May 2009

Nats release Glover; Sosa ready to join Syracuse

The Nationals gave right-hander Gary Glover his unconditional release on Saturday.
Glover was pitching for Triple A Syracuse and had a 6.32 ERA in 10 appearances.

He became expendable after Washington put Mike MacDougal on the Syracuse roster. The plan is to have MacDougal join the Major League club in a couple of weeks.

Acting general manager Mike Rizzo said right-hander Jorge Sosa most likely will be ready to play for Triple-A Syracuse on May 22. Sosa, who signed a Minor League contract with Washington in December, must complete a 50-game Minor League suspension for testing positive for using an amphetamine. He served more than half of the suspension last year.

Sunday's lineup against Diamondbacks

Anderson Hernandez, 2b
Nick Johnson, 1b
Ryan Zimmerman, 3b
Adam Dunn, rf
Josh Willingham, lf
Willie Harris, cf
Alex Cintron, ss
Wil Nieves, c
Scott Olsen, lhp

Flores injures right shoulder

Nationals catcher Jesus Flores suffered a right shoulder contusion against the Diamondbacks on Saturday and is listed as day-to-day. Manager Manny Acta already announced that Flores will not play in Sunday’s game against Arizona.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Flores was hit on the shoulder by a Chris Young foul tip. Flores was in pain for several minutes, but remained in the game before being taken out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“He really got me good. I really can’t throw very well, so that’s why they took me out of the game,” Flores said.


Aaron Boone visits Nationals

Astros infielder Aaron Boone visited the Nationals at Chase Field on Saturday afternoon. He is currently on the disabled list after having heart surgery to fix an aorta and aortic valve in March.

Boone, 36, played for the Nationals last season, hitting .241 with six home runs and 28 RBIs. This past December, he signed a one-year, $750,000 with the Astros.

Boone declined to be interviewed by the Washington media, but manager Manny Acta talked about how happy he was to see his former infielder.

“It lit up my face to see him,” Acta said. “He was outstanding for us here [last year]. He is an outstanding human being. We have a lot of good feelings toward him. He was hanging out with the guys.

“To be able to see him fight back after what he went through, I’m sure he is going to be fine with whatever he wants to do.  He is feeling well. He is ready to go, living his normal life with his family and doing more and more stuff that he wasn’t able to do a couple of weeks ago.”     

Starting lineup against Diamondbacks

Cristian Guzman, ss
Elijah Dukes, cf
Ryan Zimmerman, 3b
Adam Dunn, 1b
Josh Willingham, lf
Austin Kearns, rf
Jesus Flores, c
Ronnie Belliard, 2b
John Lannan, lhp

Rizzo, Boras meet at Dodger Stadium

Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo and agent Scott Boras met on Wednesday at Dodgers Stadium, but most of the discussion was not about San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who has Boras as an advisor. 

According to a baseball source, Rizzo informed Boras that he was going to scout the right-hander on Friday. Rizzo and Boras did not talk about a contract for Strasburg. 

The Nationals have the first pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, and Strasburg is expected to be their top choice provided that he is healthy on June 9.

Published reports indicated the Nationals will not be scared off by the price tag — believed to be $50 million-plus — for the right-hander. But the source expects the negotiations between the Nationals and Boras to go down to the wire.

Lopez happy since leaving Nationals

Diamondbacks second baseman Felipe Lopez has been productive with the bat ever since he was released by the Nationals on July 31 2008.

Lopez went to the Cardinals in August of that year, hitting .377 and played a lot of positions for manager Tony LaRussa, including left field and first base After the season, Lopez signed with the Diamondbacks and was hitting .303 with three home runs and seven RBIs entering Friday’s action.

Lopez credits LaRussa for turning his career around. He went so far as to call LaRussa the best manager he ever played for. 

“He is really a professional. I never played for a manager who gets the most out of players just by talking to you,” Lopez said. “It was weird. It was like he was a major in psychology or something. He is the man.

“Being around guys like Albert Pujols, really the whole team, they are all about winning. There is none of this negative stuff of who is going to start or this negative stuff that I was experiencing in Washington.”          

Nationals manager Manny Acta declined to talk about Lopez in detail.

“I have no idea why [he wasn’t productive for the Nationals],” Acta said. “We played him and we tried our best. He is doing real well right now. I wish him well — him and his family. I’m happy with the way Anderson Hernandez is playing.”                     

Friday's lineup against Diamondbacks

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

Hinckley designated for assignment; Villone recalled

A day after watching their bullpen implode against the Dodgers, the Nationals designated left-hander Mike Hinckley for assignment and recalled left-hander Ron Villone from Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday.

Hinckley had a tough time throwing strikes, walking 11 batters in 9 2/3 innings. His last appearance was on Wednesday against Los Angeles. Hinckley didn’t retire a batter and gave up two runs on one hit.

Villone, who was signed by the Nationals in early April, will be a middle reliever. He had a 2.35 ERA in eight games for Syracuse.       

Sony Pictures watching Nationals

On Wednesday afternoon, representatives from Sony Pictures came to watch the Nationals at work at Dodger Stadium. It turns out that James L.  Brooks is making a romatic comedy about a Nationals relief pitcher. The relief pitcher is being played by Owen Wilson, according to a Nationals spokesman.