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Hairston delivers in a pinch

Aug 22, 2013, 1:31 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images

CHICAGO — There is no tougher ballpark in America in which to pinch-hit than Wrigley Field, where the lone batting cage is tucked away underneath the right field bleachers and thus is inaccessible to players during the course of a game.

Scott Hairston, though, has spent his share of time playing inside the Friendly Confines, most notably three months earlier this season while a member of the Cubs. So the 33-year-old outfielder knows the tricks of the trade.

“You have to really keep in mind that your body can get tight on the bench,” he said. “So I usually get up every other inning and stretch or ride the bike. I think mainly you have to be mentally focused in that situation and prepared to come in and do your job.”

Davey Johnson asked Hairston to do his job in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday night: Come in cold off the bench and face a tough left-hander late in a tie ballgame. That Hairston delivered in a big way, clubbing a three-run homer off James Russell to lift the Nationals to an 11-6 victory, only underscored Johnson’s faith that he could be a key contributor to this team.
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  1. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 22, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    That's why Rizzo got him – .295 against lefties so far. Not bad. The way Span has been hitting lefties, Davey should platoon him with Denard to get a better look at how Hairston performs with more ABs against lefties. Span has been terrible against lefties for most of the year.

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    Good job Scott. Of course I missed Harper's double.

  3. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    I'm happy for Hairston, and the team, for his starting to come through, but I really don't like him in the outfield. When he is in LF and Bryce is in CF you weaken not two, but all three outfield positions. Why? Start with Bryce is better in LF then Scott, Span is better in CF then Harper, and with his groin/hamstring/age Werth is much less of a liability in RF with Span's superior range in center.Take Span out, put Hairston in and your outfield goes from being very, very good to mediocre. BTW, last time I looked Bryce Harper's splits didn't look too good against LHP's either.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Also, again the boneheaded Ryan Mattheus locker bashing limits Davey's options when a starter can't give him six innings. The Mattheus screwup is the number one reason that the bullpen he had to work with has been so awful. Not only was he not available for months, but he stunk when he came back. He's a bigger bum for this team then Soriano because his loss was self imposed.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    I wouldn't call our OF defense very good right now.FG rates us at 20th right now. I don't think we are that bad but I think Harper can improve and I worry about Werth defensively.I wish we could look at team OF defense with specific combinations, instead of just overall numbers.For next season's managerial candidates, is manuel an option? we know werth loves him so he will try his best to get him over here. he might be a good fit.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Joe S, righty relievers are not that hard to find I think. You can take one of your solid RHP prospect from minors and make him a reliever for a while to solve that problem. Yes, what Mattheus did was stupid and cost the team an arm but it was not an unsolvable issue. Similarly I think Soriano is simply going through a rough patch and next season we will see pre-ASG Soriano all season long.btw I am not trying to just negate everything you are saying, just to argue Joe S. I just don't agree with what you said.

  7. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    Cholly is toast, in my opinion. I can't see us hiring another old guy.I think the future of the franchise is very bright and the next manager will be hired with the idea of him being the long term skipper.Yes, Harper has a lot to learn, but he also has been a wounded bird, limiting his effectiveness, but he's still the best LF'er on the roster. Werth's range has been limited, but he plays the caroms in right around the league better then most. Span has been nearly flawless.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    No offense taken, Faraz. RM was our "not that hard to find" RH reliever, but with the bonus that he had been effective against LH'ers too. Roark has been a pleasant surprise, but I my opinion on the detrimental effect of Mattheus' stunt stands. Not sure that Davey will ever truly forgive him.I also agree with you on Soriano.

  9. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Please just say no to Manuel. He is not the same guy that Jayson remembers. Agreed that we need to go younger and long term. Jayson needs to realize that this manager is more for the younger, newer guys on the team. He doesn't need one that much anymore. He wants the hands off but more structure and discipline is probably appropriate. On the field– I think if ALR gets regular rest he plays better. Playing time for Moore. Win. Win.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    I think that you'll get your wish for more Moore, swami.

