August 2010

Strasburg DVD worth watching

The first 15,000 fans to attend Thursday’s game between the Nats and Marlins will receive a commemorative DVD of Stephen Strasburg’s historic debut against the Pirates on June 8.

Making his Major League debut after 11 sensational Minor League starts, Strasburg pitched seven innings of two-run ball against Pittsburgh, earning the win and striking out 14 in the Nats’ 5-2 victory.

Delwyn Young’s two-run home run with two outs in the fourth was the only damage against Strasburg.

A sellout crowd of 40,315 saw Strasburg allow just four hits, and his 14 strikeouts established a club record. The 14 strikeouts by Strasburg in a Major League debut were one shy of the all-time mark of 15 set by Karl Spooner in 1954 and J.R. Richard in ’71. Even more amazing was that he struck out no more than nine batters in a game when pitching in the Minor Leagues.

Strasburg, who did the job without looking at scouting reports, threw 94 pitches, 65 for strikes, and didn’t walk a batter. The righty retired his final 10 batters, striking out his last seven.

Presented by Harris Teeter, the DVD will contain MASN’s broadcast coverage of the entire game as well as bonus features, including post-game interviews, highlights and a “Know Your Nats” segment with Strasburg.

 

Starting lineups for Nats, Marlins

Marlins:

Ramirez – SS

Morrison – LF

Sanchez, G. – 1B

Uggla – 2B

Ross – CF

Stanton – RF

Murphy – 3B

Hayes – C

Nolasco – P

Nationals:

Bernadina – CF

Desmond – SS

Dunn – 1B

Zimmerman – 3B

Morse – RF

Kennedy – 2B

Rodriguez – C

Harris – LF

Hernandez – P

Willingham has sore left knee

Nationals left fielder Josh Willingham was given the day off  Wednesday night after seeing his batting average dip from .281 to .262. It doesn’t help that he is 15-for-78 [.192] with no home runs and eight RBIs since the All-Star break.

When approached by reporters early Wednesday, Willingham didn’t have an answer for his second-half slump, but it was revealed by manager Jim Riggleman that Willingham has a sore left knee.

Willingham has had soreness for the last two weeks and had dealt with the same type of injury in April.

Riggleman praised Willingham for playing even though he was in pain.

“Josh is a little banged up. His knee is barking a little bit,” Riggleman said. “We’re going to give him a day off today. We’ll see where it takes us. He is really a gamer, a tough guy. He has played with some soreness for quite a while. Guys like Josh, who have power, you never know what the day is going to be when they come out of their little slump. When they come out of it, they will come out with a long ball or two.”

Hernandez happy to wear Expos cap

In honor of Andre Dawson, the Nationals wore Expos caps during batting practice on Tuesday. Of the current players on the Nationals’ 25-man roster, right-handers Livan Hernandez and Miguel Batista are the only players to have played for the Expos.

Hernandez said he was happy to wear the Expos cap — at least for a couple of hours.

“This organization came from Montreal and the Expos were there a long time,” Hernandez said. “It’s very nice that the organization does something for the Expos.”

Injury updates on Nationals players

Right-hander J.D. Martin had successful back surgery Tuesday. It was performed by Dr Robert Watkins in California. The disc surgery lasted less than an hour. Martin is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for Spring Training.

Martin pitched in nine games for Washington and went 1-5 with a 4.13 ERA.

Right-hander Luis Atilano is out for the season after having bone chips removed from his right elbow this past Thursday. The original plan was for Atilano to rehab the elbow and then try to have surgery after the season.

Atilano made 16 starts and went 6-7 with a 5.15 ERA for Washington.

Center fielder Nyjer Morgan went to Nashville on Monday to get a second opinion on his right hip. The MRI revealed that he has a flexor strain. The injury is not considered serious. Morgan, who is on the disabled list, hopes to be back in action by the time the Nationals travel to Atlanta to play the Braves on April 16.

