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Flores optioned, Bixler likely coming up

Apr 21, 2011, 9:05 PM EDT

The Nationals optioned Jesus Flores to Class AAA Syracuse following today's 5-0 loss to the Cardinals, sending the catcher back to the minors to get more at-bats.

The club will promote another player before tomorrow night's game in Pittsburgh, and Syracuse infielder Brian Bixler is the likely choice. Bixler was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning of today's 14-0 loss at Pawtucket, was not injured and was not on the team bus after the game, according to an organizational source.

The Nationals need another infielder in place before Ian Desmond goes on paternity leave. Desmond's wife, Chelsey, is due to give birth to the couple's first child any day.

Bixler is not currently on the 40-man roster, so the Nationals will need to remove another player to make room for him. They'll also be able to promote someone else from the minors to take Desmond's spot whileRead more »

  1. Cwj - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    Yeah Flores definitely needs to be getting at bats in the minors. This is the first season he's been healthy in quite some time. Time to see what he's got, and Syracuse is the best place for that right now.I hope he does well. After all, when Pudge is gone (Trade deadline, or 2012) Ramos will need a backup.

  2. erocks33 - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    after today's start, I think it might be safe to say "Goodbye" to Mr. Garrett Mock from the 40-man roster:2 IP; 4 Hits; 8 ER; 7 Walks

  3. alexva - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Garrett Mock's line today, 2 innings, 4 hits, 7 walks and 8 runs. He may have seen his last action as a Nat, although Hyde followed him and was awful as well.

  4. Cwj - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    I agree. I haven't been following him in the minors, but it doesn't sound good based on those numbers.

  5. alexva - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Harper went deep for #1 today. Two hits with a double last night, prepare for takeoff.

  6. alexva - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Correction, that was his second.

  7. WilliamTells - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Hope Desmond doesn't muff the delivery like a routine groundball.

  8. natsfan1a - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Glad for his sake that Flores will be getting some ABs. I was asking my tv set earlier today when he'd ever be coming off the bench. He gets his second AB shortly thereafter, and then he's sent back down.

  9. natsfan1a - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    At least, I think it was his second AB.

  10. Grandstander - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    I thought Mock was getting the chop before today's horrendous performance. I'd say it's safe to say he's being waived. Because he's right-handed, that allows Flores to come back down and not be needed on the bench. And that clears room for Bernadina to be recalled as a lefty.

  11. Grandstander - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:33 PM

    "he" being Brian Bixler. Although they could bring up Maya to make a spot start as well. They might be waiting to see what Lannan says first.

  12. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    That's nice about BHarp's day…..the pitching must have 'improved' with balls being 'more around the plate'….LOL

  13. Drew8 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    Speaking of pitchers, USA Today has a very handy list of the top 50 prospects for the June draft.http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/top-50-draft-prospects.htmThis is a great resource, considering that the Nats have picks No. 6, 23 and 34.Purke's injury might move him down the tote board.

  14. natsfan1a - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    Thanks, Grandstander, I was a little "cornfused" there.Also, not to make unwanted overtures, but William Tells makes a nice moniker. :-)

  15. FS - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Oooh I like drafts, but not when we draft school players and have to wait years for them to show up. This year's draft is going to be Rays' playground. I believe they have like 7 picks of first 60. I am glad Nats have three picks of first 34. Let's get some more pitching depth in the minors. Some OF with potential to lead off would be nice to, especially college bat that could be ready in a season or two in minors. Anyways, it is amazing that so many players are drafted and signed every season.

  16. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    Mock walked runs in and followed with a single and grand slam. 10 zip when all was said and done. Yeah, I think Rizzo's seen enough.If its Bixler its a "permanent" move. It makes a statement that Rizzo is not really impressed with Cora and Hairston offensively or defensively for that matter. If Bixler produces at the plate and proves he can also play the outfield? Ankiel, Nix, and Bernadina would make for three left handed outfielders. Bernadina's probably going to have to really rake or he'll be waiting 'til around the end of the season depending on injury and/or poor record.

  17. masnstinks - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Can we please get rid of Matt Stairs – is he still O-fer?

  18. ehay2k - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    Mark, I was at the Hagerstown Suns game tonight, the first game of a doubleheader. Bryce Harper started off with a huge home run to deep right center, but in top of the 4th or 5th inning, ran hard into the outfield wall and was down on the field for several minutes. He stayed in the game but did not bat again.

  19. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 22, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    why is this doofus mock even cluttering up our 40-man roster?

  20. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    Bryce didn't play in the second game. And honestly the Groovin' Aruban looks a lot better than Harper … and yes, of course, he is also quite a bit older.

  21. JaneB - Apr 22, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    Good for Bryce. I hope the Bixlwr rumors are true….making the 40 man is a big step closer to making the Bigs. I really really liked him this spring. He deserves it.

  22. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Bixler is an error machine just like Desmond. This team is going to regret giving Alberto Gonzalez away. Don't let Desmond hold the baby.

  23. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 22, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    Alumni News, off topic: Aaron Crow (Idiot) is 2-0 as a Royals reliever.