  11. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    Oh,I definitely think Moore will be playing more this time. Just pointing out that I think it's also a good thing for ALR, who basically looks like a cadaver. Not holding up well. Even when we don't like it, bench players just have to get regular playing time or they cannot perform when you really need them. So while it's easy to blame the bench for being bad, benches have to be managed just like bullpens. Both were managed poorly this season IMHO.

  12. Nats 128 - Aug 22, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    Sure Im excited about Hairston coming thru except this is the same guy before that AB was batting .269 against lefties. Small sample size and that was his first RBIs for the Nats.

  13. Nats Fan 204 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    Harper's standing in the box and watching his homerun become a double is not a good sign. Due to his injuries and the long season, he is of course physically much less than what he was but mental toughness and hustle are his calling cards. If he is going to get tee shirts demanding the commitment of others, should he not demand it of himself? Shouldn't he have put his head down and run instead of admiring a flyball into the ivy? He is far from the team's biggest problem but his attitude over a full season should be one of its biggest concerns.

  14. Nats 128 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Tyler Moore has to show he can hit Major League breaking pitches and changeups when the league adjusts back to him. The kid can hit the fastball. This is why Im skeptical altho he is hitting .571 since his callup. Again, small sample size.

  15. mick - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    good morning ladies and gentlemen and other gentle things

  16. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Nice to wake up to a happy game results email, particularly after my brief tune-ins last night. First click-over: Okay, looks like the Big Windup's velo has ticked back up. And the Nats are up by 5. Niice. But…this *is* Wrigley… Second click-over, just before bedtime: Let's see…Nats 6, Cubs 4, and Cubbies all over the bags. Oh, and a new starter on the mound. Huh? What happened. Oh, well. Time for bed. You're on your own, boys. Woke up this morning and checked the game results email. 11-6. Yeah, I figured they…wait…what? (rubs eyes and looks again) NATS 11, CUBS 6? Yeah, that's right. We had 'em right where we wanted them. Niiice. And I just might get to watch today's game in real time. Niice. Maybe I'll get Papa John's for dinner.

  17. nats guy - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Faraz,There's a couple of people who comment on this site who couldn't see the obvious if it ran into them. No lead is safe when Soriano is coming in. The Nats were very lucky he got some good fielding and bad baserunning. Something is definitely going wrong with him and I don't think its just command. But as usual the happy glad handers will think I'm being pessimistic. So far I've been pretty spot on.The other day I got insulted by you about taking care of being thrown at. If you actually knew anything at all about baseball history you would know how Jackie Robinson took care of it. He would bunt down the 1st base line to make the pitcher field it and then would knock him on his keister. Stopped a lot of nonsense in the future. Its a tough game. I learned about it from tough people.

  18. mick - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    a win is a win…however, Soriano is a major issue. Storen or Clip should be closer PERIOD. If Soriano is not injured, then there is no excuse. Frankly, the sooner he is gone, the better

  19. Nats 128 - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Storen hasnt thrown 1 changeup since hes come back. All fastballs and sliders. Not sure on why he isnt throwing it since he wasnt getting beat on his changeup. The new results are better and like most relievers it comes down to 1 thing. There confidence.

  20. mick - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Hairston seems like a nice young man, enjoyed his interview on MASN

  21. mick - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    If the club can just keep winning series, get a few 4-5 game streaks while only losing 1 game now and then, they can take this to the final weekend. That would be fine

  22. mick - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    BTW….why are we not talking more about Tanner Roark? I like this kid a lot!

  23. Holden Baroque - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Speaking of LaRoche's well-being, specifically the apparent diminishment thereof, I tried to post this the other day, but connection issues intervened.When I think of deer ticks, I think of deer hunters. So this caught my eye.Lyme Disease Far More Common Than Previously Known"Symptoms resemble the flu ­— fatigue, headache, mildly stiff neck, joint and muscle aches, and fever. But if not treated with an antibiotic within about 72 hours, the infection can disseminate throughout the body, causing neurologic, cardiac and joint disease for weeks or months."… which sounds familiar, but I'm suggestible. Just thought it was interesting. Be careful out there."A generation ago there was no such thing called Lyme disease, though it may have been lurking undetected in nature. Now it's the most prevalent tick-borne infection — concentrated in in the Northeast and upper Midwest, but expanding both northward (to upper New York state and Maine) and southward (to Virginia)."In many areas where Lyme disease is entrenched, Mead says, up to 30 percent of black-legged or deer ticks carry the . That translates to a substantial risk of infection for humans who venture outdoors, especially in grassy and woodsy areas."

