July 2009

Nationals, American Red Cross to host blood drive

The Nationals have partnered with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive at Nationals Park on Aug. 8th from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET.

This is the fifth year the two have teamed up for the event. Nationals right-hander  Jordan Zimmermann is the player representative for this blood drive. 

Zimmermann will record a PSA for radio and television and make an appearance at the blood drive, thanking fans for their support.

“It’s extremely good for the community and, basically, for everyone,” Zimmermann said.  “They are ultimately going to save someone’s life. It’s a really good thing. Hopefully, a lot of people will come out.”     

Fans may make appointments by calling 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or by visiting www.my-redcross.org.

Currently only three out of every 100 Americans give blood. The goal is to collect over 250 pints of usable blood. The 2008 drive collected 176 pints of usable blood. 

Donors will receive a t-shirt, two tickets to an upcoming Nationals home game and the knowledge that they’ve helped save a life.

Participants will also be entered to win prizes including Nationals tickets, autographed memorabilia and a package including four PNC Diamond Club tickets and a BP field visit.
In addition to hosting blood drives at the ballpark, the Nationals visited the Red Cross facility in Northern Virginia during their 2007 Winter Caravan.

Dmitri Young out for season

Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young is out for the season because of a torn left quad.

Young, 35, hurt the quad running out a single for Double-A Harrisburg on July 19th. He then went to Washington to have an MRI, which revealed the tear. Young, who is currently rehabbing the quad in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was hitting .241 with two RBIs for Harrisburg.

Young is in the last year of a two-year, $10 million contract and has yet to play a Major League game this season. It’s doubtful he will return to the Nationals as a player next season. 

Young played three seasons for the organization. His best season with Washington was in 2007. In 136 games, Young hit .320 with 13 home runs and 74 RBIs. He ended up winning Comeback Player of the Year honors that year.

Last season, Young was limited to 50 games because of a lower back sprain and complications with diabetes, which is currently under control.   

Sunday's lineup between Nationals, Padres

Padres:

Cabrera – SS

Venable – CF

Headley – LF

Kouzmanoff – 3B

Blanks – RF

Salazar – 1B

Rodriguez – 2B

Alfonso – C

Gaudin – P

Nationals:

Harris – CF

Johnson – 1B

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – LF

Willingham – RF

Bard – C

Gonzalez – SS

Hernandez – 2B

Lannan – P

Rain delays involving Nationals

Game

Delay

Total Minutes

April 10 at ATL

2:02

122

April 20 vs. ATL

2:43

163

April 21 vs. ATL

1:01

61

May 3 vs. STL

1:56 delay before postponement

116

May 5 vs. HOU

1:16

76

May 16 vs. PHI

Called after 5.0 innings…1:30 delay

90

June 3 vs. SFG

3:46 delay before postponement

226

June 4 vs. SFG (Game 1)

first pitch delayed :36

36

June 4 vs. SFG (Game 2)

Called after 6.0 innings…1:07 delay

67

June 9 vs. CIN

1:47

107

June 10 vs. CIN

2:10

130

June 18 at NYY

first pitch delayed 5:26

326

June 29 at FLA

first pitch delayed :37

37

June 30 at FLA

1:29

89

July 1 at FLA

:19

19

July 23 vs. STL

Called in top of 7th inning…2:46 delay

166

July 25 vs. SDP

3:11

191

2,022

*18 games

2,022 total minutes = 33 hours, 42 minutes

* – Total number of games includes contest scheduled for April 15 vs. PHI that was postponed prior to scheduled 7:05 p.m. start.

Dunn trying to get better in left field

Outfielder Adam Dunn is not afraid to critique himself when it comes to his defense. He will be the first to say that he needs work out there.

The fact is, he is working hard to get better. He is often practicing with outfield/first-base coach Marquis Grissom before games. Dunn said he is feeling comfortable in left field these days because he is concentrating on one position out there. During the first half, Dunn was also playing right field.

“I’m feeling comfortable out there, but [I make] a bunch of stupid errors and [I know I have to work at getting better],” he said. 

Dunn doesn’t have a problem hitting the baseball. Entering Saturday’s action, Dunn is hitting .272 with a team-leading 24 home runs and 65 RBIs.  

Hernandez has new role as utility player

Since Jim Riggleman became the Nationals’ interim manager last week, Anderson Hernandez has yet to get a start at second base.

The reason is that the team now considers Hernandez a utility player. That’s why he has been working out in the outfield. Most of the playing time at second base will go to Alberto Gonzalez, with Ronnie Belliard and Willie Harris getting  occasional starts. 

The idea originally came from then-manager Manny Acta, who told Hernandez before the All-Star break that they wanted to see what Gonzalez can do on an everyday basis. Entering Saturday’s action, Gonzalez is hitting .299 with one home run with 17 RBIs.

Hernandez started the season as the everyday second baseman. While he is special with the glove, there are times when he looks overmatched at the plate, especially from the left side of the plate. One will he know that Hernandez is in a slump when he turns his head after swinging and missing at a pitch.                              

Saturday's lineup between Nationals, Padres

Padres:

Gwynn – CF

Cabrera – SS

Gonzalez – 1B

Kouzmanoff – 3B

Headley – LF

Macias – RF

Rodriguez – 2B

Lobaton – C

Stauffer – P

Nationals:

Morgan – CF

Guzman – SS

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – LF

Johnson – 1B

Willingham – RF

Belliard – 2B

Nieves – C

Martin – P

Willingham, Dunn drawing interest

The Rangers have been in Washington scouting the Nationals, according to a baseball source. Texas is looking for a right-handed hitter, and it is believed that it has interest in Josh Willingham, who has been one of the Nationals’ most consistent hitters this season.

Entering Friday’s action, Willingham was hitting .294 with 13 home runs and 29 RBIs. He is arguably the most sought after player on the Nationals because of his consistency with the bat.

The Tigers are another team that is interested in Willingham as well as Adam Dunn. They see both players as designated hitters. According to an industry source, the Nationals have been scouting players from Double-A Erie, a Tigers affiliate.   

In any deal, the Nationals want young pitching prospects in return.  

Friday's starting lineup between Nats and Padres

Padres:

Gwynn – CF

Cabrera – SS

Gonzalez – 1B

Kouzmanoff – 3B

Headley – LF

Blanks – RF

Rodriguez – 2B

Alfonzo – C

Latos – P

Nationals:

Harris – CF

Guzman – SS

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – LF

Johnson – 1B

Willingham – RF

Bard – C

Gonzalez – 2B

Mock – P

Scott Olsen has surgery on left shoulder

Nationals left-hander Scott Olsen had surgery on his left shoulder to repair a small labrum tear on Thursday morning.

Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, who performed the surgery, didn’t find any further damage inside the shoulder. The surgery was done at Washington Hospital Center.

Olsen, 25,  is out for the rest of the season and hopes to start a throwing program within two months. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

“Olsen’s surgery went well,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. “Sometimes you can go in there and find some stuff that is unexpected. This was all expected. It’s as minimal as it can be. It will be six to eight weeks before he could start a throwing program and you take it from there.”   

Olsen, who makes $2.8 million, is arbitration eligible. Asked if he could be non-tendered during the offseason,” Rizzo said, “We have a long way to make those decisions.” 
Olsen finished the season with a record of  2-4 with a 6.03 ERA.
 

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