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Morse, Ankiel to DL; Nady, Tracy on team

Apr 2, 2012, 6:10 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Michael Morse is eligible to return from the DL as soon as April 10.

Unable to ensure either player would have enough time to get back into game shape before Opening Day, the Nationals have decided to place outfielders Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list to begin the season.

Both transactions, revealed by manager Davey Johnson to reporters before today's Grapefruit League finale in Fort Myers, Fla., had become increasingly plausible over the last week. Neither Morse (suffering from a strained lat muscle) nor Ankiel (tight quadriceps muscle) is expected to miss much time.

The Nationals will be able to backdate Morse's DL move to March 26 and Ankiel's DL move to March 28. That means Morse will be eligible to return as soon as April 10, Ankiel as soon as April 12.

With both players unable to play on Opening Day, the Nationals have finalized all but one spot on their 25-man roster. Veteran Mark DeRosa is expected to start in left field Thursday against the Cubs, with Roger Bernadina in center field (though Bernadina had to be removedRead more »

108 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Wally - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Injuries continue to nag us, although the relative impact of Ankiel v. Bernadina v. Nady v. Carroll doesn't seem very high. It is not like going from Michael Morse to one of those guys …. uh, wait a minute.Just kidding. Very excited about the season, and in terms of 'watchability'*, this is far and away the best Nats team ever.* Watchability is my scientifically defined term, meaning 'how often will I flip around to find something else to watch while I wait for a guy that I really want to see'. Right now, it is maybe only Lannan and whomever fills the two spare OF roles until Mighty Morse comes back, and Harper gets up here. Some predictions: Durbin takes the last bullpen spot (Rizzo just can't help himself with options) Ram-Moose hits 20 HRs, Espy does notEspy wins a GG, and has a .750 OPSZim is a top 3 MVP guyALR hits 25 HRs with 100 RBIsNats make playoffs.GYFNG

  2. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    This could change quite a bit by the end of June.

  3. Positively Half St. - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    I think an interesting twist on the options calculus is the hope that Drew Storen comes back quickly. If Durbin has to be let go anyway to make room for Storen, does it make sense to burn one of Mattheus's options for a week or two of Durbin? As we learned from earlier discussions about the fifth starter, even someone who has established himself like John Lannan might provide some flexibility because the team still has one option left on him after all this time. The Nats could find themselves wishing they still had one for Mattheus a couple of years from now if they burn one now.+1/2St.

  4. alexva - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    I think he has to be optioned one way or another. You can do this multiple times throughout a season and it only couhts as one.

  5. Theophilus - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Mark Z patiently explained to me a year or so ago that players may be "optioned" multiple times in a season, for up to four seasons. After that, e.g., Bernadina, it's "Hasta la vista, baby."

  6. Positively Half St. - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Yes, alexva, that is a good point. If Durbin isn't the one sent down for Storen, then Mattheus would be. Silly of me not to think of that.

  7. Mick - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    I hope I am wrong, but this old timer sees parallels' with 1970 Senators. Those Nats came off an 86-76 season in 1969, Ted Williams was AL manager of the Year, Hondo hit 48 HR's, Epstein and Kenny Mac hit 30 HR's, Darrel Knowles was named to the 1969 AL All Star Team along with Hondo, led the MLB in saves(9-2) and Dick Bosman lead the AL in ERA with a 14-5 record. MLB prognosticators predicted the Nats would finish 2nd in the AL east and would challenge the Orioles for the division crown. So, in 1970 the Nats finish 70-92 with only Bosman playing to his expectations that season. then in the off season, the owner went stupid and traded away some very good pitchers for Denny McClain and the rest as they say, was history! Gang, I think the same thing may happen to our 2012 Nats and these injuries are the beginning to a 70-92 season. I just hope the ownership does not go stupid if this happens.

  8. NatsLady - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    This could change quite a bit by the end of today, the way things are going.

  9. JayB - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    "Steve Lombardozzi, outfielders Brett Carroll and Xavier Nady and corner infielder Chad Tracy" This is the vastly improved bench that you all promised Rizzo would have in place by the end of spring training huh?Yes Rizzo is better than Jimbo, DJ is better than Riggs and Acta….team is better than 2010…..but what could it be if they just addressed the needs they stated as critical back in November…..Bench was a huge hole and cost them 10 wins in my view….this is a worse bench then what then ended the season with.

