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Jun 6, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

Bryce Harper’s first career walk-off hit. Michael Morse’s return to the lineup. Lucas Giolito’s questionable right elbow.

There are no shortage of storylines right now for the first-place Nationals, so CSNwashington.com’s Chase Hughes, the Washington Times’ Amanda Comak and I will have plenty to discuss later this afternoon when we tape our latest edition of Beltway Baseball at Nationals Park.

And as always, we’ll be taking your questions. Submit them here and we’ll pick the best ones to answer on the show, which will be posted on the site tomorrow morning.

  1. SCNatsFan - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Mark I have to know what the justification is to keep Espinosa here and not let him try to work things out in AAA. Does management not see how overmatched at the plate he is?

  2. AndesAngle - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    The Nats have had terrible batting with runners in scoring position for a while now. When do the Nats finally decide that Eckstein has to go?

  3. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    What do you think is wrong with Adam LaRoche? I think he is playing hurt. At the very least, I think Morse needs to give him 2 to 3 days off.

  4. carolync - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Based on the voting results released yesterday, it doesn't look like the Nats will have any position players on the All-Star team again this year. Do you think Harper will be a Manager selection? How many of our pitchers do you think will be selected?

  5. Doc - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Mark what is your best guess as to who goes and who stays in the bull pen? Also, does anyone with the Nats' braintrust have a solution to handling Henry Rodriguez.

  6. baseballswami - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Mark – How long can the HRod relieving experiment keep going? Does he have options? Can we afford to keep him in a valuable spot if he is not producing?

  7. MicheleS - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Mark, with regards to the draft. Does Rizzo think he can sign little Gio? What about the rest of them? We got high mark from analysts, but just wondering about the signability of some of these high school players.

  8. baseballjones - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Presumably the Nats did their homework on the specifics of Giolito's CURRENT injury, e.g., they looked at the MRI, talked to his doctors. But did they get an expert opinion on his biomechanics in order to better estimate the likelihood of a repeat injury to the UCL? For example, is Giolito another inverted W guy?

  9. SCNatsFan - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    And Mark, not to dismiss your broadcast partners, have you brought your son to a Nats game yet?

  10. natsfan1a - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Any updated thoughts on the Dreaded AL/NL East Stretch, at not quite the halfway point? I believe that they're 8-7 to date with 17 games to go.

  11. Tcostant - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Are the Lenners looking to do a deal with Metro, similar to the one with Verizon Center; where their is always a train after the game? If this team makes the playoffs, this could be a huge issue with those late post season starts.

  12. natsfan1a - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    SC, yes, he has. Pic is here. (You'll need to scroll down a bit.)

  13. MicheleS - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Just another link to Bryce on MLB Radio (and it is full of Cliche's, but that is what i want to hear from him)MLB Radio Link

  14. MicheleS - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Any update on the progress for Werth/DeRosa/ Tracy?

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    From Kilgore (maybe he was trying to say game-trying):They had blown a three-run lead. Ian Desmond drove in three game-trying runs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/nationals-vs-mets-bryce-harper-drives-in-winning-run-in-12th-inning/2012/06/05/gJQAVe5RHV_story.html

  16. SCNatsFan - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Thanks 1A, I missed that. He probably outcrawled Teddy that day.

  17. Section 215 Row A - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Not a Nationals specific question but why do batters use single ear flap helmets? Seems like they would feel unbalanced and they don't provide the same protection a double ear flap does while running the bases….

  18. natsfan1a - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Good one, SC, and you're welcome.

  19. natsfan1a - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    How about this, er, passage? What else would it have been, lemonade? Wait…eeewwww…Afterward, in the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse, Bryce Harper sniffed at the shirt he had worn under his uniform. It is still the beginning for Harper, still the time in his career when every night may bring another first, when every detail matters for posterity. He wanted to discern which liquid he had been doused with after the first walk-off hit of his career. “Yeah,” he said, smiling. “It was Gatorade.”

  20. SonnyG10 - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Mark, How does MLB determine the signing bonus pool? Why did we only get around $4 Million when other teams got more? Are we being punished because of over-slot spending last year?

  21. Grandstander - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    How much longer are the Nats going to continue to carry 3 catchers?

  22. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Not a Nationals specific question but why do batters use single ear flap helmets? Seems like they would feel unbalanced and they don't provide the same protection a double ear flap does while running the bases…. with apologies to Mark: It's more comfortable, and it's easier to get on and off, but really, it just looks cool. I'm not making this up.

  23. Stew Magnuson - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    My question is how soon can we get rid of Henry Rodriquez, not should we.

