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Hairston coming off DL, Bixler optioned

Jul 17, 2011, 4:45 PM EDT

Updated at 5:43 p.m.

ATLANTA — Injured utilityman Jerry Hairston will join the Nationals in Houston tonight and be activated off the 15-day disabled list in time for tomorrow's series opener against the Astros, according to a club source.

To clear space on the roster for Hairston, the Nationals optioned infielder Brian Bixler to Class AAA Syracuse following today's 9-8 loss to the Braves. Bixler was hitting .196 with one extra-base hit in 45 games, but he had contributed to several recent victories with his baserunning.

Hairston hasn't played since June 29 in Anaheim, when he took a fastball from the Angels' Dan Haren off his right wrist, suffering a slight fracture in the process. The 35-year-old hoped to play through the injury, but it was severe enough to require a stint on the DL.

Hairston spent the last two nights on a rehab assignment with Class AA Harrisburg, where he went 1-for-6 with two walks while playing shortstop. The Nationals initially wanted him to play a third rehabRead more »

  1. Grandstander - Jul 17, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Even though it should be Stairs, I think Mr. Bixler will be departing us shortly. Kid played hard while he was here though, I don't mind knowing that he can come up in a pinch.

  2. Mark'd - Jul 17, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    Grandstander, I agree and Stairs should (but won't) have a guilty conscience of seeing Bixler go.

  3. Section 222 - Jul 17, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    But who will pinch run for Stairs if he ever gets another hit?

  4. Tim - Jul 17, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    I think Jerry is a valuable piece of this year's team… on and off the field. Glad he's back.I also think Stairs will be DFA'd, not Bixler.

  5. baseballswami - Jul 17, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    The classy thing to do would be for Stairs to retire gracefully before the trip to Houston. That is, if the people around him can help him get it that he is done. Section 222 is right about Bixler's speed , though. It's nice to have it late in the game to run for someone – not just stairs. He has run for Morse, too.

  6. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    If the Nats were to keep Stairs over Bixler it would be an insult to:(a) the rest of the team;(b) the fans; and(c) the game of baseball.Bixler may not bring much of a bat to the team, but he can play multiple positions reasonably well and he can run the bases. Stairs can strike out with men on base. You be the judge.

  7. gonatsgo - Jul 17, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Eugene -well stated and agreed whole-heartedly.

  8. Big Cat - Jul 17, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Harper hitting the skids in AA. Tyler Moore, 3 for 4 last night with his 19th bomb. I think this guy might be the real deal. Marrero hitting .297 in AAA. Less power though, but still….Brad Peacock a rude awakening in his first AAA start

  9. Gonat - Jul 17, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    Mark'd said… Gonat, thanks for the ERA stat and Nice to see JZim moving on up.Nats face #1 today in Jurj and hopefully they show him the same rudeness they showed Hanson last night. July 17, 2011 11:39 AM __________________________Good call. They are lighting Jair up!!!! 6 earned runs so far. ERA from 1.87 to start the day to 2.28

  10. Gonat - Jul 17, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Nats 3-9 with RISP today.

  11. sjm308 - Jul 17, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    While I think Stairs is the obvious choice I would not be insulted if Bixler is sent down. Don't people understand that we are .500 for lots of reasons and its not just hitting, catching and pitching. There is a chemistry in this clubhouse and people actually like each other. Yes, Stairs is the weak link but he is the 25th player, not a cog in our drive to the pennant. So Eugene, you can be insulted but that is not the adjective I will use. I guarantee you that NONE of the players are ever insulted, this is a business to them and they understand. Again, I completely agree that Stairs should be released (maybe he would actually accept a move to AAA where he can become some sort of player/coach). But I trust Rizzo, Davey and the scouts that get together to make this kind of move. As for an insult to the game of baseball, what do you call what Uggla and Dunn are doing this year. Its just bad play, not an insult. An insult to baseball is looking the other way during steroid use, betting on the game, not hustling but as long as I see Stairs making the effort I will not be insulted and neither will his teammates.Go Nats

  12. JaneB - Jul 17, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    I'll be glad to get Jerry back. Davey doesn't use Bixler much, for reasons I so don't understand. So I agree it's likely to be Brian who goes down. I wish it were Stairs for sure.I would sayBurnett, but we would still need someone in the BP to get somebody out. Even if the new somebody isn't a lefty. Can't be worse than what we have now,

  13. sjm308 - Jul 17, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    JaneB, you know, I had not thought about Burnett but he might actually benefit from going down and working out whatever issues are going on. It has not been pretty this year. Does he have options? We could bring Bally back and Detwiler would just have to deal with being the lefty in the bullpen. We need 9 outs. Is Davey going to duplicate last night? Still no Coffey and that would be my choice in the 7th although I love Mattheus, Clip and Storen.