  10. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    The only bench with a huge hole that JayB is even remotely qualified to speak about is the one in that wood building out in the back yard with the crescent moon over the door.

  11. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Mick, what injuries are you talking about? The only reason the Nats have injuries now is because they are trying to stash players. Nobody is out for surgery. Nobody is in DC, Birmingham or Anaheim for evaluation. Face it, the Nats are probably the healthiest team in the majors right now.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    What would a day be without the consistant dark cloud that is JayB.On a better note, watching Bull Durham (another ST ritual that must be observed every year) and decided that since Nuke Laloosh and Stephen Strasburg both wear #37, well just maybe we could give Stras a new nickname.

  13. bdrube - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    @Mick – this is a VASTLY improved pitching staff over even a year ago. Last year, not one starting pitcher remained in the rotation for the entire season. Now, we have three likely 200 IP guys plus the return of The Ace. The bullpen is also deeper, and no longer will feature the likes of Brian Broderick and Chad Gaudin.All of that alone should easily be worth at least five more wins.

  14. JayB - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Njack….did you say there was no way Nady would even be in MLB camp…..now he is on the team…..how do you explain that if our off season moves were as strong as you said they were. You could say injuries….but truth is that Nady as bad as he is at this point in his career is much better that the Roster building moves Rizzo made over the whole off season.Michaels, Carrol, Mike C. are the highlights from outside….Roger B and Brown the highlights from system…..that sucks I think even you must admit. Yes I know Harper….Harper….Harper….not going to help win the division this year…..and that is what they should be trying to do. By the time he comes up and hits they are going to be out of the race.

  15. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    It is not possible to have a bench worse than last year. I don't know how many times we had to endure a pinch hitter come up with RISP/less than two outs, watch three pitches and go sit down. At least these guys are not strikeout specialists and have a chance of placing the bat on the ball at some point in the at bat.

  16. baseballswami - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    NatsJack – I always have a ceremonial watching of Bull Durham in the days leading up to Opening Day. I really need to schedule that quickly now!!! Questions for all of you fellow gurus — have we ever had a bench player that came from AAA on his way up to the majors? Seems to me that every single bench player has been a journeyman, aging vet or retread on the Syracuse/DC yo-yo.

  17. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    The Old Senators ONLY had TWO pitchers of any note: Dick Bowman and Joe Coleman. They used Jim Hanahan, Casey Cox, and a converted outfielder named Dick Such … the back of the bullpen was solid with Horacio Pena and Darryl Knowles … but that was it. After that year Hanahan was playing softball in Rockville. As I recall the Orioles had starters Cuellar, McNally, Palmer, Dobson, etc. right into Pete Richert. And fielding? My god Howard in left? Rich Reichardt in right? Stroud in center? The only decent OF was Del Unser … The only corollary to this team might be the duo of Rodriguez (previously McMullen) and Brinkman (improved his hitting) as the left side. Tim Cullen pales beside someone like Espinosa … I don't see the resemblance honestly … the current Nat's roster is brimming with talent … still TBD (to be developed) but there definitely is talent.

  18. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    JayB is just as clueless as Periculum, just with a much more limited vocabulary.

  19. JayB - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    This team is going to lose 10 one run games scoring less that 3 runs this April and May. This is going to be the difference between a playoff run and another season of 80 wins. Some big bats at the start of the season (required Rizzo to do something) would make this a team pushing for playoffs in September…..as is they will be calling up AAA types in and talking about the need for a CF/Lead Off hitter and a better bench this coming off season.

  20. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    JayB is just as clueless as Periculum, just with a much more limited vocabulary.I'm changing my handle to Tweeter Swag. Since Harper and I appear to draw blame for everything … ~laughing~~Peric

  21. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Some big bats at the start of the season (required Rizzo to do something) would make this a team pushing for playoffs in September…..as is they will be calling up AAA types in and talking about the need for a CF/Lead Off hitter and a better bench this coming off season.JayB, you are right (albeit I do think they will do better than your prediction) about the lack of a hitter. Lead-off isn't the problem … its the ensemble. They know it. Davey has convinced Rizzo to wait and develop from within as there are players who are on the cusp and could provide this. They will know more about them after this season … and then they should be able to determine who and what they will need to supplement the hometown talent.You can complain about it all day and night but that's the call Johnson and Rizzo have made. That's the road they are taking. We'll just have to wait and see if it leads to better offense in the next year or two. Nothing says that won't work its just going to take longer than you would like. Harper is the key. Then Rendon and any others who seem ready.And yes it is the more "frugal" approach. And I'm sure ownership appreciates Johnson's inclinations.