  24. Holden Baroque - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    *carry the Lyme disease spirochete.

  25. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    nats guy, jackie robinson issue is a whole different matter than harper/teheran. I said it then and I will repeat here that I did not insult you.

  26. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    He does look bad, not just my imagination. And when he is pushed by playing everyday he is weak. Your theory has merit. And as for Tanner — I feel that he has gotten a ton of attention. Hope Stras is on his game today- should be very well rested , but that loss of mechanics could be troublesome.

  27. JD - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Swami, Stras's mechanics will be fine today. Mark my word.

  28. JD - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    I hope Rizzo can figure out a way for Soriano not to be on the team next year (it will cost a lot of money).

  29. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    "Take Span out, put Hairston in and your outfield goes from being very, very good to mediocre."Yeah, but the improvement in the offense may more than compensate for the loss of OF defense. It's not just that Hairston is a better hitter against lefties than Span, he hits them with power, too, something that is almost entirely missing from Span's game, whether he is hitting against righties or lefties. As we saw last night, one blast can change a game in a heartbeat.Your point would be more critical if the Nats were in the midst of a stretch run, with a realistic chance of catching the other WC contenders (they are out of the divisional race, IMO). The Nats should be finding out what they've got with both Hairston and Span, as well as with Roark and Moore. So what if it costs them some games now, and so what if it wins them some games now. That doesn't matter as much as evaluating personnel for next year's team.Elsewhere, Giolito made his Auburn debut with a 2-hit, no run effort over 5 full innings last night – no walks and 4 Ks. The Nats have got some young beasts down in the low minors. And Billy Burns cannot possibly be as good as his stats in AA – they are better than his stats were at Potomac, which were better than his stats at Auburn last year. I wonder if the Nats will send him to the AFL this fall. Would be good to see what he can do against the MiL's best, right now. So far, he has met every challenge and then some.

  30. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Holden, is there any effective treatment?

  31. Holden Baroque - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Laddie, from the second link:"The disease is usually recognized by a distinctive skin lesion, erythema migrans, accompanied by headache, stiff neck, myalgias, arthralgias, fatigue and possible swelling of the lymph nodes. Not all symptoms are seen in every case, complicating diagnosis. While treatable with antibiotics, unrecognized and/or untreated patients may develop meningoencephalitis, myocarditis or even arthritis, particularly in the knees. Lyme disease may be brief or chronic, persistent and incapacitating. The chronic disease state may resolve in time with or without antibiotic treatment."

  32. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Is there a doctor in the house? Television actor? Holiday Inn Express customer? :-)

  33. Holden Baroque - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    So the best medical advice is, don't get bitten.

  34. Holden Baroque - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    And again, from CDC, via teh Google:Treatment

  35. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    On a totally unrelated note, but I just remembered that I saw it pictured on a MLB Network airing of a SFO game yesterday, the Giants have a rather awesome (imho) weekend promo that may be of interest to some NI denizens. Not sure how one might best obtain said promo item, though. Cheap airfares search? Hitting up friends in the Bay Area? E-Bay?

  36. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Put me in the growing Just Say No to Cholly set. I never quite got Manuel. His teams talent-wise were 20 games better than everyone else in the NL East, they would win by eight games and everyone called him a genius. I just think he was in the right place at the right time.Bring Back Bo!

  37. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Mick, there are 14 million reasons why Sori isn't going anywhere. He's signed through next season. You know a team that would pick him up for $14 million. Heck, the Yankees got rid of him, and they're probably the only team that can afford him.Closers are not perfect. They have ups and downs. It's just when they're off, they usually cost teams the ballgame. Be patient. He might rediscover it in 2014. I'm not ready to throw him under the bus yet. Key word there is "yet."





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