April 2009

Dukes late for work; New lineup for Nationals

Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes has been scratched from the lineup because of a violation of an undisclosed rule, according to a team spokesman. But a baseball source said that Dukes was five minutes late for work.   

Anderson Hernandez — 2B

Nick Johnson — 1B

Ryan Zimmerman — 3B

Adam Dunn — LF

Josh Bard — C

Austin Kearns — RF

Roger Bernadina — CF

Alberto Gonzalez — SS

Scott Olsen — P

 

Saturday's lineup against Marlins

Anderson Hernandez — 2B

Nick Johnson — 1B

Ryan Zimmerman — 3B

Adam Dunn — LF

Elijah Dukes — CF

Josh Bard — C

Austin Kearns — RF

Alberto Gonzalez — SS

Scott Olsen — P 

Cristian Guzman goes on disabled list

Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman had a setback on Friday. His left hamstring felt stiff and he was placed on the 15-game disabled list, retroactive to April 14, after Friday’s game against the Marlins. Guzman suffered the left hamstring strain in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Phillies on Monday. 

Facing Phillies closer Brad Lidge to lead off the inning, Guzman singled down the right-field line. As he started running the bases, Guzman felt pain in his leg, but he kept running hard. As he reached first base, it looked like Guzman would try for second, but he stopped after the pain in his leg worsened.

“He has made a lot of progress, but he is not 100 percent. It’s too early in the year and we don’t want to take a chance on him making it worse,” manager Manny Acta said about Guzman. 
 
The team will bring up infielder Alex Cintron, who was 9-for-18 [.474] for Triple-A Syracuse. 

First baseman Dmitri Young is still at extended Spring Training in Viera, Fla. He still has some pain in his back and right hip. There is no timetable as to when he will start his rehab assignment. 

Acta ejected from game

Nationals manager Manny Acta was ejected from Friday’s game against the Marlins after three innings.

After Elijah Dukes struck out looking to end the third inning, Acta was seen arguing with home plate umpire Tim Timmons. Within a few seconds, Timmons ejected Acta. Bench coach Jim Riggleman took over the managerial duties.   

It was Acta’s second ejection of his career, the first coming on July 26, 2007. In that game, Acta and left-hander John Lannan exited the game after Lannan hit Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard with a pitch.           

Guzman has setback; Young still in Viera

Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman had a setback on Friday. His left hamstring was stiff, and the Nationals will make a decision on Saturday to determine if he will go on the disabled list. Guzman suffered a left hamstring strain in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Phillies on Monday. 

Facing Phillies closer Brad Lidge to lead off the inning, Guzman singled down the right-field line. As he started running the bases, Guzman felt pain in his leg, but he kept running hard. As he reached first base, it looked like Guzman would try for second, but he stopped after the pain in his leg worsened.

If Guzman is placed on the DL, the team most likely will bring up infielder Alex Cintron, who is 9-for-18 [.474] for Triple-A Syracuse. 

First baseman Dmitri Young is still at extended Spring Training in Viera, Fla. He still has some pain in his back and right hip. There is no timetable as to when he will start his rehab assignment.                  

Zimmerman close to contract extension

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is close to signing a contract extension with the Nationals, according to a baseball source. The contract would cover at least Zimmerman’s final two years of arbitration.

The source said an announcement may not be made for at least a week. Team president Stan Kasten and agent Brodie Van Wagenen have been working on a new deal for Zimmermann since March 1, the day Jim Bowden resigned as general manager.

As one person familiar with the negotiation put it, “[The two parties] are on the same page. It’s the agent that is holding it up.”

Kasten and Van Wagenen did not return phone messages.

When asked if a deal was close, Zimmerman said he was not aware of any negotiations going on between Kasten and Van Wagenen. It 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 two years with Washington, Zimmerman averaged 100.5 RBIs, but he missed 48 games last year because of a left labrum tear.

Entering Friday’s action this season, Zimmerman is hitting .243 with two home runs and eight RBIs. 

Guzman, Belliard available

Nationals manager Manny Acta announced that shortstop Cristian Guzman is available for Tuesday’s game against the Phillies, but only for an emergency. Guzman is still nursing a left hamstring strain, but hopes to start sometime this weekend against the Marlins.

Guzman has been the most consistent hitter under Acta, hitting .327 in two-plus seasons. There was a time last season when Guzman was his saving grace on offense.

“He has been tremendous. He is a pro and he leads by example,” Acta said. “At times, you wish that he was a little more vocal, but he is just that way. When he is out there, he wants to play every day. He does whatever it takes to win. Ever since he had that Lasik surgery [after the 2005 season], look at his batting average: It’s way above his lifetime batting average.”

In other news, Ronnie Belliard no longer has back problems and is available to pinch hit. Belliard hasn’t played a game since April 8 because of the injury.            

Thursday's 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 — P  

Wednesday's game postponed

WASHINGTON — Wednesday’s game between the Phillies and Nationals was postponed because of rain. A make-up date will be announced in the coming days.

Right-hander Shairon Martis will start Thursday’s series finale for Washington, while Philadelphia will counter with right-hander Joe Blanton at 7:05 p.m. ET. 

With Martis being pushed back an extra day, left-hander John Lannan will pitch on Friday against the Marlins followed by left-hander Scott Olsen, right-hander Daniel Cabrera and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who will make his Major League debut against the Braves on Monday. 

This is the Nationals’ fifth rainout — third at Nationals Park — since baseball returned to Washington in 2005.

Ticket holders for Wednesday’s postponed contest should retain their ticket and parking passes until notified regarding the rescheduling of this game. Season ticket holders can use to Wednesday tickets for the rescheduled game.

Those with individual game tickets [non-season tickets] may use their tickets for Wednesday’s game for the rescheduled game or exchange their tickets for the same priced seat at any future 2009 Nationals home game, excluding the three-game series against the Red Sox on June 23-25. All rain check exchanges are subject to availability.

Individual-game ticket holders — if they so choose — can exchange their tickets at any Nationals Park box office. Nationals Park box office hours are Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET.

Zimmermann on schedule to pitch against Braves

Triple-A Syracuse right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was scheduled to pitch against Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, but the game was postponed because of rain.

However, Zimmermann was able to have a simulated game that night and is still scheduled to make his Major League debut against the Braves on Monday night at Nationals Park. Zimmermann threw six innings in the simulated game. 

Zimmermann was supposed to pitched on Sunday against the Marlins, but his scheduled start was pushed back a day because Wednesday’s game between the Nationals and Phillies was postponed because of rain.

“I can’t wait to see him. This kid was very exciting in Spring Training. We were counting the days before he pitched,” manager Manny Acta said. “To see him in the big league level is going to be very exciting. He is one guy who has a legit chance to be in the top of the rotation.”

During Spring Training, Zimmermann went 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA. He also had 20 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings.   

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