  22. SCNatsFan - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    You are right Jay B… trade our pitching for a player who will play 2 months for us in the outfield as Harper, Werth and Morse will be there in 2 months. But hey, we'll get those couple of wins and not worry about trading young pitching to win a couple of games in April. Then we'll have a guy we traded for sitting on our bench. I bet Rizzo is worried about his job with forward thinking ideas like this.We have our CF and his name is Werth.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    JayB…. for sure I stated the organizational mantra that Nady was going to AAA only. But the organizational mantra changed after they saw what kind of shape he was in and how well he was swinging the bat. I mean within a week he Braves were beating on the Nats door for him.This bench, when everone returns from the DL is miles better than any bench the Nats have ever had.

  24. PDowdy83 - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    I am completely baffled by JayB's bashing of the bench…Rizzo said he was going to improve the bench this offseason and I think he did. He also has more depth hiding out at AAA with Jason Michaels and Mark Teahan.Derosa = or > Jerry HairstonLombo > CoraTracy & Nady > StairsBernadina = BernadinaSure Carroll isn't a great hitter but he can play 3 OF positions adequately and has a cannon.

  25. jd - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    JayB, The bench of Flores,DeRosa,Carol,Tracy,Lombardozzi and Nady is your standard normal MLB type bench. In fact I would say it's above average. I don't understand who you'd have wanted Rizzo to sign for the bench; Pujols? maybe Fielder? If the Nats have trouble scoring it won't be because of the bench. I am more concerned with ALR and Morse's injury than I am with with the bench which will amount to 1 or 2 games a year in one direction or the other.

  26. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Watching Colorado and Seattle game and Jamie Moyer is wearing old school stirrups. What a throw back.

  27. baseballswami - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    I am not in the camp that feels that the season will be a failure if we don't make the playoffs. I think the Nats will be a very exciting team to watch, I think they will be competitive with every team in almost every game. I also think they will be a good team for a number of years to come and will get into the playoffs within the next few years. Our division is just brutal. I look for continuing development, gelling of the core group and maybe some more tweaks, Harper maturing. As long as I see exciting, hard-nosed baseball and the organization building a quality franchise I will be ok with it. This franchise is no longer embarrassing or boring — GYFNG! The healthiest 25 go north( plus a few almost-healthy) — TONIGHT!!

  28. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    SS might have a million-dollar arm but imo he doesn't have a 5-cent head, so I'd vote "no" on that one. :-)NatsJack in Florida said… What would a day be without the consistant dark cloud that is JayB. On a better note, watching Bull Durham (another ST ritual that must be observed every year) and decided that since Nuke Laloosh and Stephen Strasburg both wear #37, well just maybe we could give Stras a new nickname.

  29. JayB - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    0 for 25 in pinch hitting in the 8th inning or later…..that will cost you games and it did last year.Money equals players…they build this bench on the cheap and late in the off season….as they always do…..and they always under perform the league average for bench players…..really not much of a mystery is it.

  30. whatsanattau - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Not that anyone is asking (yet), but my fearless predictions to myself:89 Wins 89 will be enough for the 5th wildcard and/or a play-in game for the wildcardTeam MVP – ZimmermanMost Wins Pitcher – J Zimmerman (17)Most HR – Zimmerman (32)Most RBI – Zimmerman (110)Highest AVG – Zimmerman (.310)Rookie of the Year – Harper (considered Lombadozzi, but believe Harper will be up for good by June)Most Strikeouts by Pitcher – Gonzalez (210)Most Strikeouts by Batter – Werth (160) (Espinosa & LaRoche will k more frequently, but not play as often)Most SB – Desmond (32)Most Saves – Storen (36) (I'm hoping HRod will be the backup with less than 8 because it would be bad to have a backup with more)Most ejections – Johnson (6)Most Days on DL – Ankiel (+50)First Player to be traded – LannanStarting Lineup playoffs – Lombardozzi, Desmond, Zimmerman, Morse, Harper, Werth, LaRoche, Ramos

  31. NatsLady - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Why do you think Espinosa won't play? He hardly ever misses games. It's Werth that will get a day off once a week or so, I would guess.

