Results tagged ‘ Ian Desmond ’

Teammates impressed with Strasburg

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched five shutout innings in a 7-3 loss to the Dodgers at Nationals Park on Tuesday night. His outing came a year and three days after he had Tommy John surgery.

His teammates came away impressed with what they saw. Wilson Ramos caught Strasburg for the first time and Ramos said they were on the same page throughout the game.

“He was unbelievable — his pitches. Everything was working down in the zone,” Ramos said. “We were on the same page. He shook me off only two or three times. I tried to be on the same page with him and we were.”

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman noticed that Strasburg wasn’t throwing his curveball as much he did in the past.

“When you have a fastball like him, you can throw just fastballs,” Zimmerman said. “He is a talent. That surgery — it’s not like it’s career threatening anymore. If you put the time in and work hard like him, you have a real good chance to come back.”

The way Strasburg was pitching, shortstop Ian Desmond said he never would have known that Strasburg had Tommy John surgery.

“It looked like he didn’t skip a beat,” Desmond said. “Last year, when he got hurt, he did an interview and he said he was going to come back stronger and smarter. … He looked like he did.

“To be able to comeback with the adrenalin, with the media, with everything else and be able to hone in on the strike zone and do your job with reliability — unbelievable.”

Desmond makes up for Saturday’s error against Phillies

Shortstop Ian Desmond made an error that hurt the Nationals in a 5-0 loss to the Phillies on Saturday.

However, Sunday was a different story as his game-tying home run helped Washington in a 5-4 victory over Philadelphia.

With the Phillies leading, 4-3, in the ninth inning, Desmond came to the plate with two outs. On a 1-2 pitch from reliever Antonio Bastardo, Desmond hit the ball over the left-field wall for his fifth home run of the season. There was Desmond showing his emotions as he rounded first base and again as he reached the dugout.

“He made adjustments,” Bastardo said. “The pitch was supposed to be for a strike. It was a little bit up in the zone, in the middle. It was supposed to be in the inside corner.”

While running the bases, Desmond was the thinking about the error he made in Saturday’s contest. In the fourth inning, the Nationals had John Mayberry Jr. picked off, but Desmond couldn’t catch an easy throw from first baseman Michael Morse, which allowed Mayberry to reach second base. Mayberry would later score on a triple by Wilson Valdez.

“Last night was a hard-night sleep for me,” Desmond said. “I told myself to come out [on Sunday] and put that behind me. I touched first base put my hand up and I was like, ‘Yes.’ That’s how you come back. That’s why you don’t give up. That’s why you have to keep on trying.”

In the last couple of days, manager Davey Johnson has had one-on-one talks with Desmond. The skipper wanted to know what Desmond was thinking at the plate. Entering Sunday’s action against Philadelphia, Desmond was hitting .228.

“I talked to him one-on-one the last couple of days. I was trying to clear his mind a little bit,” Johnson said. “You know he tries to do so much. I was just trying to simplify it. He is a very aggressive player and sometimes he is just overly aggressive. You don’t want to take him away from that.

“But he’ll chase balls out of the strike zone and try to make something happen. That’s what young guys usually do. He has learned about himself. … He was overly aggressive his first year [on defense] and he settled down. He needs to take that same thing to the plate and he knows it.”

Bernadina, Desmond dealing with injuries

Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina and shortstop Ian Desmond are dealing with leg issues and most likely will not play against the Padres on Sunday.

Bernadina was scheduled to hit ninth in manager Jim Riggleman’s revamped lineup Saturday, but was a late scratch of because of left hamstring tightness.

Bernadina has had problems with the hamstring for several days, but managed not to miss a game until Saturday.

Bernadina said his leg didn’t feel right once he started shagging fly balls before Saturday’s game. He then went into the trainer’s room to get some treatment.

As for Desmond, he has been dealing with issues with his left quadriceps for several weeks. On Saturday, it was pretty clear that something was wrong. He was struggling to run from first to home on a Danny Espinosa double in the first inning.

After the game, Riggleman said that he planned to give Desmond the day off Sunday and put him back in the lineup Tuesday against the Cardinals.

Desmond’s defense nearly flawless, offense must improve

In 2010, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond led the Major Leagues in errors with 34. During the first month of this season, it looked like Desmond would continue to be a defensive liability, for he had seven errors by April 25th.

However, since that date, Desmond has committed one error and that came on May 5 against the Phillies.

Desmond said recently that he changed his routine on defense starting with this past offseason. Instead of working out with teen-agers at Sarasota [Fla.] High School, his alma mater, Desmond decided to work out at the IMG academy, where he took groundballs on a regular basis.

