPeterson - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Exposremains,At Nats' park, the new "Ring of Honor" (or whatever it's called) embraces all the elements of Washington Nationals history: it honors HoFers who played for the original Senators, Homestead Grays, AND Montreal Expos. And that's just fine with me.

  46. Exposremains - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    I know that the debate between Expos and old DC teams .will never be resolved. Just wanted to point out a fun fact about Morse

  47. joemktg - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    NatsJack: thanks.

  48. Exposremains - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Cap peterson, I do appreciate the way they did the ring of honor.

  49. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Steve M. said… The Washington Times I think officially hired a Nationals beat writer Amanda Comak who used to write for the Cape Cod Times on everything baseball.Red Smith. Shirley Povich. Tom Boswell. Amanda Comak.Don't you people see the lineage here?I long ago stopped putting quarters in those orange boxes for that weird little paper. Glad Mark got out when he did.

  50. wick - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    I wouldn't mind if the Nats gave more of a (subtle) nod to the Expos. Have Harrisburg play some games there. Have Andre Dawson day. Wear Les Nationales uniforms once a year. Broadcast Sunday games in french on the Internet.The more revenue (even if its Canadian Loonies) the better, right?

  51. Exposremains - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Wick,Thats some great ideas and by the way the loonies are actually worth more than the dollars right now.

  52. Big Cat - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Harper 1 for 1 today. Now at 355 for spring. I told you guys he was gonna burn it up. This is a special kid. He learns on the fly and he's not afraid of failure. His dad is a steel worker, so you know he's grounded. Bring this kid north and start him in right!

  53. Andrew - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    Exposremains, short/long story, I went to Bad Citizens Park in Philthadelphia and the only sign of Natsdom I wore was my Curly W cap and the idiots heckled me with a Go Home Expos. Yes, they are so clever but most true fans realize the history of how the Nats came into existence and I am old enough to say I went to Senators games in the 60's and 70's and most Rangers fans couldn't tell you where their team came from.I myself have some cool Expos items from players like Brian Schneider, Livan Hernandez and John Patterson in the transition to the Nats and the history is there and I think the Lerners have embraced it as seen last year with the Ring of Honor celebrations.In reverse, I kind of wish all the Expo fans would remain supporters of the Nats and I know one guy in particular who sends me some nasty messages. Clearly, he is still upset. It sucks to lose your team as Washingtonians did when the Senators left.

  54. Exposremains - Mar 9, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    A great day for Expos fans and phillies haters:

  55. JD - Mar 9, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    Big Cat, keep in mind that .355 is just 6 for 17.this is not all that meaningful and as Nats Jack has pointed out he is not starting games so he is not facing MLB pitching. I am pleasantly surprised but I do know that this must be taken with a grain of salt. If Harper makes it to AA some time this year that would be fantastic and it would mean that a 2012 call up is inevitable; let's see what happens.

  56. Another_Sam - Mar 9, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    Here's my report from Charley and Jake's: two for one. I recommend the hoppy Harbor City Gold. Great beer, BBQ, and free Wi-Fi.

  57. Frediemac - Mar 9, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    Go Bryce Harper! I hope he is called up in September of this year and is up for good in June 2012

  58. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    I certainly don't "hate" the Expos and I see no problem with keeping that part of the past 'intact'. I do however absolutely despise Boz for entreating with that ancient enemy! The stygian stanky barog's from Natty Boh land. The only good thing that came from there was FRobby who did a fair job of managing the ownerless Nats.

  59. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    I think it would be easier to have Syracuse play in Montreal (closer) not sure Auburn would be appropriate.

  60. N. Cognito - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    None of the Nats farm teams should play in Montreal. There's not a good reason to.

  61. Joe Seamhead - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Bryce says that he's feeling "hitterish." What innocent fun the kid is bringing! No, he's not ready, but man, what potential and just flat-out talent. He's gotta Go down, learn, i.e. perfect the basics. Get him up to AA and AAA as soon as possible so as he gets to see a higher level of pitching. Pity the lower A level pitchers!

  62. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:16 AM

    I don't see him spending much time in Low A.He completely dominated the AFL, and there isn't some huge talent difference between the two.

  63. Exposremains - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    As much I would love to see montreal having a triple A team, I now live in Syracuse so I'm happy the way it is.By the way Im pretty sure Syracuse is closer to Washington than Montreal.

  64. Big Cat - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:56 AM

    Poppycock, he's not facing major league pitching. Isn't Drew Storen throwing in the late innings? Teams are pitching their rosters, regardless of the inning. Listen, the Nats have been absolutely dreadful the last 3-4 years. Pretty much the laughing stock of the league. They signed Werth for huge bucks and offered a lot of promises that pretty much fell through. You got a half empty brand new stadium in the nations capital. The Skins suck, the Wizards are unwatchable. Come on man, what the heck do we have to lose? This team can win now! Our pitching is coming around. Come on Rizzo, add some excitement to this dead ass town. Bring "The Kid" north. Did I say "The Kid?" Isn't that what they called Ted Williams back in 38?

  65. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    CatI agree.

  66. Doc - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Besides his obvious talent, Harper seems to have a really good sense of humor (in Anglaise Expo speak, that's humour). He's having fun and learning the game. Any rookie that can hit high outside pitches to the "oppo boppo' LF, can figure out the rest of big league hitting, sooner rather than later. Baring injury, Harps will be in Syracuse by August!Gooooooooooooooooooo Kid!

  67. N. Cognito - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    "Bring "The Kid" north."Face palm.

  68. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    NatsJack: I definitely want to hear a report on Cole. I'm curious to see how high the velocity gets as he gets older and fills out. He could be a steal. Any reports on those young guys are greatly appreciated.

  69. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:59 AM

    @Steve M.:"My concerns are consistency at the back of the rotation, and how long Marquis and Livo stay effective as they both tired out towards the end of August."Concerning Livo, you have a point. Regarding Marquis, you're totally wrong. Marquis missed most of the year from April to august after having bone chips flushed out of his elbow. His starts from mid-August through the end of the season were not as good as Lannan's, statistically, but Marquis showed enough in that stretch to merit the situation he is in this ST: a spot in the starting rotation was his to lose. Right now, he appears in firm possession of a starting spot.bertbkatz

  70. SonnyG10 - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:14 AM

    The Nats are not going to be contenders this year. Why bring up Bryce Harper and lose a year of control over him when its not going to mean so much? IMO he should be seasoned in the minors this year and maybe be brought up next year.

  71. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:38 AM

    Syracuse is about 100 miles closer to Montreal than to Washington, DC.

  72. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2011 at 6:34 AM

    This team can win now! Our pitching is coming around. Come on Rizzo, add some excitement to this dead ass town. Bring "The Kid" north. Did I say "The Kid?" Isn't that what they called Ted Williams back in 38?That "KID" spent 2+ years in the minors, in his second and third year he completely demolished the Pacific League. Where Kaline did not spend any time in the minors. Look at the difference. At age 22 "the Kid" hit over .400. I suspect that what Bryce could learn down in the minors might give him the ability to repeat that feat. Imagine a .400 hitter and a Walter Johnson clone in DC together … a baseball blockbuster movie in the making … wonder if Charlie Sheen would play a part in that one … ~snicker~

  73. Rabbit - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    I really don't mind if people LOVE or HATE the Expos. All I want to know is: "did the Nats win their last game". History means absolutely nothing nor has no bearing on the result of a current game played. So, enjoy what you have and don't lose sleep because everyone doesn't view history exactly as you do. GO NATS!!

  74. Henry Ford - Mar 10, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    History is bunk.





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