  32. NatsLady - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    NJ, also watching the Seattle-Colorado game, with no sound. This Seattle pitcher (Iwakuma?)has an interesting delivery. He doesn't have the hands behind his head like Wang and Darvish, but he has a little leg kick. Wonder if that is intended to throw off the batters? He just walked a guy.

  33. JayBSpeak Translator - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    I'm going to rehash the same old argument yet again.If anything, I'll be even more clueless this time.I'm going to say you told me I could do it now.Even though all anyone here has ever told meIs to shut up and go away.

  34. erocks33 - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    OK, JayB … I agree that the Nats don't have the strongest bench right now (although I do think it's their best one they've ever had).But, maybe to help persuade some of your critics, can you:1) list *WHO* the Nats should have signed for the bench in the offseason2) tell us which teams in the NL have the best bench, and whyLooking forward to your analysis. Thanks.

  35. Anonymous - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Nats 75-87.

  36. baseballswami - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    The Nats are playing in Nats Park – tomorrow!!! All of you who are going to the game, give a loud and lusty cheer for me for the team!!! Make it especially loud for Wilson Ramos, if you don't mind. Wish I could go. I will be watching.

  37. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    I second swami on all counts – so please make it a doubly especially loud cheer, if you would. 'kay, thanks.

  38. JayB - Apr 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    I'll be there….and I will be all Nats as always…hope all works out with the bats.

  39. MicheleS - Apr 2, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    whatsanattau.. Pass the koolaid.. I would like to have some of that! Pah.. pah.. Playoffs!!!Also, if I can get out of my meeting by noon, I will be at the game and will be chearing LOUDLY!

  40. NatsLady - Apr 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    From Twitter– so much for getting Votto next year.Can confirm report by @JonHeymanCBS. Votto deal will be 10 years, $200M. Through age 38. #Reds

  41. Steve M. - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    JayB, all I have to say is, we will all know when they start to play the games and then it will change drastically when Morse and Ankiel come off of the DL and then when Harper is called up.The problem is that most of these players without options won't pass through waivers which makes me think Lombardozzi may be go to AAA. I have said before I am not confident in Ankiel coming back and staying healthy.

  42. Steve M. - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    MicheleS, puh…puh…pah…PLAYOFFS!

  43. NatsLady - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    If I could hope that Ankiel and Morse will come back and Harper will be called up AND no one else will be injured, that would be so nice…

  44. JaneB - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    I like the bench better than any bench we have had so far. Starting there, and heading over to the bull pen, which I like better than ever before….and rounding back to the dugout with five actual pitchers (plus the guys in Syracuse) and looking at the Everyday Guys (playing and healing), there is no doubt but that is the best team we will ever have fielded. happiness reigns in my house, at least. I'm finished drinking my pa pa pa playoff Koolaid. I say we go 85-77. GYFNG!

  45. NatsLady - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    My Twitter app shows my tweets by the number of days. The Vigil for Ramos was 143 days ago. It seems like yesterday…See you all at the game tomorrow (whoever is there).

  46. whatsanattau - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    In answer to "why my playoff lineup doesn't include Espinosa", its not so much that I don't have faith in Espy, it's that I think Lombo's OBP will drive lineup decisions by year end. As to how I can justify a claim of playoffs, I think the team is 8-9 wins better than last year due to Harper, Gio, health, Lidge, and DeRosa. I looked up the standings for the last few years and 88-89 wins would be good for a fifth best record in the NL. You don't have to win 90+. Plus, I'm a fan. My personal preference – I don't like complaining about what we don't have and placing blame on someone for not getting it for me. I prefer to look for the good and congratulate the organization for getting what they got.I'll be at the game tomorrow with son and we will cheer hard and represent well.

  47. Wally - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Cain and Votto just signed huge extensions. Votto's seems crazy. Great player, I just can't see going 10 years on any player. It is why I am glad they passed on Fielder at those numbers, even though I would have loved him for 6 years or so.They really should try to tie up JZimm on a Gio-like deal.

  48. bdrube - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    @Wally – you said it. Votto's deal (10 years/$225 million) is insane. RZimm really did give the Nats a big time hometown discount. Even Werth's deal looks good by comparison.

