August 2009

Nats to purchase contract of Pete Orr

With center fielder Nyjer Morgan out for the season, the Nationals have decided to purchase the contract of infielder Pete Orr from Triple-A Syracuse before Friday’s game against the Cardinals.

This will be Orr’s second stint with the big club. Last year, he played in 79 games and hit .253 with seven RBIs. Orr most likely will be a defensive replacement when he arrives in St. Louis.

Before the promotion, Orr was hitting .245 with nine home runs and 50 RBIs for Syracuse.  

Nyjer Morgan out for the year [update]

I just found out that Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan is out for the season because of a broken left hand. 

Morgan started the game off by drawing a walk against Cubs right-hander Randy Wells. Morgan then stole second and third base before scoring on a double by Cristian Guzman.

Morgan broke the hand stealing third base and was taken out of the game and replaced by Willie Harris.    

The Nationals have not decided who will replace Morgan on the roster. An announcement will be made on Friday.

There will be more to come on

Nyjer Morgan has jammed left hand

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan left Thursday’s game against the Cubs in the bottom of the first inning with a jammed left hand. He is listed as day-to-day.

There is no word on how Morgan hurt the hand. 

Morgan started the game off by drawing a walk against right-hander Randy Wells. Morgan then stole second and third base before scoring on a double by Cristian Guzman.

After the inning ended, with the Nationals leading, 3-0, Willie Harris replaced Morgan in center field.   

There will be more to come on   

Nationals hope to carry third catcher

With Josh Bard having problems with his right groin, the Nationals are hoping to carry a third catcher when the roster expands in September, but there may be a stumbling block. 

Washington was hoping that Jesus Flores would return to action by then, but he is still recovering from a right shoulder injury. The team doesn’t have any catching prospects except for Derek Norris, who will not be promoted to the big leagues. Instead, he will play in the Arizona Fall League.

Josh Willingham is the emergency catcher, but he will spend all of his time as the regular left fielder.  

“We have talked about [having a third catcher]. It’s a nice luxury to have,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “You really can’t do it with a 25-man roster. But when the roster expands, it give you more of an option to pinch-run for somebody and you still have a catcher on the bench. We really haven’t identified who that person will be. I don’t know if we will have one or not.”  

Nyjer Morgan feeling better, will start Thursday

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan said he is over his flu-like symptoms and could have started on Wednesday against the Cubs, but interim manager Jim Riggleman wanted to rest him for one more day. Morgan will start on Thursday afternoon against Chicago.

“I went to the skipper to let him know that I’ll be there for the team,” Morgan said. “If he needs me off the bench, I’ll be there.”  

Riggleman acknowledged that he rested Morgan on Wednesday to give Willie Harris some plate appearances. Harris hasn’t played often since Morgan joined the team on June 30. Most of his action has come as a defensive replacement.

Nationals need veteran presence on pitching staff

Nationals interim manager Jim Riggleman said he agrees with team president Stan Kasten and general manager Mike Rizzo that the team’s biggest need this offseason is adding a veteran presence to the pitching staff.

The team currently has right-hander Livan Hernandez on the staff, but there are no guarantees he will be back in 2010.

Riggleman acknowledged that the Nationals had interest in veterans such as right-handers John Smoltz and Vicente Padilla when they became free agents recently, but those two pitchers wanted to play on winning teams. Padilla signed with the Dodgers, while Smoltz signed with the Cardinals.
“They can pick and choose where they go,” Riggleman said. “They wanted to be with a first-place club. [They had a chance] to be with a first-place club, so they chose the Cardinals and Dodgers, [respectively]. That’s the type of guy we are identifying now — people like that over the winter.”   

Nationals sign Livan Hernandez

The Nationals have signed right-hander Livan Hernandez to a Major League contract on Tuesday night. The news comes six days after the Mets gave him his unconditional release.

Hernandez, who went 7-8 with a 5.47 ERA for New York, will be in the rotation for Washington and teach the young starting pitchers on how to do things on the mound.

This will be Hernandez’s second stint with the Nationals/Expos. He played for the organization from 2003 to the middle of the 2006 season, when he was traded to the D-Backs for right-hander Garrett Mock and left-hander Matt Chico.

Hernandez’s best season with the organization was in 2003 when he was 15-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Montreal. He also led the National League in innings pitch from 2003-05 and represented the organization  in 2004 and ’05.  

Hernandez, 34, has played 14 years in the big leagues, going 154-147 with a 4.43 ERA with the Marlins, Giants, Expos, Nationals, D-Backs and Mets. 

It’s not known will be taken off the 25-man roster, when Hernandez joins the team on Wednesday.

There is more to come on 

Morgan has flu-like symptoms; Burnett feeling better

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan was out of Tuesday’s lineup against the Cubs because of flu-like symptoms. Interim manager Jim Riggleman hopes Morgan is back in the lineup by Wednesday. Riggleman replaced Morgan with Willie Harris.

In other news, reliever Sean Burnett, who missed Monday’s game against the Brewers because of a left thumb contusion, played catch at Wrigley Field and said the thumb feels better.

“He threw pretty well, so he is feeling much better,” general manager Mike Rizzo said.  

Sean Burnett has thumb contusion

Left-hander Sean Burnett has a left thumb contusion and is not available for Monday’s game against the Brewers. The Nationals are hoping he can pitch during the three-game series against the Cubs starting on Tuesday night.   

Burnett hurt the thumb in the seventh inning on Sunday trying to field a groundball hit by Milwaukee’s Felipe Lopez. The Nationals were hoping that Burnett could pitch the next inning, but he ended up having X-rays, which were negative.  

Lannan will pitch on regular turn

The Nationals have decided to let John Lannan pitch on his regular turn Thursday afternoon against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Washington was thinking about pitching Lannan on short rest Tuesday against Chicago because he threw 43 pitches and lasted 1 2/3 innings in an 11-9 loss to the Brewers on Saturday.

“We were thinking about getting him out of that routine he was in and shaking it up,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said about Lannan. “As of now, he will pitch on his regular day.”

The month of August has been a rough one for Lannan, who has given up 19 runs in 18 innings. He has watched his ERA climb from 3.41 to 4.03. Lannan said he knows how to get out of the rut he is in, but declined to talk about his game plan for Thursday.