“In the past, I took my groundballs in my high school,” Desmond said. “As much as those kids appreciate me going there and working with them, it was more important for me to go and get my work in and take care of business. [At the academy], it was strictly me. I could work on my throwing, I didn’t have to go by [High School's] practice plan, things like that.

“Defense is my main priority. … I want to be a better defender. It’s paying it’s dividends now. It also helps that the team is better [on defense], also. We are all playing better as a cohesive unit. A lot of communication is going out there and everyone is in the right position.”

Now, Desmond must try to fix his offense. Entering Monday’s action against the Phillies, Desmond is hitting .223 with three home runs and 16 RBIs. He is one of the reasons the Nationals are one of the worst offensive teams in the Major Leagues. After Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Padres, Desmond acknowledged that he and the other position players on the Nationals need to step up and help the pitchers win games.

“We have to start scoring runs for our pitching staff,” Desmond said. “They have been pitching great and we can’t score runs for them. We have to find a different answer.”

Nats, Cardinals in near brawl

The Nationals and Cardinals found themselves in scuffle in the top of the seventh inning Monday afternoon.

In that inning, with one out and the Nationals leading, 4-2, Cardinals right-hander and former National Miguel Batista hit shortstop Ian Desmond with a pitch. As he was walking toward first base, Desmond was arguing with Albert Pujols. Suddenly, both benches emptied, but no punches were thrown.

The two teams scuffled for about 15 minutes with Nationals manager Jim Riggleman and  Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa having a few words.

It mark third time a hitter was hit by a pitch during the game. Laynce Nix was hit by a Chris Carpenter pitch in the top of the fifth inning, while Colby Rasmus was plunked in the bottom of the inning by Nationals right-hander Livan Hernandez.
                   

Nationals make two sparkling defensive plays

The Nationals are one of the worst defensive teams in baseball this season, but they made two sparkling gems during Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Marlins.

In the fifth inning, with runners on first and third, two outs and Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis on the mound, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison hit a shot up the middle that looked like a base hit. But second baseman Danny Espinosa made a great diving play and threw out Morrison for the final out of the inning.

“That was great play,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “The range to get it and then the arm to finish it off was tremendous. I don’t know what more you could do there.”

A natural shortstop, Espinosa sounded like a person who doesn’t need to make adjustments at second base. Espinosa didn’t start playing the position until after the All-Star break.

“I’m trying to feel more comfortable everyday over there to make my routine plays. It makes me feel better,” Espinosa said. 

In the sixth inning, the Nationals were able to turn a great double play. With no outs and a runner on first, Dan Uggla hit what looked like a routine groundball to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who booted the ball, but manage to throw out Uggla at first base. 

At the same time, Hanley Ramirez didn’t stop at second and decided to go to third. Luckily for the Nationals, shortstop Ian Desmond was covering third as first baseman Adam Dunn threw out Ramirez for the double play.

“I saw that he didn’t stop at second,” Desmond said about Ramirez. “I just knew to run to third. That’s the way they teach you to do it. I ran to third, hoping that Dunn was going to throw it and he did.”

Twitter Poll: Is Desmond ROY candidate?

On Monday, I asked my Twitter followers the following question: Should Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond be considered a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2010? Yes or No. Why?

Seventeen followers said no because Desmond has made 31 errors this season, while 13 others believe he should considered a Rookie of the Year candidate. Here is what the followers had to say.

@CDublin: No, only because the National League is so stacked with rookies this year. Plus, Desmond has way too many errors.

@Sultan_of_Stat: Yes to being considered, he’s had a great rookie season. His defensive growing pains will keep him from winning though.

@bart__davis: He will get well deserved votes, but too many errors. Great young player.

@seanhoganVT: No. Desmond is having a decent year, but he’s nowhere near the level of Buster Posey or Jason Heyward.

@UnkleWheez: Yes. His batting average is sixth best among NL shortstops  and he plays good defense. The errors hurt but they are “good” errors.

@thebrowncoat: No. Defense, Defense, Defense hasn’t been good enough.

@junebugskippin: He should be considered but will ultimately lose to Cubs SS Starlin Castro

@BYSchwartz: Danny Espinosa should be a candidate :D

@SodaPop6548: Heck yes! Ian Desmond has been great at the plate and his D has been getting a lot better. Desi is going to be an All Star!

@kalamazooapples: Desmond a candidate? Maybe, but I wouldn’t vote for him over Starlin Castro of the Cubs. And, I truly don’t like the Cubs.

@tbridge: With 31 E’s, so far, I’d say no. Plus batting numbers. 

@Evolution33: No. Any other year and yes, but this has been beyond an excellent year for rookies.

@R1cketyCr1cket: A candidate? Sure, assuming you need one from every team like the All Star game. Should he win? Of course not.