  49. Theophilus - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Unless Votto turns into a pasta pit, he looks like he has the physique to play 10 more years. I doubt Pujols can make it to the end of his contract. I would have said the same about Fielder; thought he was Babe Ruth with an extra beer gut (with the Brewers you would expect anything else?) but saw him on MLB Network a week or so ago and he still looks short and dumpy but much more "condensed" than last year. Maybe there's hope for him.

  50. Gonat - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Gio's deal could be a steal when he signed his contract extension.

  51. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Votto's contract makes Zim's look really good. Isn't Votto's actually for 12 years now? He was already signed for 2 years, I thought I read his new one kicks in AFTER that…crazy.

  52. Wally - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Anon, That is my understanding, too (12 years of control). With the crackdown on PEDs, I think it is the rare player who remains upper echelon beyond 36 or so, maybe earlier. So the end of these contracts, all of them in my opinion, will be huge drags on the teams. I don't think the first 5 years is worth the pain of the last 5. But it definitely says that if you have a good young guy, give him a guarantee in his cheap years in return for a few options on his FA years.Plus, it looks like the increased TV money is really flowing into player salaries now. 3 of the 4 $200m contracts happened this offseason.

  53. Cwj - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Chase Hughes has a good article he posted on CSN ("Is Strasburg Not an Ace?"-linked top right corner of NI), referring to Jon Morosi's ridiculous ranking of opening day starters.Jon "I don't watch baseball I read about it" Morosi has also criticized Nats fans and made fun of Oriole fans, the Nats in general and Strasburg repeatedly in his baffling amount of tweets.Not sure why I'm mentioning this, sorry for the rant, but Morosi knows nothing about what an "ace" is.And kudos to Chase Hughes for not becoming furious like me after reading Morisi for much of the day :-)

  54. The Fox - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Wally,You are correct Votto has 2 years remaining on his current contract and then the 10 year contract kicks in. I'm really not surprised about the yearly average salary, (top movie stars can out earn most sports athletes and their careers are longer, at least the male ones are), but the length of the contracts seem excessive. I'm not sure who these teams think they are bidding against? Also Votto is a first baseman while Zimmerman can move to first later in his career.I guess Bill Veeck was correct, “It isn’t the high price of stars that is expensive; it’s the high price of mediocrity.”

  55. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    Do you think MLB is ready for two players to get married to each other if they live in a city where it is legal to do so?

  56. NatsLady - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    OK, now that the basketball game is over, can we have baseball season, please. I am SO ready! Very nice set of stories by Amanda re: the 4 players "on the bubble" who are now on the 25-man and going North (well, I guess they are here by now). Go Nats!

  57. sjm308 - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Whatsanatau: great list of predictions and if they pan out there will be lots of happy people, not just here but all across the city. I also loved your philosophy on staying positive and not placing blame. Wonder if others 1. read that 2. understand it. I used to tell my teams that "worry was a huge waste of energy" as was looking back at things that can't be changed. We can't go back to Dec./Jan., we can only look forward to what I am hoping is the best Washington Nationals team we have ever seen. Games count in just a few days and we will start this wonderful season.Since I have been rightly fired as gm for only carrying 24 men last night I do want to point out that I had all my position players on my roster.Sorry about the initials but its just quicker for me. I wonder if the final position has already been decided? I can't imagine that how any of the 3 pitch tomorrow would change things. I again would go with Durbin just because of the options left for the other two. He is my 3rd choice if all things were equal but they are not.Can't wait till tomorrow!Go Nats!

  58. sjm308 - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    Meant to say that I had the same position players that Rizzo/Davey had.

  59. NatsLady - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Same here, sjm. Didn't mind the initials, it was like a little puzzle! All fun!

  60. jeeves - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    JayB and a couple of others say the Nats don't have a good bench. When Morse comes back they will have DeRosa, a former starter, who would still be one on some teams this year. Ditto Nady. Flores is likely the best offensive backup catcher in the majors and would start on many teams. Because he's had no major league experience, the jury is out on Lombo, but I'd bet one would be hardpressed to find a better backup infielder. He too would likely start on some teams. Hard to say about Bernadina, but even he might finally bring his skill set to a level of consistently. And he certainly could be an impressive talent if he could get it together. If healthy, the Nat's bench aren't only good, they could be one of the best ones.

