April 2009

Beimel on 15-day disabled list; Rivera in big leagues

The Nationals placed left-hander Joe Beimel on the 15-day disabled list because of a left hip flexor strain and recalled right-hander Saul Rivera from Triple-A Syracuse. 

Beimel, 32, suffered the injury while making diving play off the bat of Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson in the eighth inning of Monday’s game. In eight relief appearances this season, Beimel has 1.23 ERA.

Rivera, 31, pitched in six games this season and was hit hard, given up 10 runs in 7 1/3 innings. On Sunday, he was sent down to the Syracuse after giving up four in one inning against the Marlins.   

Details of Ryan Zimmerman's contract

Here are the details of Ryan Zimmerman’s new contract

2009 — $3.325 million. He also gets a $500,000 signing bonus and could get $175,000 in performance bonuses.

2010 — $6.25 million

2011 — $8.925 million

2012 — $12 million

2013 — $14 million  

Monday's lineup against Braves

Anderson Hernandez – 2B

Nick Johnson – 1B

Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

Adam Dunn – RF

Elijah Dukes – CF

Josh Willingham – LF

Jesus Flores – C

Alberto Gonzalez – SS

Jordan Zimmermann – P


Nats to hold press conference for Ryan Zimmerman

The Nationals will hold a press conference at 4:00 p.m. ET to announce that third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has signed a five-year, $45 million extension. Zimmerman agreed to terms on Sunday, according to a high-ranking team official.

Team president Stan Kasten and agent Brodie Van Wagenen have been working on a new deal for Zimmerman since March 1, the day Jim Bowden resigned as the club’s general manager.

Nationals make roster moves

Following Sunday’s loss to the Marlins, the Nationals optioned reliever Saul Rivera and catcher Josh Bard to Triple-A Syracuse and designated relievers Steven Shell and Wil Ledezma for assignment.

On Monday, the Nationals will select right-handers Jordan Zimmermann and Kip Wells from Syracuse and recall right-handers Garrett Mock and Jason Bergmann from Syracuse. Bergmann, Mock and Wells will work out of the bullpen. 

The Nationals made most of the moves because the bullpen has a 6.48 ERA in 41 2/3 innings this season.

“The incompetence of the bullpen was drawn to a head today,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. “It got to a point where it wasn’t fair to the fans and it wasn’t fair to the rest of the team, the starting pitchers, too, to go status quo.”  

Zimmermann was named Washington’s fifth starter during Spring Training with the understanding he would pitch with Syracuse until his services were needed 11 games into the Nationals’ schedule. He made one start with the Chiefs, tossing 5.1 innings on April 9 vs. Rochester. The 22-year-old went 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA in five games (three starts) this spring, and he held opponents scoreless in four of his five outings.

Wells, 31, has compiled 65 wins during his 10 seasons in the big leagues with the White Sox Pirates, Rangers, Cardinals, Rockies and Royals. In 51 career relief appearances, he owns a 6-3 record with a 3.43 ERA. He went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts with Syracuse, after earning a win in his lone Spring Training relief appearance.

Mock made five relief appearances with Syracuse, after an impressive Spring Training in which he compiled a 3.94 ERA in 14 relief outings.

Bergmann, 27, tallied a 3.00 ERA and one save in four relief outings with Syracuse. Bergmann went 1-0 and allowed no earned runs in nine relief appearances this spring.  

Zimmerman agrees to terms with Nats

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will be with the Nationals for a while, for he has agreed to a contract extension on Sunday, according to a high ranking official. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the team could make an announcement as early as Monday.

Team president Stan Kasten and agent Brodie Van Wagenen have been working on a new deal for Zimmerman since March 1, the day Jim Bowden resigned as the club’s general manager.

Kasten and Van Wagenen did not return phone messages.

When asked if a deal was close on Friday, Zimmerman said he was not aware of any negotiations going on between his agent and Kasten. In fact, Zimmerman said he did not want to negotiate a contract extension during the season.

“Talk to Stan and Brodie — maybe they are doing something, but I’m playing baseball,” Zimmerman said. “I haven’t heard anything.”

Zimmerman is considered by many to be the Nationals’ best player. In his first full two years with Washington, the 24-year-old averaged 100.5 RBIs, but he missed 48 games last year because of a left labrum tear.

Entering Monday’s action against the Braves, Zimmerman is hitting .275 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

Acting general manager Mike Rizzo recently declined to comment on Zimmerman’s contract status, but he said that the third baseman is the face of the franchise.

“He is a vital part of the franchise, both as the face of the franchise and one of its star players,” Rizzo said.

Nationals support Manny Acta

Entering Sunday’s action, the Nationals were 1-9 and already 8 ½ games behind the Marlins. The slow start has not hurt manager Manny Acta with the organization.

In fact, acting general manager Mike Rizzo said he and the organization support Acta, who has a 133-200 record in two-plus seasons with the Nationals.

“I support Manny Acta and so does the organization,” Rizzo said. “He is our manager and a good young manager. I think he has handled the young ballclub right.”

Rizzo said the Nationals are still rebuilding and there is going to be some growing pains. Rizzo was a member of the Diamondbacks, when they lost 111 games in 2004, and he said the Nationals are ahead of schedule when it comes to the rebuilding process.     

“[The Nationals] have a very young ballclub in the Major Leagues, which we didn’t have in Arizona. That’s what I take from that [’04] season.” Rizzo said. “Last year, we ended the season as the youngest team in the Major Leagues. We are still one of the youngest teams in the Major Leagues. We are building and it’s a slow process. … It’s a slow step-by-step process. We are moving in a right planned-out direction.”       

Sunday's lineup against Marlins

Anderson Hernandez – 2B
Nick Johnson – 1B
Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
Adam Dunn – LF
Elijah Dukes – CF
Austin Kearns – RF
Jesus Flores – C
Alberto Gonzalez – SS
Daniel Cabrera – P

Bernadina placed on 15-day disabled list

Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina had to leave Saturday’s game against the Marlins because of a fractured right ankle suffered in the top of the eighth inning.

After the game, Bernadina was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He is expected to miss at least two months — maybe more.

With Nationals left-hander Joe Beimel on the mound, Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla hit the ball to deep center field. Bernadina made a nice running catch before slamming into the wall and hurting his ankle.

Right fielder Austin Kearns was seen calling for help, and Manager Manny Acta and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came to Bernadina’s aid. A few minutes later, Acta helped Bernadina into an ambulance.

“When [Bernadina] asked to get help to walk off the field, I knew it was bad,” Acta said. “It’s a [fractured ankle]. We’ll have more information, but he is going to be out for a while.”

Meanwhile, the Nationals will recall outfielder Justin Maxwell from Triple-A Syracuse.

Nats must make decision on backup catcher

Before Monday’s game, the Nationals are expected to call up right-hander Jordan Zimmermann from Triple-A Syracuse and take one of their backup catchers — Josh Bard and Wil Nieves — off the 25-man roster.

Bard is known for his bat, while Nieves has a reputation of being great behind the plate. Manager Manny Acta said in the right situation, a team would be looking for a person with defensive skills.

“He is only going to play once a week to rest the [the starting catcher],” Acta said. “That being said, we are going to keep whoever we think is the best fit for us. We are also going to try to make the right decision, so we can keep both guys somehow, someway. A lot of things play into that decision.”