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Nats at Cardinals – 3/21/11

Mar 21, 2011, 4:38 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez faces Chris Carpenter today at Roger Dean Stadium.

JUPITER, Fla. — Plenty going on here at Roger Dean Stadium, though obviously the biggest news of the day so far came from back in Viera, where Bryce Harper sprained his left ankle running to first base in a minor-league intrasquad game this morning. The Nationals are officially saying Harper is "day-to-day" for now, though there's really no way to know the severity of the injury until he undergoes X-rays. I'll be updating this story on CSNwashington.com all day as we find out more.

As for what's going on here in Jupiter … Jim Riggleman said Ryan Zimmerman (still dealing with a sore groin) will hopefully return to the lineup Thursday, though that's not a given yet. Zimmerman has taken swings in the cage but has yet to take grounders in the field.

As for the center field situation … all three contenders are here for today's game. Nyjer Morgan is in the lineup, but Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina should see playing time at some point. Riggleman said some of what happens over the next week will help determine who wins the job, but it's not going to be based entirely on the guys' performance to close out camp. There are other factors at play, obviously.

Livan Hernandez faces Chris Carpenter. Updates to come throughout…

NATIONALS at CARDINALS
Where: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: None
Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 19 mph in from RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
RF Laynce Nix
1B Adam LaRoche

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118 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Mark'd - Mar 21, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    So much for that 5 days for Ryan Zimmerman.

  2. Stranded_in_Philly - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Well with Morgan in the leadoff spot today… the question becomes if he doesn't make the team, who bats leadoff? Morgan has never been particularly impressive… he saw a 2003 pitches over 120 games two years ago, and 2194 pitches over 136 games last year, to go with his career .344 obp. Not exactly inspiring stuff. I think Desmond becomes the next best option in a lot of people's minds, who owns a .309 obp and saw 2012 pitches last year over 154 games. Also not inspiring… the difference being of course that this is Desmond's first big league year.Who has some thoughts on this?

  3. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    No way Desmond is a leadoff hitter if you want the lineup to generate any offense. .309 OBP won't cut it. If they cut Morgan they will just have to put Bernadina in center and hitting leadoff; lousy proposition but what are you gonna do?

  4. Steve M. - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Nyjer singles and my GameDay is working BTW

  5. Steve M. - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    ….and caught stealing (pickoff). Bye bye Nyjer. Then Desmond singles. How many times did that scenario play out in 2010!

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Absolutely unacceptable. Being picked off by a right handed pitcher is inexcusable. Yet Morgan does it all the time.

  7. DFL - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Drop Morgan. Make Espinosa the lead-off. Make Ankiel the centerfielder and have him bat seventh behind Morse. Ramos/Rodriguez bats eight.

  8. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    DFL, Except that Espinosa's project OBP for 2011 is .312 (Bill James) and Ankiel stinks.

  9. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    NatsJack, You are absolutely right. Bad baserunner.

  10. Steve M. - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Mark Z., any chance if Nyjer is named the starting CF that they will change the steal protocol for him?I know he steals on his own but it just seems like he takes himself off of the basepaths more than helping the team by moving up 90 feet and Riggleman has to take charge of Nyjer stealing.Just a thought.

  11. Harper_ROY_2012 - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Mark – you cannot tell the severity of an ankle sprain from an X-Ray…what you can tell is if you are dealing with a fracture or a sprain as X-rays show only bone not ligaments, to see ligament damage you need an MRI.

  12. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    Steve M. They absolutely have to put the reigns on Morgan; clearly his own base running instincts do not translate into giving him carte blanche.

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    It's official. Put me in the Dump Desmond camp.I've seen enough to know that he does not have the mental focus to be anything other than an error making machine.

  14. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    NatsJack, I don't disagree but you hope he has a hot half with the bat so you can get some return value for him. He is still young and cheap so you don't want to lose him for nothing. Of course once that happens the fans will decry a trade. I am curious who decided to move Espinosa (the better short stop) to 2nd and keep Desmond at short?

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    JD…. my guess is that it was Davey Johnson. He was Desmond's biggest backer last spring training. I also think he was suprised by Espinosa's rapid ascent through the system and wasn't sure of his defensive abilities. And you are right. Espinosa has been identified by several scouts as our best option at short stop.

  16. Will - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    We're stuck with a team full of low-OBP guys. Besides, Zimmerman and Werth, who should occupy the 3 and 4 spots, everyone else is below average for their position at getting on base. That means someone like Morgan might be our best option at leadoff (granted he is our Opening Day CF).To me is seems as if the only sure things in our line are:3. Werth4. Zimmerman5. LaRoche (only to break up the RHBs)6. MorseThat leaves us with Morgan, Bernadina or Ankiel (career .344, .306 and .312), Desmond (career .309 OBP), Espinosa (probably somewhere similar to Desmond's), Ramos and Pudge (hovering somewhere around .300 OBP, with Ramos slightly over, Pudge slightly under).Even at his worst (last year), Morgan is still arguably our most effective batter at getting on base. That's not a very reassuring thought.