  14. rogieshan - Jul 17, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    Big Cat said…"Tyler Moore, 3 for 4 last night with his 19th bomb. I think this guy might be the real deal."Let's hope so, or he may end up being the next Josh Whitesell.

  15. natsfan1a - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Welcome back to JerHair.

  16. N. Cognito - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Neither Bixler nor Stairs belong on a major league roster.Both are one dimessinal.Bixler has speed and Stairs has incriminating pictures of someone important.Cora pretty much sucks, too.

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Bixler?? Srsly? Aw, man…

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    and speaking of "needs to retire"–that incriminating pictures meme is getting pretty old.

  19. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    but if Stairs really is here because of some understanding the team has with Jayson Werth … I don't think so, but honestly, that's as likely a reason as I can come up with.

  20. Dave - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Bixler can run. Stairs can…what?

  21. pos anon - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Agree with N. Cognito. Neither Stairs nor Bixler are going to change the Nats or their record. If the Nats end up with a .500 record, it will be great. We realistically have no serious/meaningful chance of making the playoffs this year. It's all about making progress this year and getting ready for next season.

  22. natsfan1a - Jul 17, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Puzzling but agree with N.Cog. and pos anon (and with sec3 re. the meme).

  23. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 17, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    sjm308 @ 3:24,I well understand that this year's Nats are not playing for the pennant and are a .500 (at best) ball club for a number of different reasons. I certainly don't put all the blame on Mr. Stairs (or on any individual — player or management — for that matter). Nevertheless, as a loyal fan (even across the continent), I do feel insulted by his continued presence on the roster. And I would feel even more insulted if I still had the piece of two season tickets that I purchased for five seasons when I was still living in the DC area.In modern NL baseball, I am convinced that a team cannot keep a one-dimensional position player on the roster, even if that player is exceptional at that one dimension. Maybe you can get away with it in the AL, but not in our league, where they still play real, no-DH baseball.In the case of Mr. Stairs, keeping him around means that the Nats are effectively carrying a fractional player on their roster. And that means that the Nats are not fielding the best team they could, which decreases their chances of winning any individual game.To be clear, I know that Nats can't swap Mr. Stairs for Albert Pujols — that's not what I'm arguing. Rather, they should have a player in the 25th slot who can serve multiple purposes, e.g., pinch hitting, pinch running, playing several different positions to allow for double-switches for the pitcher. Whether that player is Brian Bixler, one of the fellows now at Syracuse, or someone picked up off the waiver wire is up to the management team.But I think they owe it to the fans, the other players, and the game itself to field a fully functional team. You can quibble over whether 'insult' is the right word — I'm not wedded to it — but I firmly believe that keeping Mr. Stairs on the team is a huge mistake that makes the Nats less competitive in close games.

  24. Manassas Nats Fan - Jul 17, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Stairs somehow though only one dimension has somehow always stayed. Not sure why? He is not keeping us near .500 neither good or bad. There are several players who have kept us down all season to that level, and several who have kept us up to that level. BTW: the only thing I hate more than Burnett coming and screwing up 3 games in 2 weeks, is word verification to post a comment. That is really annoying.

  25. dj in Fl. - Jul 17, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    I think insult is right on the money. This FO has proven over and over that they are not playing for this year. If fans get upset, well it is just not important. They are convinced they will get others to replace us when they start winning. I do wonder how the players feel about this. You hear them talking about how much more successful they can be this year. But they do not seem to have the FO support to do so. If I remember correctly Houston was a series we expected to win last year, and it began a quick spiral down. Lets hope that the players and us hard core fans can will this team above managments goofs.

  26. NatsLady - Jul 17, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    I feel bad about the hiccup (Bixler) being sent down, but I'm sure he knew he was going when Hairston came back. Seems like Bix is young and energetic and maybe he can improve his offense.But how about sending Burnett to AA to get some of what Lannan got…? He REALLY needs fixing.I think the most likely answer to why Stairs is still here is they don't have anyone they want to bring up yet as far as position players are concerned. Also, you can't send Stairs down, you would have to release him. The best solution would be if Stairs got some sort of injury, went on the DL, and faded into history from there. But, honestly, Matt Stairs is not the difference between the Nats being .500 and the Nats winning the World Series.

