June 2011

Hairston to be placed on disabled list

The Nationals are set to place infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. on the 15-day disabled list on Friday retroactive to June 29th because of a fractured right wrist. He is expected to miss two to four weeks.

Hairston left Wednesday’s game against the Angels in the fifth inning after a Dan Haren pitch struck him on the right hand. Hairston was in so much pain that he fell to the ground.

“[I’m a] little frustrated,” Hairston said via text to MLB.com. “[I] started to swing the bat [during the] last few weeks. But I’ll be back.”

Hairston has been one of Mike Rizzo’s best acquisitions. Before the injury, Hairston was hitting .260 with two home runs and 17 RBIs while coming off bench. During the month of June, Hairston was 15-for-52 [.288] with three homers and seven RBIs.

Hairston has spent most of season at third base because Ryan Zimmerman spent over two months on the DL because of abdominal problems.

It’s not known who will replace Hairston on the 25-man roster. Outfielder Rick Ankiel is a candidate to replace him on the roster. He is currently doing rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse.

Tuesday’s lineups for Nats, Angels

Nationals
Bernadina–CF
Werth–RF
Zimmerman–3B
Nix–LF
Morse–1B
Espinosa–2B
Ramos–C
Stairs–DH
Desmond–SS

Marquis–P

Angels
Aybar–SS
Hunter-RF
Abreu–DH
Wells–LF
Kendrick–2B
Callaspo–3B
Trumbo–1B
Conger–1B
Bourjos–CF

Pineiro–P

Dunn: Pitching helps Nationals improve

White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn said Sunday that the Nationals are a much improved team because of their pitching staff.

Entering Monday’s action, the Nationals have the fifth best ERA in the National League. They also are 40-38 and just 3 1/2 games behind the Braves in the Wild Card lead.

“I don’t think everybody knew they would be good this quickly,” Dunn said. “Everybody is [playing well].The pitching is that much better. With Jordan Zimmermann being a 100 percent healthy, it’s huge for the team.”

Dunn also said the Nationals made an excellent choice by hiring Davey Johnson as their new manager. Johnson will manage his first game with the team Monday night against the Angels. Dunn played for Johnson during the World Baseball Classic in 2009.

“If there is any manager who could make a difference on a club, it would be Davey,” Dunn said. “I had a chance to be with him at the WBC and he is awesome, awesome, awesome. He was really positive and had a lot of fun. Plus, he immediately had every one’s respect when he stepped in the dugout.”

Johnson is more than just a manager to Cora

Infielder Alex Cora is the only player on the Nationals’ current roster to play for new manager Dave Johnson.

As a member of the Dodgers, Cora played for Johnson in 1999 and 2000. Cora remembered Johnson as a great communicator with the players.

“He is a winner. He has always been around winning teams. It going to be good to have him here,” Cora said. “The organization have a plan in place and he is not going to deviate from that. He will ask the team to respect the game and play hard. And if we keep doing that, then we’ll are going to be fine.”

Cora’s best memory of Johnson has nothing to do with what he did on the field. He remembered Johnson as a caring person. Cora has heart procedures in November of 1999 and January of 2000.

When Spring Training started in ’00, Johnson was honest with Cora, telling him he wasn’t going to make the team out of Spring Training. Johnson wanted Cora to take it slow and get his body in shape.

“He sent me down for a month and once the Dodgers called me up, Davey gave me a shot to play,” Cora said. “I learned a lot from him and the veteran guys that we had.

“Davey trusts his veterans. He will trust that we will take care of these kids [on the Nationals]. I think it’s going to be a good situation.”

Nats’ Wang to have rehab stint

Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will have a rehab stint with Class A Hagerstown on Monday. It will be his first professional game of any kind for the Nationals. It’s not known how many innings Wang will throw for Hagerstown.

Since he joined the club in 2009, Wang has yet to play a professional game for Washington because of right shoulder problems. While rehabbing the shoulder, however, Wang has been able to participate in Minor League intrasquad games.

In other news, with John McLaren as the interim manager, Trent Jewett will be the bench coach for Friday’s game against the White Sox.

McLaren named Nats’ interim manager

The Nationals made it official. They named John McLaren will as the club’s interim manager. McLaren will hold on to the position until Sunday.