  17. Stranded_in_Philly - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    NatsJack/JD… add this fan to those who would rather see Espinosa at short. Desmond might be rangier, but Espinosa has the much surer (and stronger) arm

  18. Souldrummer - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    @JD I think it's just loyalty to the veteran player. I also think they may believe that Desmond have more value for a trade (if that's the way they want to go) by keeping him at short. Wasn't Desmond a possible trade piece in some of the deals they discussed over the winter?

  19. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Shortstop is one of the positions you are born to play or you aren't. If you are not a smooth fielder by the time you make the majors, you are deinitely not a major league shortstop ever. You can't improve instincts. Desmond has no clue weather to charge or back up on a ball and he never well. those are the instincts that separate a natural from the rest. Rizzo preaching defense and leaving Desmond at the most important defensive position on the field is a joke. Love the kid but move him to the outfield or trade him. The fact that they keep citing his range reminds of these football combine freaks who can run a fast 40 but can't play football and up up as high round busts.

  20. Pete - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Need Harper update please.

  21. Wally - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    CF options are Morgan, Nix and then Brown (with Hairston getting most PT against LHs), imo. I think that Morgan is virtually a lock. Ankiel and Bernie are just not realistic options for everyday duty. I wish it were different. Leadoff is going to be a black hole again, although if Morgan can hold on at .340, that is respectable. And amen, put the basepath reins on him. He just isn't a good baserunner, and I can't imagine he will get better any more.And Desi, well I was very hopeful coming in to the season, but I am losing that feeling fast. He really doesn't seem to be getting better. In fact, the entire defense has been the most troubling thing about ST this year (to me, anyway). This is a team that was purposely constructed to play exceptional defense. Not mediocre, certainly not poor. At this point, it looks like the defense is the same as last year. Well, it is still spring training, I guess.

  22. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Souldrummer, I think it was Espinosa, Storen and Norris for Greinke. I don't think Desmond was in that trade.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Will…. you've got to be kidding. Are you deducting Morgans caught stealing and picked off #'s from his OBP? And you really want the worst CF in baseball on a team dedicated (at least verbally) to improved defense?

  24. David - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    A counter argument to the Nyjer hate… his hitting is coming around.

  25. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Maybe they move Desmond to CF? Or 2B. Not sure why that hasn't been discussed or even tried yet? They have plenty of guys who can play CF now. My guess is that Corey Brown eventually gets that role.

  26. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Coming around to what? .240?

  27. David - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Didn't Nyjer start out at 1 for 17? If that's true he's batting .346 since then. (not including today's 1 for 3 so far)

  28. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    NatsJack, C'mon; you should know better than to quote batting averages based on 46 at bats. If he goes 4 for 4 he will be hitting .300. Does that mean he has had a good spring? I don't think so. Just like .067 was meaningless so is .240 and so is Cora's .414.

  29. Will - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    NatsJack,By all accounts, Ankiel and Bernadina are below average defenders in CF. For all Morgan's faults, he's by no means a bad defender.It's something you have to factor into the equation. You'll get more power from Ankiel and Bernadina, but worse defense.Also it seems like such an easy fix to just tell Morgan to run only when instructed to, but for some reason the Nats coaching staff seems unwilling to do so, or unwilling to adequately get the message across (see: bench his ass every time he doesn't listen).

  30. DFL - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    In this imperfect world, Espinosa is not the ideal lead-off. Yet Ankiel hits with much more power than Morgan and power trumps Morgan's base stealing, such as it is. Espinosa would add pop at the top of the line-up. Perhaps he will grow in the role.If Harper is the centerfielder of the future and not Morgan, then there will be a limited universe of lead-off batters. Espinosa might get it by default. If Perez ends up the centerfielder in 2012 or 2013 and Harper in leftfield, Perez will be lead-off. But for 2011, a season where 75 victories will be an accomplishment, it really isn't that important to find the next Lou Brock.Winning baseball revolves around pitching, defense, power, speed and base-stealing, in that order. Not having a classic lead-off hitter is the least of the Nats' future needs.

  31. fpcsteve - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    An article (or post in the WaPo) this weekend said the Tigers like Desmond. I wish the Nats would send him to Detroit. Failing that, send him anywhere. NatsJack, you are there and have likely met him. Is Desmond dull? Is he uncoachable? Or is it a matter of just not having the skill set to play the position? I don't think he will happily switch to CF. What do you think?

  32. Stranded_in_Philly - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Centerfield/leadoff becomes an even bigger problem long term. Starting around 2013, we are probably locked in to the following positions: RF Harper, CF/LF Werth, 3B Zim, SS Desi, 2B Espi, C Norris/Ramos. That leaves 1B and one outfield position open. It also might leave a guy like Morse without a place on this team, unless he develops the power and on base profile of a true major league first baseman (which is at this point up in the air, given his career .354 wOBA). The only position left to fill with the potential to hit leadoff could well be that last outfield position. Right now there isn't anybody within the organization that might fill this role (maybe Eury Perez?). Basically, the Nats might have to look to fill 2 major positions over the next 2 offseasons (leadoff/OF and 1B) from outside the organization.