  27. pos anon - Jul 17, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    I would be interested in someone's take on this: It looks like DJ is playing a variation of AL ball. Playing for the big inning (per Weaver) and having enough bullpen to hang on. It seems to me that Riggleman was a bit better at managing the close games. Not a fact, just a perception. Anyone?

  28. JaneB - Jul 18, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    NatsLady, maybe the coach who helped Lannan could help Sean. This is the first time I am flat out mad at the Nats management. How you keel Stairs at this point is beyond me. There is no obvious explanation for it. And if it's to keep Werth happy, I say break it up. Time for Werth to find a new source of inspiration and coaching. This is a 24 man roster, with Stairs on it. It's been long enough. Way longer than long enough.

  29. N. Cognito - Jul 18, 2011 at 2:15 AM

    "speaking of "needs to retire"–that incriminating pictures meme is getting pretty old."Yeah, it's really old, but I couldn't think of any other possible reason he's still here.

  30. Anonymous - Jul 18, 2011 at 4:10 AM

    Clearly Johnson was one reason why Stairs made this club out of ST and was added to the roster. Clearly not a Riggleman choice. I am not sure why and it sure looks like a brain fart to me. Especially since they are now running the bullpen ragged! They need a deeper bullpen more than Stairs or Bixler.Does Bixler still have options? Or is he available on waivers?

  31. Anonymous - Jul 18, 2011 at 4:13 AM

    It seems to me that Riggleman was a bit better at managing the close games. Not a fact, just a perception. Anyone?Sure now, and how did he do that? By way overusing Clippard and Storen (the only two he trusted with just a bit of Coffey and Gaudin of course before the DL). And now Johnson is paying for that. He said he really wanted the rubber match against Atlanta (for obvious divisional reasons) and decided to go to Clippard again, plus Matheus again. You can't keep doing that. The bullpen needs to be restructured before they lose the best part to the DL.

  32. Anonymous - Jul 18, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    I think you all are kidding yourselves about Tyler Moore. Chris Marrero is the one you need to pay attention to. Tyler Moore is a butcher at 1B ,and even though he hits bombs, has a hole in his swing as big as the grand canyon. He is also a year and !/2 older than Marrero. You all should also have a 4A chant whenever you get excited about Antonelli at Syracuse. Think cannon fodder. He is no different than Seth Bynum. He had his chance with the Padres and came up short.

  33. Anonymous - Jul 18, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    @anon July 18, 2011 11:27 AMI think you all are kidding yourselves about Tyler Moore. Chris Marrero is the one you need to pay attention to. Tyler Moore is a butcher at 1B ,and even though he hits bombs, has a hole in his swing as big as the grand canyon. He is also a year and !/2 older than Marrero. Young, major league mature at the plate. His power could return as he matures into his 20's. Hopefully, with BA – OBP intact. And fielding improved. Yes, Moore is the one who should get traded … not Marerro but clearly if the scouts see what we see Marerro will fetch a higher return? Right? It all depends on whether he projects as the Nats future 1B. They can keep Marerro in AAA for at least another 2 years to see if the power returns and to improve his defense, as you cannily observe when you compare his age to Moore's. But, would Marerro be able to handle that?You all should also have a 4A chant whenever you get excited about Antonelli at Syracuse. Think cannon fodder. He is no different than Seth Bynum. He had his chance with the Padres and came up short.Weren't you the one who said that about Michael Morse? Snap that's right and you were? Wait for it … W-R-O-N-G! And believe it or not Brad Peacock was also headed that direction UNTIL THIS YEAR? Antonelli is extremely athletic and that's why he was drafted 1st while Desmond and Espinosa were drafted third? The guy suffered through a number of hand/wrist related injuries he is just coming back from. He is still young enough to be a prospect at 26 in AAA. Right dude?So if Desmond or Espinosa go down with an injury (and both have had close calls) he would be their replacement; NOT Lombardozzi. He isn't athletic enough to play shortstop and may be okay at third base. Would you rather see Hairston at shortstop? Or filling the gap in at 2nd? I sure as heck WOULD NOT. He's not a part of the future. Hairston had his chance … yes last year with the Padres as well and before that all the way to the Orioles. And Cora is no bat. So WRONG ON THIS ONE ANON.

  34. Dave - Jul 18, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    I'm trying to figure out how one Anon can identify another Anon as a person who was wrong about putting down Michael Morse in the past.You guys are anonymous, right? Is there some kind of identifiable Anon-DNA buried somehow in your posts?

  35. DFL - Jul 18, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    Moore has a grand total of eleven walks(less than one a week) this year and 90 strike outs, an atrocious BB to K ratio. Major League pitching is going to eat him alive.

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