McLaren’s appointment begins effective Friday when Washington begins a three-game road series against the Chicago White Sox.

McLaren has served as Nationals’ bench coach for the last two seasons, after being named to the post on Nov. 20, 2009.

This is McLaren’s second managerial stint. Upon the resignation of Mike Hargrove, he skippered the Seattle Mariners for parts of two seasons from July 2, 2007 to June 19, 2008. McLaren was named the Mariners manager midway through the 2007 season and posted a 43-41 mark down the stretch en route to a second-place finish in the AL West. The Mariners went 68-88 (.436) during his tenure in Seattle.

McLaren becomes the fourth manager of the Nationals, replacing Jim Riggleman who resigned from his post following Thursday’s 1-0 win over Seattle.

Rizzo must decide on manager

General manager Mike Rizzo is expected to name a new skipper for the rest of the season no later than Monday.

It’s only speculation, but one has to assume that third-base coach Bo Porter and bench coach John McLaren are candidates.

Porter interviewed for the job after the 2009 season, but Jim Riggleman ended up being named the permanent manager. Porter is considered one of the reasons Washington has improved its defense this season.

McLaren, who is currently the interim skipper, managed the Mariners in 2007 and ’08. The team was 66-88 under his leadership. As a member of the Nationals, McLaren would take over the managerial duties once Riggleman was ejected from a game.

The Nationals could also turn to Randy Knorr, who has moved up the ladder in the Nationals’ Minor League system. He managed Class A Potomac and guided them to the 2008 Carolina League Mills Cup.

Last year, Knorr guided Double-A Harrisburg to the Wild Card Western Division Championship. Knorr is currently managing Triple-A Syracuse.

Knorr, a Minor League manager dating back to 2005, also has the distinction of managing Ryan Zimmerman, Drew Storen and Stephen Strasburg before they reached the big leagues.

Rizzo could turn to Bobby Valentine, who was a finalist before Riggleman was named permanent manager.

Valentine has .510 winning percentage (1,117-1,072) in 15 seasons while managing the Mets and Rangers. His best year was in 2000, when he guided the Mets to the World Series. Valentine also managed in Japan, guiding Chiba Lotte to the 2005 Japan Series title.

Thursday’s lineups for Nats, Mariners

Mariners
Ichiro – RF
Ackley – 2B
Kennedy – 3B
Smoak – 1B
Olivo – C
Carp – LF
Gutierrez – CF
Wilson – SS
Pineda – P

Nationals
Bernadina – CF
Werth – RF
Zimmerman – 3B
Morse – 1B
Espinosa – 2B
Rodriguez – C
Hairston – LF
Marquis – P
Desmond – SS

Wednesday’s lineup for Nats, Mariners

Mariners
Ichiro–RF
Ryan–SS
Smoak–1B
Olivo–C
Gutierrez–CF
Halman–LF
Figgins–3B
Wilson–2B
Bedard–P

Nationals
Werth–RF
Desmond–SS
Zimmerman–3B
Morse–1B
Espinosa–2B
Ramos–C
Hairston–LF
Lannan–P
Bernadina–CF

Nix has Achilles problem; Kimball has setback

Nationals left fielder Laynce Nix left Tuesday’s game against the Mariners because of a sore right Achilles, while reliever Cole Kimball suffered a setback with his right shoulder.

Nix went 0-for-3 before leaving the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Nix said the Achilles has been bothering him the last couple of months. However, he has managed to become one of the team’s best bench players, hitting .280 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs.

Nix said his Achilles started to get worse as Tuesday’s game progressed. He is listed as day-to-day and will not play against Seattle on Wednesday.

“I don’t want to push it at this point,” Nix said. “It’s nothing terrible. It’s just something that — for whatever reason — gets tight at certain times and uncomfortable. I’m not too concerned about it.”

As for Kimball, he was throwing the baseball on flat ground Tuesday when his shoulder started to hurt. He will be shut down for the next two weeks before the team makes a decision about him throwing again.

“They told me two weeks of no throwing,” Kimball said. “So we will talk about throwing when we get back [from the road trip]. It’s really inflamed.”

Kimball has been on the disabled list since June 10 because of right shoulder inflammation.

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