  33. Mark'd - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Just love the Nyjer hate. They need to coach this guy on when to run as SteveM suggested

  34. Doc - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Me too Mark, on an update on Prince Oppo Boppo!

  35. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    @Stranded_in_Philly,You're forgetting about prospect Corey Brown a true five-tool CF obtained in the Willingham trade. He could be in CF this year at some point once he recovers from the ankle. Plus Boomer Whiting. First base you find Michael Morse, Chris Marerro, and Tyler Moore after LaRoche. Majors, AAA, AA. The Nats have more coming from the low minors and not just Destin Hood and Eury Perez. Chris Curran is a fairly good CF prospect who's never came around. The problem for the future is still pitching, pitching, pitching and especially starting pitching. Certainly no CF. Perhaps finding another Nick Johnson like bat for the #2 spot and the best possible lead off candidate.

  36. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    I *knew* it! ;-)—Devoted readers of this site know what tends to happen when I leave the press box to go take photos. Sure enough, the Nats just scored four runs in the top of the fourth.

  37. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Not really much I can update everyone on Harper at the moment. Nats won't know anything more until they have results of an X-ray and possible MRI. We'll see if there's anything new postgame today, but my guess is we won't really know more until tomorrow.

  38. David - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Glad to hear LaRoche is making nice plays at first. That's something we haven't had since NJohnson left. And even Nick didn't have that kind of range, just a good glove.

  39. Stranded_in_Philly - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Anonymous at 3:00 PM… of course you're right that pitching is always the concern, for every organization, at every time. Beyond that however, you might be overrating some of our (still improving) farm system. Corey Brown dominated AA in his time in Oakland, but he struggled mightily after moving up to AAA for 41 games. While thats a small sample size, the change in level and drop in production should certainly keep our hopes a little bit in check. Marerro has never shown consistent power (a .176 and .156 ISO in his longest seasons in the minors). The Nats only wanted to give LaRoche a 1 year contract, but moved up to 2 out of necessity, so I don't think he's in their long term plans.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Broderick throws a good hard sinker. 2 ground balls found there way through but 2 didn't. Another scoreless inning for him.

  41. Pete - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Cindy Boren is reporting that Harper was in "serious" pain. #notgood.

  42. HHover - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    For those who think all Nyjer needs is a little coaching/control to improve his baserunning: Given that nothing of the kind happened last year, why on earth do you think it would happen this year?

  43. Nattydread - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Nice to see Batista has found a new home.

  44. masnstinks - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    Why did he get ejected? Throwing at Desi? I understand there has been some back and forth in that department.

  45. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Corey Brown dominated AA in his time in Oakland, but he struggled mightily after moving up to AAA for 41 games. While thats a small sample size, the change in level and drop in production should certainly keep our hopes a little bit in check.Again, not accurate. A number of those games represent his return to AAA where he continued his dominance later in the year.As for Marerro he is 22. His problem is fielding. Power develops as you get older and varies with each individual. That is a consistent unvarying fact of life in baseball. Sure, Tyler Moore shows more power but this will be his first year in AA AND he is 24 years old.Pitching is the problem. Starting power pitching to be precise and a reasonably consistent reliable bullpen year-after-year. Once that is in place the rest should fall in nicely.

  46. LoveDaNats - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Mark, why was Batista ejected? Was it an intentional plunk on Desmond?

  47. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    fpcsteve…As for Desmond, you couldn't find a better kid. He's extremely coachable on one level (hitting) and seems to take defensive coaching well but, apparently it just doesn't sink in. He still lets balls play him instead of charging and he still thinks he can make every throw in the book.He's great with all fans from young to old but I'm afraid he isn't the "natural" shortstop as alluded by someone in an earlier post. Moving to second base may be possible but he's played shortstop forever and I don't think his throwing issues would change much if placed in that position.A move to CF would require moving him to a lower level for quite awhile, I'm afraid. He certainly couldn't do it at this level.

  48. masnstinks - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Sounds like there was almost a brawl!

  49. LoveDaNats - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    ok, just read your post. Is Morgan worth the drama?

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    In a word…. Nope.

  51. David - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    While we're arguing who started what… the Nats are putting more runs on the board. Espi hit a 2 run single with the bases loaded and 2 outs. 7-2 now according to Gameday.

  52. Stranded_in_Philly - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Anonymous… I'm not sure what you mean by "return" to AAA. 2010 was Brown's only season in AAA, when he spent 41 games in Sacramento (AAA) compiling a .274 wOBA. The other portion of 2010 was spent in AA Midland, where, as noted, he dominated. Not saying he doesn't have a chance, and I hope he does, just saying expectations should be tempered. As for your arguments on Marerro, fielding is improving by all accounts this year. The power numbers may develop, and I hope they do, but as you said, it varies. As for Moore, simply not enough information yet on him to be sure where things might go. He hasn't cracked any top prospects lists, and as a 24 year old just starting AA, he could be a ways off. To capitalize on what could be the short window of opportunity with Strasburg, the organization should definitely look to improve the outfield from outside, and will probably have to do the same with first base. As well as, of course, adding more of everyone's favorite– starting pitching.