  24. MicheleS - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    1A.. I think the sniff came from the fact that Kristina thought it was water when they threw it on him.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    If you ever wondered about Ian Desmond and his heart, read this excellent piece by Amanda Comak.She hit a HR with this:http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/nationals-watch/2012/jun/6/ian-desmonds-three-game-tying-hits-and-two-kids-wh/

  26. Davide - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. bowdenball - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Any update on the TV negotiations/arbitration between the Nats and the forces of evil that conspire against them, a/k/a the Orioles?

  28. baseballswami - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    If Desi was our unsung hero, then Thole was the unsung hero for the mets. If you think catching Hrod is hard then just look at what he had to do. He saved the game to that point when he leaped up and hauled down the ball during the intentional walk that went about a mile high. There were many occasions where his heroics kept his team in the game. He just couldn't save his pitcher from self – destructing. Imagine if Henry was all we had left. A traumatic thought. I think I would have rather seen LaRoche.

  29. Water23 - Jun 6, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    How about some draft analysis. Did the Nats go after signability in the later rounds so that they could use the money on their top pick?

  30. Drew - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    What is the likelihood the Nats will pick up LaRoche's option for 2013?Does re-signing LaRoche (leaving an OF of Morse, Harper, Werth) take the Nats out of next winter's market for Bourn, Upton and Victorino?

  31. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    By tomorrow morning, they'll be 1/3 of the way through the season. How are your predictions holding up?

  32. whatsanattau - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    A few questions:Will it be Maldonado or Solano who goes down when they drop a catcher? When Storen comes back will they put him in leverage situations immediately or leave Clippard to close for weeks (or possibly through the rest of the year)?When will Nats fans actually recognize that Ian Desmond is one of the top 5 shortstops in the National League?

  33. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    The Kid:Leads the team in OBP, SLG, OPS (by over .050), and trails only Lombo in BAAnd despite spending 1/3 of this season so far in the minors, he's fifth in hits, 4th in TB, 4th in RBI, 3rd in runs scored, 3rd in HR (1st in triples, of course).(and has zero GIDP)Not bad for a teenager . . . ;-)

  34. Schumatrix - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    With the return of Michael Morse, and the assumption that Bryce Harper will continue to produce, do you think the offense will ever begin to perform at a consistently productive level?

  35. Scooter - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Sec3, that helmet link was excellent. Danke.Sonny G, Mr. Z may have a better answer, but here's my understanding: each team's "pool" is based on its draft picks. Like, the #16 pick is "slotted" at $2.7 million; the #80 pick is slotted at $300,000*; and so on. Add them up, and there's your total.The wrinkle is, instead of saying the #16 pick must get exactly $2.7 million (or whatever), teams can try to sign #16 for a little bit less, and thus have a little bit more for #80, or vice versa. That's why they have a pool. And the Nats' pool is smaller because they don't have a lot of really early picks.So, I'm sorry. I fear that we'll have to look elsewhere for Nats-hating conspiracies. Don't worry; I'm sure someone here will find one soon enough.* warning! these numbers recently emerged from my backside!

  36. Bigfish - Jun 6, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Given that Espi can't hit a lick left-handed, & Lombo can, & given that they're both switch-hitters, has any thought been given to platooning them at 2B? I realize this would give Lombo most of the playing time — since we face mostly righty pitchers. Frankly, I wouldn't have a problem with that.

  37. Drew - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Mark and Amanda:Why is pRAA acting like a jerk?Discuss.

  38. Unknown - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Why does Davey never bunt with position players and always bunt with pitchers? Why not let Det swing away in the 12th last night (or take), but what was the point of him bunting?

  39. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. ehay2k - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Does Harper deserve to be an All Star? Would it be good or bad for his development if he made it this year? And, who will be the NL manager for this year's game, given that LaRussa has retired?

  42. Giostras - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Mark:With the benefit of hindsight (his latest ankle injury- which I know was unrelated to the problems that were known at the draft), were the Nats indeed lucky that Rendon fell to them — instead of the pitchers who were drafted before our (#6) selection. They are off to outstanding starts in the minors. Can you tell me how Bubba Starling (#5) is doing?

  43. Section 215 Row A - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Thanks, Soul. I figured it was something like that. When the league mandated at least one flap in 1983 I guess the batters figured I will only comply with the minimum requirements of the rule…And pRRA…I'll bite: what do your initials stand for?