  24. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 4:49 AM

    Its true Alberto was a better fielder … its really kind of a shame. But I suspect Bixler is the better hitter. He managed to get on base five times in Detwiler's victory … one way or the other. There's your lead off hitter. Then just put Espinosa and his bat at #2. You just might have something … but you never know until its the majors.

  25. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 4:55 AM

    Alumni News, off topic: Aaron Crow (Idiot) is 2-0 as a Royals reliever.And Henry Rodriguez and his 101 mph fastball appear ready for Nats park. And you're worried about Crow? WTF?Worry about AJ Coke, Robbie Ray, Nate Karns, Cole Kimball, and Adam Carr? And then there's Rafael Martin and Josh Wilkie?The Nats HAVE PLENTY OF RELIEVERS (even if the wrong guys were picked to be on the major league roster … (veterans who suck whale protuberances in games) they NEED TOP STARTERS. Crow is a reliever not a starter. NEXT?

  26. Cwj - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:12 AM

    I only see one main problem in the Bullpen. The "long man" role: Gaudin. He seems to be at his best when coming in with 2 outs and runners already on base. Heaven forbid he pitches the next inning, because that's when he gets clobbered. Not something you want to see from someone who's supposed to pitch multiple innings.

  27. natsfan1a - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Gaudin scares me, too.In other news (and forgive the cross-promotion), I now love Livo even more after reading Kilgore's story on the death of young Mr. Guillen at the Dominican academy. Why? See quote below:"Friday evening, upon learning of Guillen’s death, Nationals starting pitcher Livan Hernandez, who is from Cuba, requested a team meeting. He asked teammates for cash donations for Guillen’s family. Within half an hour, Hernandez held a cardboard box with more than $6,000 inside."

  28. Anonymous8 - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    masnstinks said… Can we please get rid of Matt Stairs – is he still O-fer? April 21, 2011 8:45 PM ________________________________They are waiting for him to do something and that can be a long time. If he does something, then that gives Rizzo his justification but at what cost? 4 meaningless walks. Strikeouts with the game on the line. They are pressing him inside and then striking him out on the high cheese. When he fouled off that pitch yesterday I think Bob Carpenter was ready to celebrate. So the question becomes, who do you replace him with?

  29. Anonymous8 - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    natsfan1a said… In other news (and forgive the cross-promotion), I now love Livo even more after reading Kilgore's story on the death of young Mr. Guillen at the Dominican academy. Why? See quote below:"Friday evening, upon learning of Guillen’s death, Nationals starting pitcher Livan Hernandez, who is from Cuba, requested a team meeting. He asked teammates for cash donations for Guillen’s family. Within half an hour, Hernandez held a cardboard box with more than $6,000 inside." ______________________________Thanks for sharing. That is a nice story to read. I feel so bad for that family and glad Livan arranged for an impromptu fundraiser to help the family.

  30. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    I would not be surprise if the Nationals aren't no hit (if not a perfect game) at least twice this season. Additionally, I actually think Flores is a better hitter than Ramos.

  31. Anonymous8 - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Bryce Harper update: Hits a HR then hits the outfield wall but was OK after lying on the warning track for a while.The other big news is that Bryce Harper was having vision issues. Here's some quotes:“I have been getting work in the batting cage with my dad,” Bryce Harper said. “And I got contacts. I was told my vision is really bad.”Harper said he wore his new contacts for the first time on Wednesday in the Suns’ 8-3 loss. He got two singles in his first two at-bats and finished 2-for-5 in the game. He is 3-for-7 with a home run and four runs scored since starting to wear them. He is now hitting .261.“I’m seeing the ball really well now,” Harper said. “I’m seeing the spin and I’m seeing the strings really well. My vision is now in HD.”

  32. Anonymous8 - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    natsfan1a, to also go with your Yewri Guillen story, I read that technically Guillen wasn't even under contract with the Nationals but they are going to pay his $30,000 contract that would have been approved eventually.The Nationals attempted to sign Guillen in 2010, but a misunderstanding about his middle name caused MLB to balk before approving the deal. Since Guillen’s contract had not been formally approved, the family has yet to receive the $30,000 signing bonus Guillen agreed to with the Nationals. But the Nationals will pay the signing bonus in full, a source indicated. The contract also includes a life insurance policy standard in every minor league baseball contract.

  33. josh f - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Mark – what's the word on Zim? We know he's not coming off the DL on Monday, but could it be weeks before he's ready to go, or just a few more games?

  34. Mark'd - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Pudge's contract is up after this season so I foresee Ramos and Flores as the catching tandem until Norris proves ready.

  35. Mark'd - Apr 22, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Good morning reading about Bryce Harper and Yewri Guillen. Thanks Anon8 and Natsfan1a !!!!

  36. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Mark – Any thought that Espinosa would move over to SS while Desmond is away?Natslifer

  37. N. Cognito - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Anonymous8 said… "They are waiting for [Stairs] to do something and that can be a long time. If he does something, then that gives Rizzo his justification but at what cost?"Don't shortchange this and other Nats boards. If Stairs' next hit is a walk-off 3-run homer, he'll achieve god-like status on the boards for at least a month, with people claiming he's a clutch hitter. Won't matter if after the homer he goes zero for 15 over that month.

