May 2009

Beimel activated; Rivera sent down

After Tuesday’s game against the Astros, the Nationals sent reliever Saul Rivera to Triple-A Syracuse and activated left-hander Joe Beimel from the 15-day disabled list.

Beimel, who missed 15 games because of a left hip flexor strain, will be part of the closer-by-committee. Manager Manny Acta hasn’t ruled out Beimel being the closer in the future.

Rivera is off to the worst start of his career, going 0-3 with an 8.49 ERA.

In other news, right-hander Garrett Mock hyperextended his right knee catching a popup by Michael Bourne in the eighth inning. Acta said that Mock is OK and will be ready to pitch on Wednesday against the Dodgers.      

Tuesday's lineup against Astros

Cristian Guzman – SS

Nick Johnson – 1B

Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

Adam Dunn – RF

Elijah Dukes – CF

Josh Willingham – LF

Anderson Hernandez – 2B

Wil Nieves – C

Scott Olsen – P

Nationals collect over six bins of equipment

The Nationals collected over six bins of baseball equipment and $200 during two games against the Cardinals on May 1 & 2.

The collected equipment and money, along with a $5,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, will be shared among the DC Public High School Athletic Departments. Volunteers from DC Public Schools, including baseball coaches, student-athletes and parents collected the equipment at the Nationals Park Center Field Gates.

DCPS athletic director Troy Mathieu participated in a pregame check presentation, with Nationals pitchers Shairon Martis and Scott Olsen, and delivered the Nationals lineup card to the umpires.

 

Monday's lineup against Astros

Cristian Guzman — SS

Nick Johnson — 1B

Ryan Zimmerman — 3B

Adam Dunn — LF

Elijah Dukes — CF

Austin Kearns — RF

Jesus Flores — C

Anderson Hernandez — 2B

John Lannan — P

Beimel has rehab start; Nats watching Crow

Nationals left-hander Joe Beimel, on the disabled list because of a left hip flexor strain,  had his first rehab assignment on Friday and didn’t pitch well for Class A Potomac. He started the game and pitched one inning, giving up five runs on seven hits against Frederick.

If there was good news, Beimel was able to field his position on a bunt play, proving that his injury is a thing of the past.

“The line doesn’t look to good, but I felt pretty good. I guess I had my feelings hurt a little bit,” Beimel said. “It was just one of those things where I couldn’t believe what was happening when it was happening. Every ball they swung at, they put it in play.”

In other news, The Nationals have not ruled out drafting right-hander Aaron Crow for the second year in a row. Last year, Washington could not reach an agreement with Crow, their first-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, by midnight ET on Aug 15. Money turned out to be the sticking point.

The Nationals are going to watch Crow pitch for the Fort Worth Cats of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball on Monday. 

By not signing Crow last year, the Nationals will get the No. 9a pick in this year’s Draft as compensation.

 

Inbox returns Sunday

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Belliard late for work, scratched from lineup

Nationals second baseman Ronnie Belliard was scheduled to bat sixth and play second base on Saturday against the Cardinals, but he was scratched because he was late for work.

Belliard wasn’t on time because he overslept. However, manager Manny Acta said he will not hold it against Belliard because the latter has been a solid citizen the last two-plus years in Washington.

“Rules are Rules,” Acta said. “He was apologetic about it. He has gone through what everybody else has gone through, but no hard feelings because he has been a solid citizen on and off the field for us.” 

This is the second time a Nationals player has been tardy this season. On April 18, right fielder Elijah Dukes was scratched from the starting lineup against the Marlins and fined $500 for being five minutes late for work.

Dukes was late because he was signing autographs at a Little League function that was not sponsored by the Nationals. 

Saturday's lineup against Cardinals

Cristian Guzman – SS

Nick Johnson – 1B

Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

Adam Dunn – LF

Austin Kearns – RF

Willie Harris – CF

Anderson Hernandez – 2B

Wil Nieves – C

Shairon Martis – P

Acta: Nats miss Cordero, Rauch

From 2005 to 2008, the bullpen was the least of the Nationals’ worries. They had Jon Rauch as the eighth-inning setup man, while Chad Cordero would pick up the saves. They were workhorses and never afraid to enter a game with the winning run on base.  

The Nationals don’t have that luxury right now, for they are no longer on the team. Cordero became a free agent after the 2008 season and vowed not to come back because then-general manager Jim Bowden was still a member of the organization. It was Bowden who traded Rauch to the Diamondbacks for infielder Emilio Bonifacio on July 22, 2008.

With Cordero and Rauch gone, the Nationals’ bullpen is one of the worst in baseball. Entering Friday’s action, it has a 5.40 ERA. They have already used 11 relievers this season, including two closers.

Manager Manny Acta said he didn’t know how much Cordero and Rauch would be missed until now.

“I’m finding out right now how tough life is without them,” Acta said. “That was our strength the last three years. We worried about getting enough starting pitching and putting together some middle innings.

“Cordero was on top of his game, [with Rauch], the eighth inning was money in the bank. Whenever Cordero got hurt, Rauch stepped in and did a very fine job. It’s not easy to substitute two guys like that in the back of our bullpen. We thought we were going to get over it, but it hasn’t been as easy.”

Friday's starting lineup against Cardinals

Cristian Guzman – SS

Nick Johnson – 1B

Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

Adam Dunn – LF

Elijah Dukes – RF

Jesus Flores – C

Willie Harris – CF

Anderson Hernandez – 2B

Jordan Zimmermann – P

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