April 2009

Starting lineup against Cardinals

Cristian Guzman – SS

Nick Johnson – 1B

Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

Adam Dunn – LF

Elijah Dukes – CF

Austin Kearns – RF

Jesus Flores – C

Anderson Hernandez – 2B

Daniel Cabrera – P



Dream Foundation to host fourth annual Dream Gala

The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation will host the fourth annual Dream Gala at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at National Harbor.

The night will begin at 7:00pm with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by a dinner program and live auction at 8:00pm. Nationals players, manager and coaches will be on-hand to mingle with guests throughout the evening. The theme of the 2009 Dream Gala is “Answer The Call to Service in Our Communities”, with all proceeds benefitting the initiatives of the Foundation.

“The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation is thankful for the generosity of our supporters during these tough economic times,” said Dream Foundation Chair Marla Lerner Tanenbaum. “The Dream Gala is the Foundation’s primary fundraiser each year; its success allows us to serve our community and neighbors through our unique programs.”

Nationals television broadcasters Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble will serve as emcees for the night’s festivities with radio broadcasters Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler introducing the 2009 Washington Nationals.

A performance of the National Anthem by the Washington Youth Choir will begin the dinner program. The live auction features unique items and experiences, including a hand-crafted team-signed bench, a private clinic for four children with Nationals players, and a suite for 16 for a Nationals game vs. the Boston Red Sox in June.

The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation’s programs are focused on children’s education, health and recreation. The cornerstone programs of the Dream Foundation are the creation of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, in partnership with the District government, that will teach the game of baseball and provide after-school educational programs for children in the District; the creation of the Washington Nationals Pediatric Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center, a world-class facility that will provide a multi-disciplinary approach to supporting families of children with diabetes; and the Neighborhood Initiative, benefitting the Earth Conservation Corps, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and numerous local non-profit organizations with grants, in-kind donations and additional resources.

Nats acquire Logan Kensing [Update]

In need of bullpen help, the Nationals acquired right-hander Logan Kensing from the Marlins for right-hander Kyle Gunderson on Wednesday. The news comes four days after Florida designated Kensing for assignment.

Kensing, 26, joined the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon and will be available to pitch in the middle innings, according to manager Manny Acta. This season, Kensing pitched in six games for Florida and gave up eight runs in 7 1/3 innings. His best season was in 2008, when he went 3-1 with a 4.23 ERA.

“We like him. He is a guy who has a pretty good arm. We have seen him for a couple of years in our division,” Acta said. “We are trying to stack up some power arms and do whatever we can to get this bullpen going.  

“There is no setup role for him right now. We are going to try to get a feel for him first in the middle of the games and see what he could do for us. He is not coming in here with any role.”

Kensing found out about the trade on Tuesday at 11:00 p.m. ET. Then he took a plane from Miami to Philadelphia the next day.  

“I’m excited. It’s always good to have a job,” Kensing said. “Things [on the field] didn’t happen the way I wanted to early in Florida. But the team gave me another chance by sending me here. The Nationals have a real good lineup to pitch for.”

In order to put Kensing on the roster, the Nationals optioned right-hander Jason Bergmann to Triple-A Syracuse and placed Roger Bernadina on the 60-day disabled list. Acta said Bergmann wasn’t happy about hearing the news.

Bergmann, 27, had a 3.60 ERA in three relief appearances with the Nationals, after he was recalled from Syracuse on April 20. Although Bergmann had a better showing on the mound than reliever Saul Rivera, the team felt Rivera has a good enough track record to keep him around.

“We don’t want anybody to be happy when they are sent down,” Acta said. “The move wasn’t about Bergmann. It was about making room for Logan over here. Bergmann has to continue to throw the ball over there like he has been throwing it. I’m sure we’ll see him again.

“Saul was the best middle reliever on this team for the last three years. Compiling over 70 appearances during the last two years has to account for something. Saul [is] having a rough time. We feel we can get him back on track and be valuable again.”