  61. Cease the Opportunity - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I guess I'm the only real optimistic dreamer who drinks spike Koolaid, 93 – 69…

  62. MicheleS - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Cease.. I don't start spiking the Koolaid until the season starts. I am in training now for the marathon (cause it's not a sprint). I will go with 86-76.

  63. jeeves - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    With good health, 91 wins.

  64. sjm308 - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    put me down as just a little more conservative (kool-aid and beer not tasting well but the red wine and kool aid is delicious). 85 wins!

  65. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    91 wins? With a top of the order of Desi and Espi? Not a chance. This is a 500 club in the NL East Division, maybe.

  66. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Woo hoo – it's bon-bon time! Nice sunny day and the Nats are at home, even if it's only for an exhibition. Added bonus, a gathering of imaginary friends on Thursday (Bartender, a round of drink for all my imaginary friends – what? they're real? Uh, I may have to rethink this.). I don't do predictions but as y'all may already know, I'm a glass half-full kinda gal. MicheleS said… ….I am in training now for the marathon (cause it's not a sprint). April 03, 2012 6:53 AM

  67. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Woo hoo – it's bon-bon time! Nice sunny day and the Nats are at home, even if it's only for an exhibition. Added bonus, a gathering of imaginary friends on Thursday (Bartender, a round of drink for all my imaginary friends – what? they're real? Uh, I may have to rethink this.). I don't do predictions but as y'all may already know, I'm a glass half-full kinda gal. MicheleS said… ….I am in training now for the marathon (cause it's not a sprint). April 03, 2012 6:53 AM

  68. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Oops. Sorry about that. (hic)

  69. Section 3, My Sofa - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    PFB Flyer, now boarding at Gate 37

  70. baseballswami - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I have been lecturing myself not to get, "too high or too low" depending on how the season starts and to remember that since " the best 25 players go north" , " it's a marathon not a sprint". "These guys are in the best shape of their lives" and you've got to just " play the games one day at a time". I mean — some days you win, some days you lose and some days it rains. Think about that…

  71. NatsLady - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Time to get the game bag ready.Radio and batteries – check.Sunscreen – check.Nats blanket and extra sweater – check (might be chilly).Cap I wore for Ramos' vigil, still has candlewax on it – check.Cellphone and portable charger – check.Cash money – check.Ticket – check.Did I forget anything, folks?

  72. waddu eye no - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    nats lady:Did I forget anything, folks?kook aid? you and all of the rest at the game – have fun. i'm jealousand sing loud on that anthem!

  73. fast eddie - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    For what it's worth, here are some comparative ST stats: BA OBP SO ABLombo .313 .338 10 67 (1/6)Desi .291 .309 20 79 (1/4)Espi .240 .296 25 75 (1/3)If this is a precursor, we'll see Lombo in the regular lineup later this season

  74. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I will now make a comment with a request for a ticket that will ensure Mark posts a new item within 10 minutes.Does anyone have an extra ticket to the exhibition game today? Son #3 has decided he would like to go too.

  75. Knoxville Nat - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Erocks33,Don't hold your breath waiting for JayB to disclose just who specifically he thinks should have been acquired to be on the Nats bench this year. Others, including myself, have challenged him in the past to reveal this information and to identify those players by name who he was willing to trade to acquire the bench he claims we so lack. To my knowledge "Mr. Dark Cloud" has never given specific answers as to who would make up his "improved" bench but rather continues his endless ranting on the shortcomings of Rizzo, the Lerners, etc.

  76. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Could it be that JayB is alias for Rizzo and Rizzo is just picking the brains of Natsinsiders from under a dark cloud?

  77. NatsLady - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Navy, the lady I'm going with has an extra ticket. If you read this, we'll meet you at the gate.

  78. Mark'd - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    fast eddie, thanks for the stats. I don't put as much weight in Lombo's stats as he came into games as a replacement many times and wasn't facing the better pitchers.

  79. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Anonymous said… Could it be that JayB is alias for Rizzo and Rizzo is just picking the brains of Natsinsiders from under a dark cloud?That would presume that Natsinsiders actually have brains. Which you clearly don't.

  80. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Actually, JayB has identified players. I'm too bored with this to look it up now, but I'm pretty sure he's done that several times. Just sayin.