Left-hander Ross Detwiler had an MRI taken on his right hip Monday and the results are not in yet. However, Detwiler said the hip is feeling much better, but there is no timetable on when he will return to action.

 

Nationals to honor Dawson Tuesday

The Nationals will honor Andre Dawson’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame when they face the Florida Marlins on Tuesday evening.

One of the greatest players in Montreal Expos history, Dawson will be recognized throughout the evening with the help of former Expo and Hall of Famer Gary Carter. 

Dawson and Carter are the only two players in the Hall of Fame to represent the Nationals/Expos franchise. The Nationals will also honor other Hall of Famers with ties to Washington’s baseball heritage by unveiling a Hall of Fame Ring of Honor on the concrete façade above the PNC Diamond Club.

Balester optioned to make way for Strasburg

After Sunday’s 8-3 loss to the Dodgers, the Nationals optioned right-hander Collin Baletser to Triple-A Syracuse and will activate right-hander Stephen Strasburg from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.

Balester, who was not available for comment, appeared in six games and allowed four runs in 6 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .333 against him. With Balester gone, right-handers Miguel Batista and Craig Stammen are Washington’s long men out of the bullpen.

As for Strasburg, he will pitch against the Marlins on Tuesday. It will be his first start since July 21 against the Reds. He missed his last three starts because of shoulder stiffness. Strasburg, the ace of Washington’s pitching staff, is 5-2 with a 2.32 ERA in nine starts.  

Stammen to the bullpen

With right-hander Jason Marquis being activated today, Craig Stammen will go to the bullpen. I also learned no one will be sent down to the Minor Leagues. Someone will go on the disabled list. Ill have more on that later on MLB.com.

Martin to have season-ending surgery

Nationals right-hander J.D. Martin announced on Saturday morning that he will have season-ending surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back. The surgery will take place Tuesday in Los Angeles. 

Martin has had lower back problems dating back to his days in the Indians organization, but the injury grew worse this year. Earlier this season, Martin missed two starts for Triple-A Syracuse because of back issues.

Then on June 24, Martin started against the Brewers and didn’t have anything in the tank, even though he allowed just one run in 2 1/3 innings. In fact, the team believed Martin was injured in the bottom of the second inning.

With the count 1-1 on Jonathan Lucroy, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, pitching coach Steve McCatty and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz went to the mound to check on Martin. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez was the first to notice something was wrong with Martin.
 Martin said he was OK and remained in the game, but he would later leave after one out in the third, with runners on first and second.

The team announced after the game that Martin was being placed on the 15-day disabled list because of his lower back problem. Martin thought he would be back on the mound by now, but he was placed on the 60-day disabled list Thursday.

“It was a little bit worse than we thought, so it’s going to require a little surgery,” Martin said via phone. “It’s just a cleanup. It’s  a pretty easy procedure, the doctor said. After rehab, I’ll be ready to be strong and for next Spring Training.”

Martin made nine big-leagues starts this season and was 1-5 with a 4.13 ERA for Washington.  

Dunn placed on waivers

The Nationals have placed first baseman Adam Dunn on waivers Tuesday, according to a source outside of the Nationals organization.

A player exposed to waivers can be claimed by any team, and if there are multiple claims, the player would be offered to the team with the worst record. At that point, a team has 48 hours to either try to work out a trade with the claiming club or remove the player from waivers. A player can only be pulled back from waivers once, but if he clears waivers either the first or second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any club. 

“There is always a possibility [we could make a trade before that date],” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said about the Aug. 31 deadline. “We are always looking to do our jobs and improve the ballclub. When contenders are interested in your players, it means you have playoff-caliber players on your team that people want.”

The big unknown is if Dunn will sign an extension before Aug. 31. Dunn hopes so, but his price may be too high. He is asking for a four-year deal, but he is willing to listen to a three-year offer.

Entering Tuesday’s action against the Diamondbacks, Dunn is hitting .276 with 26 home runs and 67 RBIs for Washington.

 

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