  53. NatsJack - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    I'll be the first to tell you that the difference in Marerro defensively between last year and this year is Night and Day. He's certainly a better first baseman today than Dunn ever was.And Stranded_In_Philly… you are correct. Brown struggled mightily when promoted to his ONLY stint in AAA.

  54. masnstinks - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Anyone else using Gameday? It's been quite terrible this spring.

  55. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    And another scoreless inning for Broderick.I think we are beginning to tease the Cardinals.Spring training Gameday isn't really gameday. It's OK, now I verbalize my scorecard but after I finish this beer.

  56. Ernie - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    We've had a ton of posts this year about who gets the CF job, who gets the last bench spots, etc. The only debate i haven't heard yet is who is the new mancrush of the year, both for Riggs and here in the comments section.Last year Riggleman only had eyes for Superwillie Harris. Here at NI it was Morse (looking pretty well justified this year) and Maxwell (let us never mention that name again). This year I see Corey Borwn as an early commenter favorite. Sounds like Riggleman might have a soft spot for Ankiel.Any other predictions for who we hear the most pining for this year?

  57. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    I was looking at Gameday and I don't think it's in regular season form.

  58. JaneB - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    The Nyjer Minder (Jewett) was on him in a flash. Nice to see Riggleman come out yelling. Morse was playing peacemaker, also nice. Love that Brodderick kid.the ball falls down at theeeee last second.Mark, get put of the booth and get us some mire runs!

  59. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Also, Mark must have been downstairs taking pics again. :-)

  60. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Again, Stranded_in_Philly,You keep missing on the AAA thing. Here's Patrick Reddington's take on Corey Brown's 2010:Brown, "earned citations as a Texas League All-Star and Topps Double-A All-Star…ranking among Double-A leaders for on-base percentage (third), batting average (fifth) and triples (tied for eighth)," and earning a call back up to Triple-A at the end of the season where he, "finished his 2010 regular season on a high note with Sacramento, **** batting .346 with three homers and a 1241 OPS in seven games," as Scout.com's Melissa Lockhard noted in a quick profile on Brown entitled, "Brown Makes Topps Double-A All-Star List", to finish his time at Triple-A with a .193/.253/.378 line, 26 doubles, 5 HR's and 20 RBI's in 41 games and 148 plate appearances. Seven games is an even smaller sample size. Brown, like Tyler Moore also hit 30+ homers in A ball. Unlike Moore he is a left-handed power hitter with a bazooka arm, good speed and decent instincts in center field. He too is 24-25 years old.He looks like the Nats best choice and tell me my logic is wrong?1. With a starting rotation top 3 soft-tossers of Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis and John Lannan tell me that doesn't have last place written all over it? Without the requisite pitching or a manager who will allow the young pitchers to get their feet wet? 2. With Riggleman's veterans and young players you still lose. The difference is the younger players might develop into something whereas the Hairston's, Cora's, Ankiel's, Pudge's are way past any chance of doing that … 3. Brown is a prospect that combines all the best attributes of the entire outfield into one left-handed package. Why not give it a whirl its not like Laynce Nix, Jerry Hairston jr, Rick Ankiel, Riggleman's new "mancrushes" are going to get this team out of last place? And Brown could be a part of the future.

  61. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Sweet Pete, whoever is responsible for putting Angel Hernandez and CB Bucknor on the same umpiring crew, even in spring training, should be fired immediately.

  62. Feel Wood - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    "Cindy Boren is reporting that Harper was in "serious" pain. #notgood."I've had sprained ankles myself that have hurt like hell. Two days later, I was fine. #chilloutdude

  63. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    What, no Hunter Wendelstadt? So (given the stated crew), is this game setting records for balk calls and forgotten ball-strike calls or what?

  64. Nattydread - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    A nice game from the Nats. Some good performances, Livo, Broderick, Slaten.

  65. Peyton Dowdy - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Natsjack and Stranded in Philly you are both incorrect about Corey Brown. Anon is right about Brown starting the season in AAA last year, struggling, getting demoted then getting a call up to AAA again at the end of the season and absolutely raking over his breif stint.

  66. LoveDaNats - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    Sean Burnett for closer.

  67. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Bang! Zoom! (Thanks, Mark. You can go back to the press box, now. ;-))

  68. N. Cognito - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Feel Wood said… "I've had sprained ankles myself that have hurt like hell. Two days later, I was fine. #chilloutdude"I've had sprained ankles myself that have hurt like hell. Two weeks later, I was still hobbling.#wechilleddude

  69. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    @LoveDaNats,Apparenlty, Riggleman agrees. He put out his best two set-up and closer this spring to ensure this didn't snowball into another loss as games have when he brought out pretty much anyone else out and especially Clippard, Storen, and Coffey. Broderick, Slaten, and Burnett have been about as reliable as they come this spring and the Nats really needed a win today.

  70. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Corey Brown hit .193 in AAA Sacramento last year for 43 games. What am I missing?

  71. Pete - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    I had a severe sprain and chipped bone of my ankle that I got charging a ball in soccer. Two years later is still aches. Hopefully he didn't roll it all the way over.