  81. NatsLady - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Like your new handle, PFB Sofa.

  82. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Re: Lombardozzi, look around the league at players who were sent down. There are dozens with better stats that won't make their team. Lombardozzi is going to make this team and will have to show at the Show that he belongs.I have no opinion until I see him in real MLB games. As mentioned over the weekend, he failed in a 9th inning Bunt attempt which was one of the few situations that felt like a real game.

  83. jeeves - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Desi's stats over the last three months of playing (not counting last two games of st). That's equal to one halfca year. The only license I took was doubling everything to give a full season perspective. (except the averages, of course) 590 AB, 298 average, 70 runs, 34doubles, 10 triples, 14 homers, 50RBIs, 329OBA, and 420SLG. What part of these stats don't the Desmond detractors not get, or do they just get great pleasure in putting him down? Oh, and his errors have steadily gone down–by 30% from year one to year two and better in the latter part of last year. These stats fall under 'what he is doing for us' category.

  84. NatsLady - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Agree on Lombo–have to see him in regular season games. I don't hold the bunt against him, it's not like no other player ever failed in that situation! You have to see how he does over a longer period.

  85. jeeves - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Have to reread before posting. 'do the Desmond detractors' not don't. And 'he is doing for us NOW'.

  86. DFL - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    The Nats went 80-81 with an anemic offense last season. Ryan Zimmerman missed two months, La Roche might as well missed the whole season, and Werth hit poorly. Strasburg pitched only one month and Jordan Zimmerman missed the last month. The 2012 Nats should be much better IF 1) R. Zimmerman and La Roche are well the whole season and play up to standard, 2) Werth comes back to near his norm, 3) Strasburg and J. Zimmerman pitch to what is believed to be their norms, 4) the bullpen is as excellent as it was last season, 5) Gonzalez and Jackson pitch as well as projected, 6) Espinosa and Ramos improve, 7) Desmond does not regress(at his age he will is likely the player he can be), 8) Harper forces his way into Washington, 9) the bench performs well, 10) Wang and Lannan pitch to standard, and 11) Lombardozzi forces his way into the starting line-up. In sports, something always goes contrary to plan and sometimes to the good. Who would have guessed that Morse would become a steady power hitter and ideal clean-up hitter in 2011? But it must be accepted that some players will disappoint as Werth did last season. And it must be accepted that injuries will play a part in the Nats season.

  87. Cease the Opportunity - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    DFL said… The Nats went 80-81 with an anemic offense last season. Ryan Zimmerman missed two months, La Roche might as well missed the whole season, and Werth hit poorly. Strasburg pitched only one month and Jordan Zimmerman missed the last month. ETC.Not only what you said, but Morse didn't show up until mid May…

  88. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Bos seems to be in glass half-full mode, too.

  89. Mark'd - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    DFL, if this team doesn't score runs it doesn't matter. If you take out Jordan Zimmermann's bottom 2 starts in 2011, it means his ERA for all other games was under 2.89 for the season. This team still couldn't win games for him with the lack of offense.This team has always had a difficult time winning those type of games as well as beating the struggling teams consistently.We can hope this year is different.

  90. baseballswami - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Sometimes it seems like a baseball season is a crap shoot. People need to stay healthy, they need to play up to or over their abilities and sometimes there are just so many intangibles involved. It does take talent and hard work but i am hoping that the luck factor makes a visit this season, too.

  91. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Thanks, NatsLady – what time will you be there?

  92. Cease the Opportunity - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Werth, Roche, and Zimmerman have to be worth 10 additional games, that's 90, nearly an outstanding starting rotation another 10 games, bullpen another 10, which gives you 110 wins minus the unknown (under performances, health) 17 equals 93. Believe it. I make the Koolaid, spike it, and then pour down the drain…

  93. NatsLady - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Navy, aiming for 1:30. Will have patriotic cap on and navy and grey shirt.

  94. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    The bench will get an early test, with DeRosa starting in left and either Shark (if he is healthy) or Nady in the OF with Werth on Thursday. Davey will have LH and RH pinch hitters, and will probably use the double-switch at some point in the game.This bench is the one he wanted. It will be fun to see how he uses it, as well as his revamped bull pen.Laddie_Blah_Blah

  95. DFL - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    IF Zimmerman powers at 25/90, Morse at 25/90, La Roche at 25/80 and Werth at 25/80, the offense should be adequate to meet the needs of the Nats. But IF is a big two-lettered word.