  44. MicheleS - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Regards to the ASG.. Is it possible that Ian goes? LaRussa spoke glowingly of him when he was here earlier this year. Plus he actually deserves to go…I am guessing GIO/Stras go and maybe 1 of the releivers (Like Clipp or Sean or maybe Craig)

  45. bowdenball - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    MicheleS-I love Desmond as much as the next guy, but there's no spot for him in the ASG. Four NL shortstops have better hitting numbers almost across the board than Desmond. Two of them- Lowrie and Tulowitzki- by a huge margin. Unless they decide to punish Furcal for being old and not that good on defense and Castro for being a bonehead, there's zero chance that Desmond makes it. More because of the quality of NL SSs than any Desmond shortcomings, although a .289 OBP doesn't help things.

  46. UnkyD - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…If you ever wondered about Ian Desmond and his heart, read this excellent piece by Amanda Comak.She hit a HR with this:http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/nationals-watch/2012/jun/6/ian-desmonds-three-game-tying-hits-and-two-kids-wh/———–Best part of this story? Look at Stras' smile, in the pic….

  47. MicheleS - Jun 6, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Bowden.. thanks.. forgot about Furcal… and yes, Castro is a bonehead.

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Flores is starting tonight. Isn't that how HR hurt his leg a week ago getting over-used?

  49. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Lots can change between now and first week of July plus All Star alternates.If I had to pick now its Gio, Stras and Harper. MLB wants ratings. Bryce Harper is the most marketable player outside of NY in my opinion and he is on the fringe of legitimately earning his way in.HR Derby of newbies like Harper and Stanton

  50. Scooter - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Steve, who is HR? (with the bad over-used leg)(By the way, I don't think you should go around banning a thing because one guy got hurt doing it. Players still slide head-first and jump onto home plate after a game-ending homer.)

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Scooter, sorry, He, as in JFlo.

  52. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    For anyone counting, last night was 1 1/3 games in a 9 inning equivalent and Flores was gassed.

  53. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    (By the way, I don't think you should go around banning a thing because one guy got hurt doing it. Players still slide head-first and jump onto home plate after a game-ending homer.) Veering off into weird on-field injuries, how's this:I read that a pitcher on the Mets hurt his hammy (enough to go on 15-day DL) while running from the bullpen to join in the celebration of Johan's no-no.

  54. A DC Wonk - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Yep – I suspect that Flores was going to get tomorrow's day game off. But with a shaky Mets pitcher tonight, Dickey going tomorrow, as the 12-innings last night . . . I'd be thinking of giving Flores a night off, and have him catch tomorrow.

  55. Scooter - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Oh, of course. Sorry, Steve; I should have had that one.

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Thank you DC Wonk, obviously we're not up to the baseball IQ of pRAA who botched the whole wild pitch evaluation last night but nobody really called him out on it.

  57. Scooter - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    I read that a pitcher on the Mets hurt his hammy (enough to go on 15-day DL) while running from the bullpen to join in the celebration of Johan's no-no. Ha ha ha. That's precious.For the record, they DID ban players from dreaming about spiders. It's been in the CBA for about 10 years now.

  58. peric - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Playing two games in the space of four days is not overuse for a starting catcher, which is what Flores is. The real question is if Flores is now capable of shouldering a starting catcher's workload why are they still carrying three catchers?OH gee, maybe because the only truly healthy catcher they have is Solano and even he had a somewhat serious back injury this season.How many seasons in the majors has Flores caught in its entirety? ZERO.And how many season since spending 2+ years rehabbing a bad shoulder?ZERO.Sheesh. Don't take one of the stats I like to use, make it your monicker, and then make nonsensical posts like that.

  59. natsfan1a - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    On a related note, they can still iron their own shirts, just not while wearing them.For the record, they DID ban players from dreaming about spiders. It's been in the CBA for about 10 years now.

  60. JB - Jun 6, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Mark,Been hearing an uptick in Lannan rumors lately, and that was before the great complete game start last night. Any comments from the panel?

  61. jw - Jun 7, 2012 at 2:44 AM

    Question — has the team settled a long term deal with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jagler? (I don't watch Micheal Angelos Sports Network, and can't imagine anyone else on the radio.)

  62. Unknown - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Why is Espinosa deemed a "switch hitter"….just because he says so!?!?!? I could call myself a brain surgeon but you wouldn't like the results any better than the farce of Espy hitting LH. Why doesn't Davey just make him hit righty all the time and watch how much he improves? After all, Morse, Zimmerman, and hundreds of other good hitters are full-time righties even against RH pitching.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 56 --
ATLANTA 72 65 6.0
MIAMI 68 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 73 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 74 15.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 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

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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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