As for Gunderson, he was drafted the Nationals in the 48th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Before the trade, he was pitching for Class A Potomac and was 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in five relief appearances. 

Wednesday's lineup against Phillies

Cristian Guzman, SS
Nick Johnson, 1B
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
Adam Dunn, RF
Elijah Dukes, CF
Josh Willingham, LF
Jesus Flores, C
Anderson Hernandez, 2B
Scott Olsen, LHP



Nats acquire Logan Kensing

In need of bullpen help, the Nationals have acquired right-hander Logan Kensing from the Marlins for Minor League pitcher Kyle Gunderson. 

The team did not announce when Kensing will join the team, however, he is expected to pitch in the middle to late innings.

This season, Kensing played in six games for Florida and gave up eight runs in 7 1/3 innings. His best season was in 2008, when he went 3-1 with a 4.23 ERA.

In order to put Kensing on the roster, the Nationals have optioned Jason Bergman to Triple-A Syracuse and placed Roger Bernadina on the 60-day disabled list.  

There will be more to come             

Shell becomes free agent; Ledezma stays with Nats

A little over a week after the Nationals designated them for assignment, right-hander Steven Shell has decided to become a free agent, while left-hander Wil Ledezma elected to remain with the club and be outrighted to Syracuse.

Shell, who gave up three runs in five innings, wanted a long-term opportunity elsewhere and wanted to throw from the windup to increase his velocity, according to Shell’s agent, Steve Canter.

Ledezma was not successful on the mound either. He gave up six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out eight batters and walked four.    

Tuesday's lineup against Phillies

Ronnie Belliard, 2B
Nick Johnson, 1B
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
Adam Dunn, LF
Elijah Dukes, CF
Austin Kearns, RF
Jesus Flores, C
Alberto Gonzalez, SS
John Lannan, LHP

Hanrahan out as Nats closer

A day after watching the bullpen blow a four-run, the Nationals have decided that right-hander Joel Hanrahan will no longer be the closer and Garrett Mock will no longer be the eighth inning guy.

The team will go with a bullpen-by-committee with right-handers Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells as the late inning guys. Once left-hander Joe Beimel is activated from the disabled list next week, he will most likely be the closer, while Tavarez and Wells become the set-up guys. 

With Mock on the mound, Shane Victorino hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Pedro Feliz and make it 11-8. After Chase Utley singled in Jimmy Rollins, Hanrahan entered the game and couldn’t find the strike zone.

Hanrahan walked both Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth on 10 pitches. Raul Ibanez then came to the plate. Hanrahan felt he had no choice but to throw a fastball to Ibanez. Hanrahan paid the price as Ibanez hit a grand slam. It was Hanrahan’s third blown save of the season.

“I hope I don’t wear out this word, but, again, it was deflating,” manager Manny Acta said. “Our offense just battled all day and scored enough runs. We played so hard for eight innings to score enough runs. You lose the game in one inning, it just tough for the whole team.”

Nationals lineup against Phillies

Anderson Hernandez, 2b
Nick Johnson, 1b
Ryan Zimmerman, 3b
Adam Dunn, lf
Elijah Dukes, cf
Austin Kearns, rf
Jesus Flores, c
Alberto Gonzalez, ss
Shairon Martis, rhp

Acta glad front office supports him

Last Sunday at Nationals Park, acting general manager Mike Rizzo said he and the front office continue to support manager Manny Acta despite the team’s slow start.

Acta said those sentiments are often expressed to him on an everyday basis.

“Nothing has changed here, the way Mike, [team president] Stan [Kasten] and the ownership group have treated me. I don’t see any difference,” Acta said. “I appreciate and I like working with Mike. He is very professional.

“All I can control is my attitude, the effort that I give and try to put these guys in situations where we can win on an everyday basis.” 

Acta is in the last year of his contract, although his option could be picked up after the season.