  96. Mark'd - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Natsfan1a, glass half full? Sounds like glass 90 wins full.Boz loves pitching. He sounds giddy. Give him the band leaders uni to lead the bandwagon!This line is hilarious: "In ’09, only one Nats starter had more than five wins —f-i-v-e. It wasn’t a rotation; it was a swirling toilet bowl. How could you invite friends to watch such a mess?"

  97. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    If anybody sees new team media guides for sale today, please post regarding where you found them. The last couple of years I've not been able to find them at stands or team stores, and none of the employees I asked had any idea what I was talking about (giveaway programs? no; for-sale programs? no; yearbooks? uh, no, but thanks for playing).

  98. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Mark'd, it was definitely an, um, evocative line. :-)

  99. FS - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    thanks for the link 1a.That is some serious dosage of kool aid.

  100. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    jeeves said…Desi's stats over the last three months of playing (not counting last two games of st). That's equal to one half-year. The only license I took was doubling everything to give a full-season perspective (except the averages, of course): 590 AB, 298 average, 70 runs, 34 doubles, 10 triples, 14 homers, 50 RBIs, .329 OBA, and .420 SLG. What part of these stats don't the Desmond detractors not get?I'm not a detractor, but may I suggest an answer? You took ABs from two different seasons, the first of which were in September (where stats lie) and the last of which were from spring (where they don't count), and then doubled them, which basically doubles the margin of error. He might be able to actually match that, after all–I doubt it, personally, but it could happen–and he has shown some improvement. I hope he pulls it together. And I don't think his leadoff hitting (or lack thereof) is, in fact, the crux of the offense anyway. But I think that's what the "detractors" might say. AFAIK.

  101. bdrube - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Boz's article was good, but placed way too much emphasis on Wins. The '09 rotation wasn't great, but don't forget how awful the bullpen was. Blew all three games in an April series with the Marlins, and every reliever who started the season got sent down, released or traded before year's end. Even Strasburg would have struggled to get more than five wins in that situation.

  102. Feel Wood - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Last year I was able to buy the media guide at the stand in the CF plaza where they sell program books. That was probably two weeks into the season. As far as I could tell they never had it in the team store.Could be that they have a standing order for the number of media guides printed every year, and the ones they sell at the ballpark are the leftovers not claimed by real media during ST/Opening Day. With increased media interest due to Strasburg, Harper, etc, they may not have as many leftovers as they did in previous years. Once they find they don't have enough to meet all the requests from media people, maybe then they will increase their print order. It is the media guide, after all, not the fan guide.

  103. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    NatsLady, will look for you at centerfield gate at 1:30pm. I'll be in the blue Zimmerman jersey with red/white/blue cap. Please post if you're running early or late!!

  104. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Thanks for the media guide info, Feel Wood. Will look for it at that stand when I'm at the park later this month.Here's one (Yankee) fan/writer's review of the new Marlin stadium. (Wait, they have a bobblehead museum? How awesome is that? :-))

  105. Anonymous - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    JayB"Bench was a huge hole and cost them 10 wins in my view….this is a worse bench then what then ended the season with."You want Gomes back, over DeRosa? Cora, over Lombo? Bixler, over Nady? Pudge, over Flores? Marrero, over Tracy? Shark, over Shark?This bench will produce those late game PHs that Stairs and Gomes did not. Hairston was gone by the end of the season, and he was the only member of the bench who was productive, but he was gone by the end of the season, remember? You sure you were watching the Nats last year? The late-season team I saw had no bench, except for an occasional pinch hit by a slap-hitting Marrero. Tracy has shown that he has power that Marrero lacks.The current group is a big improvement, and the one Davey wanted. Maybe he knows what he is doing. We'll find out, soon enough.Laddie_Blah_Blah

  106. natsfan1a - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    hmmm, apologies if you get a 404 message after following the link, but you should see the review in the blog posts list on the left of the page on which the link lands you.

  107. ehay2k - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    NatsLady, what Shirsey are you going to wear? (In fact, your checklist leaves you naked!)GYFNG! So wish I could be there today!

  108. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 3, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    NatsLady, your checklist leaves you naked! So wish I could be there today!Man, I always miss the best days!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 49 --
ATLANTA 58 52 1.5
MIAMI 53 56 6.0
NEW YORK 52 57 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 49 61 10.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Braves 7:35 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

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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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