  72. Rob Dibble's Ghost - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    Just wait til MLB adds Joe West to this umpiring crew :)********************************************** Anonymous said… Sweet Pete, whoever is responsible for putting Angel Hernandez and CB Bucknor on the same umpiring crew, even in spring training, should be fired immediately.

  73. JaneB - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    I couldn't tell why the second (almost) brawl started, except it looked like tnCarcs bench was shouting at out first base coach top of the ninth. Cards are stillholding a Nyjer grudge, I guess.Still, it was nice to see a win. mark can never be off site again.

  74. erocks33 - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    This by no means that I am advocating that Nyjer be the starting CF for the entire year, but I just haven't seen anything yet to prove that Bernadina nor Ankiel should take the spot over him right now. Nyjer is (and most probably never will be) an All-Star CF nor a top-notch lead-off guy, but for all intents and purposes, he's done a pretty decent job this Spring. No, he hasn't been perfect, but then can't we say the same for basically EVERY single player on the Nats roster this Spring?Take away Nyjer's first week of games (where he started 1-16). What has he done since? Including today, he's gone 10-31 with 5 walks and 5 strikeouts. That comes out to a .323/.447 (avg/obp) clip. Ankiel's hit a couple of homers, but he's still under the Mendoza line with his average (and close to it with his OBP). Bernadina may have started strong, but he will never be a consistent hitter in the majors (and strikesout way too much for my taste).Again, not saying that Nyjer is my first choice to bat leadoff or be my starting CF, but I don't see how anyone has beaten him out of a job yet.

  75. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    I meant to type ball-strike "counts," but y'all probably figured that out.

  76. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    I've had sprained ankles myself that have hurt like hell. Two weeks later, I was still hobbling.#wechilleddudeIn other words: the same thing happened to Corey Brown and he still isn't completely recovered. They will both recover.

  77. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Again, not saying that Nyjer is my first choice to bat leadoff or be my starting CF, but I don't see how anyone has beaten him out of a job yet.Unfortunately, Ankiel is a Riggs "crony". Otherwise, I think Laynce Nix looks far better in the backup role than Ankiel, and unless Ankiel agrees to be a part-time relief pitcher, he just does not have a major league bat to go with his major league arm. He cannot hit major league pitching … like any good major league pitcher.As for starter the "other guy" with the sprained ankle probably should be starting for the Nats if there could have been some luck … unfortunately, it probably would also require a different manager.

  78. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    As for Roger Bernadina he looks like a sure bet for AAA to play along side Corey Brown, Boomer Whiting, and Jeff Frazier in that outfield. The Chiefs could turn out to be a very dominant team in the IL this summer. Might be better to watch them as opposed to the Nats. The Finger Lakes are beautiful in the spring and summer.

  79. Anonymous8 - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Steve M. said… Anon at 12:28, still too many question marks for Opening Day. Here is my bullpen right now:Gaudin (long man)ClippardBroderickSlatenCoffeyHenry RodriguezBurnett (closer)March 21, 2011 12:35 PM ———————————————-Riggleman wanted that win today hence no Storen, no Clippard and no Coffey today. That could be a new saying, No Coffey Today.I am still not sure about Henry Rodriguez except he has no options which probably gives him a spot to start the season and Ballester gets sent down until someone cant hack it.

  80. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Corey Brown hit .193 in AAA Sacramento last year for 43 games. What am I missing?A LOT! 1. AA ball is pretty close to AAA ball. That's where Jason Heyward had all of his great stats remember? Folks do get promoted from AA.2. Yes, Brown had a early 41 game slump. Lots of really good hitters do in the majors too now don't they? But the look?I am bold-facing it so YOU DON"T miss it this time okay?Corey Brown finished his 2010 regular season on a high note with AAA Sacramento, batting .346 with three homers and a 1241 OPS in seven games,THREE HOME RUN in SEVEN GAMES iN AAA at the close of the season during the playoff runs. 3. Earned citations as a Texas League All-Star and Topps Double-A All-Star…ranking among Double-A leaders for on-base percentage (third), batting average (fifth) and triples (tied for eighth).4. Even with his .191 average he still managed to hit 26 doubles and 5 home runs across those 41 AAA games. Again, name a Nats prospect who has done that? I dare you.Know anyone else who plays for the Nats who has done that NatsJack? And can play a reasonably flawless center field? With Ankiel's bazooka arm?

  81. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    I have to get this off my chest once and for all. The "Kid" as everyone wants to call him WAS and IS NEVER going to play in the bigs this season till September. And even that is only if he absolutely tears apart low "A", high"A" and "AA".He has way to much to learn. I've watched him from his very first effort in Fall Instructional League and have marveled at his ability to learn and learn quickly. However, there are so many things to learn, especially as a right fielder and eventually as a center fielder and the difference in the adjustments pitchers will make to him at each level will take time.I believe he will succeed beyond expectations but there is a time element involved and it will take 5 months of constatnt improvement.

  82. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Corey Brown hit .193 in AAA Sacramento. He hit .168 his first 33 games and .281 his last 10.Not what I would call "raking".