  38. natsfan1a - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Thx for the additional details, Anon8, and you're welcome, Mark'd.

  39. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Somebody said don't let Desmond hold the baby. I guess implying that he would drop it. Ha ha thats good.Eckstein needs to go

  40. Anonymous8 - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    N. Cognito, exactly and like many, that is what he needs to do. That one at-bat against Halladay where he didn't swing at 3 straight strikes up to this point has defined Stairs season.We all know how the bandwagon works. He gets a GW hit and all is forgotten but the facts are to this point he has just taken up space as we have to compare him to a replacement player.I have to say I like what Ankiel and Nix are contributing. While neither are All Stars, both are making positive impact.,,,and right back at you Natsfan1a and Mark'd

  41. Doc - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    @ Anon. 7:05 I thinkn that you're right on both counts. Flores hasn't proved it lately, but yeah I think that he's a better hitter than Ramos, probably more power. The year that Flores was Rule 5'd by the Nats he had 21 HRs in A ball, in about 100 games or so.Last Winter Leagues, Ramos was outstandingly better than Flores, power and average; but Flores hadn't played in two years.Don't think that the Nats should be in a big hurry to get rid of Flores.

  42. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Doc said…Don't think that the Nats should be in a big hurry to get rid of Flores. This is my point. I think Ramos has a great future, don't get me wrong, but think long and hard before ditching Flores. I'm beginning to think that Rizzo is in the business to make deals for deals sake. No way I let Flores go right now unless some unreal offer comes along. Otherwise, I'll give him a year.Flores is clutch and they just don't have many like that in the Nationals organization.

  43. masnstinks - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    It just seems like certain players ( and coaches) have a protective shield around them and can't ever be criticized — sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but — Matt Stairs, who is riding on his past record and Eckstein , who may be hard-working and an all-around great guy – but is he effective? Things are scary- quiet on the Zim front. I don't like it.

  44. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    masnstinks said… It just seems like certain players ( and coaches) have a protective shield around them and can't ever be criticized — sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but — Matt Stairs, who is riding on his past record and Eckstein Not ridicuing anyone's opinions on hitting coaches, but, and I mean this sincerely 'cause I don't know. Were there hitting coaches say 50 years ago? My deep conviction on hitting coaches is that they are 100% useless.

  45. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    To answer a few questions, before I post my preview of the Pirates series…–Ryan Zimmerman is eligible to return from the DL on Sunday, but he won't be activated then. The Nationals plan to re-evaluate him Monday when they get back to town. Nothing is official yet by any means, but my educated guess is that he won't return for the start of the homestand. At this point, he's going to need to spend a couple of days on a minor-league rehab assignment. So — and again, this is my best educated guess — the earliest we're likely to see him is probably next weekend's series against the Giants. That would be three weeks after he initially got hurt in New York, which is about how much time team officials expected him to miss when they placed him on the DL.– When Ian Desmond goes on paternity leave, I don't expect Danny Espinosa to move to shortstop. Not being on the current road trip, I haven't been able to ask this question specifically. But during spring training I asked Jim Riggleman if he would plan to use Espinosa at shortstop on days Desmond was out of the lineup. Riggleman said they would probably consider something like that only if Desmond was going to be out for a prolonged time (ie. going on the DL). If it was only for a day or two, he didn't want to move Espinosa to another position. So look for either Alex Cora or Brian Bixler to be at shortstop when Desmond leaves for a few days.

  46. Cwj - Apr 22, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Remember that the reason Stairs is on the team is because he is known as one of the best pinch hitters in baseball.23(!) career pinch hit home runs, and he hit 4 last year.Last years stats as a pinch hitter: .231 BA, however a .519 SLG% and 9RBI in 52 AB. Career .263/365/509 as a Pinch hitter.Obviously we haven't seen any of that so far this season (and he's certainly not getting any younger), but it's still early.

  47. Tcostant - Apr 22, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Josh asked about Zimmerman, according to my fantasy baseball site (fleaflicker.com) the Nationals will wait until Monday and evaluated him and then decide what to do next.

  48. Mark'd - Apr 22, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Cwj, I have seen his impressive PH stats and so far it is K's and groundouts. It needs to get better quickly because so far it is just ugly.

  49. naterial Guy - Apr 22, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Re Stairs:Plus he is 100% one dimensional and serves no defensive value. I just don't think this team has the luxury ove have a player who can only do one thing.

  50. Cwj - Apr 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    @Mark'd and Naterial- Oh yes, Stairs has been dreadful so far. It is entirely possible he's hit a wall do to age. He's 43, I think.Anyway I think the Nats should wait until inter-league play, when Stairs might get a shot at DH for a couple games, before letting him go.Point taken on Stairs being one dimensional.

  51. JamesFan - Apr 22, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Harper. I'm a bit concerned that the youngster feels compelled to come up with reasons why he isn't destroying A ball. First, it was the quality of the pitching and now eye problems. Neither Nats fans nor Harper have reason to panic.

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