  83. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    And Corey Brown had 26 HITS in his 41 games… I missed counted and you are correct in that he played 41 games. 31 before they sent him down and 10 when he came back up.

  84. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Gaudin (long man)ClippardBroderickSlatenCoffeyHenry RodriguezBurnett (closer)Trade[s] appear to be in the offing. The announcement that Ramos and not Pudge would probably start from the get-go may be setting the stage for that and even though Phil Wood is not a reliable source, San Diego could use both IRod and AGonz. They appear to be interested in both players and they are competitive something Pudge might be interested in?To get pitching prospects back the Nats may have to throw in pitching as well. Clippard and Lannan look like two likely candidates? Broderick has pitched better than Gaudin hands down. He really should be the long man. (Still wish they had looked at Milone first.) What is he lacking? Major league experience like Gaudin so of course Riggleman will pick Gaudin.So, given the looming last place finish sign just ahead let's assume Rizzo executes some trades in a last ditch effort to achieve a respectable finish … in spite of Riggleman.John Lannan,Tyler Clippard, Ivan Rodriguez, and Alberto Gonzalez all go in trades.Chad Gaudin gets cut loose or traded.Drew Storen goes to Syracuse or Harrisburg …my guess wouldbe Harrisburg.RSP Livan HerandezRSP Jason MarquisRSP Jordan ZimmermannLSP Tom GorzelannyRSP/RLR Yuniesky MayaLSP/LLR Ross DetwilerRSP/RLR Brian BroderickRRP Colin BalesterLRP Doug SlatenCLR Henry RodriguezCLL Sean Burnett DL Elvin Ramirez

  85. erocks33 - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    I was just about to post the same thing NatsJack. Apparently, Peri can't read a spreadsheet with his blinders on.Also, Peri … why do you have such a myopic view of starting pitching? Why do you feel that every SP needs to be a flame-thrower (95mph+)? Very few teams have more than one hard throwing starter. The Nats currently have one (Zimmermann) and another will be coming off the DL later this year.You going to tell me that the Braves have no chance of winning the NL East because they don't have 5 starters that can gun it up to 95mph? Lowe's FB averages 88. Hudson might be able to get his to 90-91. Jurrjens sits at around 90-91. Hanson's is in the low 90's (and can go as high as 94, but he loses control when he tries to get it up that high). And Minor is in the upper 80's/low 90's. Yet I would take every single one of these guys to be on my starting squad, not because they throw hard (which they don't), but because they know HOW TO PITCH. Same for guys like Livo, Lannan and Marquis. I'm not comparing the Nats guys with the Braves guys, because there is no comparison. But pitchers can be successful without overpowering stuff. And the three Nats pitchers you keep harping about getting rid of, have been and can continue to be successful, as long as they know their limitations and have a decent defense behind them.

  86. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    Corey Brown hit .193 in AAA Sacramento. He hit .168 his first 33 games and .281 his last 10.Not what I would call "raking".How about comparison shopping?Jason Heyward : Mississippi AA 2009:195 PA, 162 AB.352/.446/.611 1.057 OPS with 7 HR, 4 triples, and 13 doubles. Gwinett IL AAA13 PA 11 AB – 3 games.362/.462/.364 0 home runs, 0 triples, 0 doubles.###########Corey Brown: AA Midland: 2010386 PA, 331 AB.320/.415/.502 OPS .916 10 home runs, 8 triples 14 doubles.Across two stints in AAA Sacramento:148 PA, 135 AB.193/.253/.378 with 5 home runs, 3 triples, and 4 doubles.Eleven triples and 15 home runs between AA and AAA is what I call "raking". Again find anyone on the Nats roster (maybe, maybe, maybe Harper?) who has come close to matching this other than a 28 year old Michael Morse?

  87. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    erocks33, Good post. There are several posters who keep quoting MPH as the sole barometer by which a pitcher should be judged and as I've said before by that criteria Daniel Cabrerra would be in the hall of fame instead of Greg Maddox. Speed on the FB is only one element and is superseded in importance by command, deception, pitch selection and movement. Give me pitchers who get outs not necessarily the ones who throw the ball through a wall.

  88. JD - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    Anon @ 5:20, Heyward was 19 when he put up these numbers; Brown was 24 when he put up somewhat lesser numbers.

  89. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    I was just about to post the same thing NatsJack. Apparently, Peri can't read a spreadsheet with his blinders on.And @erocks33 is the same dude who proclaimed superbowl because the Redskins got that wonderful beast for the defensive line: Albert Haynesworth. His knowledge of the Nats is less than limited as well.Dude, if you can't see a typo … but as you can see (if you can read anything other than Haynesworth hype?) Corey Brown did manage to start hitting extremely well in AAA at the end of the season. He was raking after a bit of a slump. He must now show he can be consistent with that in SyracuseAgain, erocks33 your lack of acumen is showing again? Velocities from fangraphs (gee a spreadsheet dude!) for the Bravesstarting pitching staff: Have you compared to the Nats!!??Tim Hudson: avg velocity: 91.2? That's not a soft-tosser.The teams that went the furthest had the hardest throwing starters overall. None were below 90 and certainly not with a 77mph fastball like LIvo.

  90. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Heyward was 19 when he put up these numbers; Brown was 24 when he put up somewhat lesser numbers.TRUE!? Again, my challenge was: Find someone anyone who (and yes perhaps Bryce Harper will accomplish this feat) has come close who is a Nats positional prospect? Anyone? Buehler? Buehler?

  91. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Are you telling me I got sucked into a "peric" situation?… DEFINITELY my bad! No more discussions with Anonymii. And for the record, Danny Espinosa smoked those numbers before his September call up.

  92. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Give me pitchers who get outs not necessarily the ones who throw the ball through a wall.And when LIvo, Marquis, and Lannan get rocked then what will you say? There is a reason why Mike Rizzo and the National's brain trust covets these pitchers. Why Ryan Tatusko is turning heads. He starting getting outs when his velocity started going over 97mph. Ask yourself why? This is basic baseball … basic, basic, basic.Yes there is a place for the John Lannan', the older Livo as fifth starter / long relief. But not on any winning team's rotation. And honestly I think Tom Milone and Rosenbaum will prove to be better making Lannan superfluous.

  93. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    And for the record, Danny Espinosa smoked those numbers before his September call up.Danny Espinosa AA Harrisburg434 PA, 386 AB.262/.334/.464 for a .798 OPS? He had the extra base hits but he also made quite a few more outs.However, he is a switch hitter and it certainly is harder to do that in the majors.The point is the Nats don't have a lot of high-end talent in their system. But those they do have should be given every chance to succeed (as in Danny Espinosa) not supplanted by the Rick Ankiel's, Laynce Nix's, Jerry Hairston's? I believe that can make things worst not better as far as improving the team and … this franchise has been using cast-offs instead of youth for far too long … since 2004.

  94. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    Re Espinosa…. I guess his Syracuse #'s don't count.

  95. erocks33 - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Hey Peri — First off, your initial post was not a typo. You dared someone to come up with someone that compared with Brown hitting 26 doubles in 41 games. Unless you really meant to type 26 hits in 41 games?Secondly, I don't know what the heck you're talking about in regards to Haynesworth and the Redskins. I stick to Nats sites and Nats sites only. Oh, and for the record, I have yet to proclaim the Skins anything but losers each and every year since Danny-boy has taken the helm of the club.Finally, why is it that whenever someone questions your knowledge of things you post, you immediately go into an "attack" mode? Why can't you just admit that you made a mistake and that maybe someone else was correct? Why make it personal? NatsJack: It's so easy to tell when Peri comments here (and on Goessling's MASN site) even when he doesn't sign in under his name. He just keeps spewing the same "facts" over and over and over and over and over and over and over again …

  96. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Finally, why is it that whenever someone questions your knowledge of things you post, you immediately go into an "attack" mode? Why can't you just admit that you made a mistake and that maybe someone else was correct? Why make it personal? Isn't that what you were doing erocks33? Is that what you are doing RIGHT NOW! If there is one thing I despise its hypocrites. You can go ahead and criticize other folks posts with personal attacks but that is okay. Ride your high horse dude. Pathetic.

  97. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    erocks… have you ever had a typo that inserted "doubles" for "hits"?

  98. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    erocks… have you ever had a typo that inserted "doubles" for "hits"?Ever owned an iPhone, it inserts some strange words to "help" you in case you make typo's. I type too fast at times I apologize if that offends you. It surprises me that no one will give Corey Brown a shot? They are all over the far weaker hitting Tyler Moore, and Steven Lombardozzi. Yeah, we all hope they "figure it out" and do well. But they aren't even in the same league as Corey Brown and of course Bryce Harper? Eury Perez and Destin Hood, yeah let's pin our hopes on them. Personally I prefer Justin Bloxom.

  99. JayB - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    ABM you have made some new enemies…how rare.

  100. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    JayB….. I have an ipad but no iphone. I'm not familiar with the command that converts "hits" to "doubles" when entered as a typo. Do you have an iphone that does this? Help me out here.And by the way…. no Cintron equals a win.

  101. Another_Sam - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Here's what I – the Everyman fan in the seats – learned today: 1. No one can doubt that classy Livan is the ace of this staff.2. Yes, Morgan isn't a guy to count on 3. Anytime one juxtaposes the Viera facility with any other plant, Viera loses in all categories.4. The Yardhouse in PB Gardens has a world class tap beer selection.

  102. JayB - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Nope….droid and my advice is ignore Anon and his 30 or so other handles and enjoy the win. I do not think Rizzo liked the Boz article and he went into Riggs office and told him the team is not putting the effort he expects them to……Best I can tell from reading this game was much different in intensity and focus than the last 7 games. About time!

  103. Anonymous8 - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    Timeout. Is ABM = NatsJack and are all Anon = Peri

  104. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    First I'm peric and then I'm ABM. How interesting.

  105. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    Do you have an iphone that does this? Help me out here.No, just fat fingers that hit the delete key (and other keys) unintentionally, eyes that don't always catch deletions and insertions made by the iPhone ostensibly to "help" me. I suppose I ought to find a way to turn that component off.

  106. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    Do you have an iphone that does this? Help me out here.So, what's your excuse for dissing a guy who's stats do say that he could be a diamond in the rough, a pretty good prospect. Or is it you are just a closet Ankiel or Nyjer fan … oh maybe you think Boomer Whiting is the next Heyward?

  107. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    Maybe I'm JayB … or maybe I'm Ben Goessling on vacation posting from home? Or maybe I'm Chico Harlan?

  108. Wally - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    Well, I am probably going to regret this, but …I don't read anyone saying not to give Brown a chance. If he didn't get hurt, and played well, I bet he would be in the discussion. But he didn't, so he has to go to Syracuse and earn his way to another chance. If he does, and especially if no one else is doing well, I think that Rizzo calls him up and makes Riggs play him.But Brown equal to Heyward? Of course not. Not even in the same conversation. Does that even really need to be said? I assume Anon is really just saying that he is the best we got, and the rest of the CF are no great shakes, plus kind of old, so why not? Hard to argue that point, although if Morgan is required to stand no more than 3 steps away from the base until the ball is in play, I probably go with him for now.Well, I'll go back to sleep now.

  109. NatsJack in Forida - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Good job Wally….

  110. Doc - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Jeezus Mark, the boss comes back, and everybody wants to snitch and tattle—109 comments, WOW!!! You've got quite a following, MarkMeister, and you deserve to have it. Besides the numbers, they're a fun bunch of guys and gals! Gooooooooooooooo Nats!!!!!

  111. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    "Do you have an iphone that does this? Help me out here.No, just fat fingers that hit the delete key (and other keys) unintentionally, eyes that don't always catch deletions and insertions made by the iPhone ostensibly to "help" me."Do you suppose this might be Kilgore's excuse?

  112. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    But Brown equal to Heyward? Of course not. Not even in the same conversation. Does that even really need to be said? I assume Anon is really just saying that he is the best we got, and the rest of the CF are no great … Yes, and I believe I said that a number of times and challenged anyone to find a positional prospect (outside of 28 year old Michael Morse) who has done better? Is Brown equal to Heyward? Perhaps not but he does have a left-handed bat and arm, better than average speed and a CF glove … not a corner outfielder's glove. He also has a great arm. Think of Harper as the Nats "Heyward" not Corey Brown. But his offensive stats do indeed match up well with Heyward's do they not? The age difference not-with-standing. He has done things in the minors that no other prospect has yet achieved in the Washington National's system. Will Harper exceed them? That is management's hope and sooner rather than later. But in Brown's case the glass is definitely half-full and not half-empty as the .193 average would seem to indicate when it is left bereft from the rest of his body of work. As Boz said in today's chat: "You can never have too much talent in the outfield and it would be good to have two potential stars in that outfield if Brown and Harper can achieve what they have been projected to accomplish.

  113. Nats Lifer - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    You can all blame me for our losing streak and Harper's injury. I was at last Thursday's game vs. the Braves, Saturday's against the Mets, and yesterday's vs. the Tigers. All losses with little offense, keystone cop defense, and iffy pitching. Then to top it off, I stopped by the minor league complex this morning on the way to Orlando for flight home to Dulles. Bryce hit a routine grounder to short, and then crumpled as he crossed first base. Yes, he was in a good bit of pain. He put absolutely no weight on the left foot when he got up. Didn't catch who the coach was who was in the back of the cart with him as they motored off, but he was cradling Harper's left foot in his lap as they went right past me.As soon as I left the state, the Nats came to life. Good to see they had some spunk today.

  114. Anonymous - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    Returning to the topic of Desmond's fielding, I would like to see a comparison of chances fielded cleanly by Desmond versus chances fielded cleanly by other shortstops. Desmond has good range but makes a lot of errors. Other shortstops may make fewer errors but get to fewer balls. I think it would be interesting to see how many plays Desmond makes successfully compared to other shortstops.Dick

  115. Theophilus - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    If Anonymous — the other Anonymous is right about how great Milone and Rosenbaum are, what say we trade one of them to the Rangers for Josh Hamilton? Oh, I see, it won't solve our lead-off problem . . ..

  116. Anonymous - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    the other Anonymous is right about how great Milone and Rosenbaum are, what say we trade one of them to the Rangers for Josh Hamilton? Maybe Theophilus should learn gratitude. An important attribute to have in this life. He should be grateful that Cristian Guzman went to the Rangers for a pitcher named Ryan Tatusko. Tom Milone was organization pitcher of the year, and Rosenbaum runner up. They have a lot of fans on this site and many Nats sites who watched them in Potomac. Go ahead I dare you, tell them what you think.

  117. Theophilus - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    So, I'm grateful Milone and Rosenbaum have been fine minor league pitchers. I get it. Next time you equate minor league pitching success w/ major league ability, look up the record of the great Howie Koplitz. Shoulda been in the Hall of Fame long ago.

  118. JaneB - Mar 22, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Nats Lifer, when do you want us to help you move to Philadelphia? :-)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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