@jcj5y: If he finishes strong, I’d vote him fourth or fifth. Posey should win.

@gregyoung3: Simply for the reason that he’s leading the league in errors and there are much better candidates out there.

@bobbyoler: No. Thirty-one errors, don’t care how much potential you have, that’s egregious. Danny Espinosa may be in the running next year though.  

@LPags03: How many errors does he have? Definitely  not rookie candidate to me. I think he’ll have a solid career, but first season has been rocky.

@misschatter: I agree with @LPags03 — too many errors. 

@mikekruger: Considered? Sure. Win? No way. Too many errors.

@rickyh17: Yes. His errors are hard to ignore but his many good defensive plays and offensive impact, especially of late, is also hard to ignore. 

@HendoDC: No. He’ll be a good defender some year, but this year isn’t the case. Heyward would be my first choice with Posey second. 

@AlanClaffie: Desmond needs way better defense to earn any semi-serious accolades, so no ROTY vote from me.

@Jeffrey_Bergin: Absolutely. His production with RISP and the fact he has played a demanding position all season. He won’t win, but top 5.

@md_schmidt: Yes. Mainly based on results at plate and on base paths. Fielding struggles will keep him from winning ROY, however.

@BuryMeInEngland: Insane idea. He has 31 errors so maybe he can get “most individual errors in a year” award.

@jtshiffman: No. If it was only based on hitting than yes, but he has made too many fielding errors.

@CapitolBaseball: No for Desmond. Despite great second half, just look at the errors. Total disqualifier.

@ind_sports_cubs: Not at all. Have you heard of Starlin Castro?

@szul: Yes. His offensive numbers match up well with any contender. His defense will obviously hurt his contention though.  

@MikeHill: YES! He’s an Iron Man.

Desmond stays aggressive, not worried about errors

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond may be a rookie, but one thing is certain: He doesn’t let mistakes bother him. He proved it during a 6-5 victory over the Padres on Tuesday night at Nationals Park.

Take the eighth inning: With the bases loaded and one out, left-hander Sean Burnett induced Oscar Salazar to hit what looked like a perfect double-play ball to second baseman Cristian Guzman, who threw the ball to Desmond for the force. But Desmond threw the ball past first baseman Adam Dunn, allowing Chase Headley to score the fifth run of the game. It was Desmond’s 21st error of the season.

“That’s just me. I hate to say it, but I’m aggressive,” Desmond said. “It’s really hard for me to say, ‘No, don’t make the play.’ That’s something I have to learn up here. I have to make better decisions, I guess. I handled the feed perfectly fine. The throw was wrong.”

But Desmond made up for it in the top of the ninth inning. With a runner on first and closer Matt Capps on the mound, Scott Hairston doubled to left field. Outfielder Josh Willingham threw the ball to Desmond, who then threw a perfect strike to catcher Ivan Rodriguez to nail Jerry Hairston at the plate. 

Ask what he will be thinking about the rest of the night – the error or the great throw he made to the plate – Desmond said he will remember the home run he hit in the fifth inning to give the Nationals a 5-2 lead.

“I really don’t worry about the error. It was an aggressive play,” Desmond said.

Guzman making a case to be starting shortstop

Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman played the first of two consecutive games Friday afternoon and was able to throw the baseball without any problems in a 7-4 victory over the Cardinals.

Guzman, who is recovering right shoulder surgery, had three assists and made two putouts in the game. Manager Jim Riggleman was encouraged by what he saw from Guzman. For most of the exhibition season, the team was concerned that Guzman’s shoulder wasn’t strong enough to make tough throws. Now, it appears Riggleman isn’t worried about Guzman’s shoulder.

“He is playing fine. His style of throwing is not to get up there and gun it. It’s not what he does,” Riggleman said. “The ball is getting across the infield nicely. He has a good velocity on his throws. Guzzie is doing fine.”

Entering Saturday’s action, the battle for the starting job at shortstop is between Guzman and Ian Desmond. So far, Desmond has the lead, hitting .300 and leading the team with 12 RBIs. If he is not the starting shortstop, Desmond will go to Triple-A Syracuse and play every day at the same position.

Guzman has played only 10 games this spring because of shoulder issues and he had to deal with family matters in Washington. He is 7-for-30 [.233] with a home run and four RBIs.
 
Riggleman said that he has to make a decision between Desmond and Guzman soon. If Guzman is not the everyday shortstop, the plan is to make him a utility player. Riggleman acknowledged that Guzman would have to take a “crash course” on how to play second base, a position Guzman has never played in his life. Guzman has played third base once and that was during the All-Star Game in 2008 at Yankee Stadium   

“If one of those two guys were on the ballclub and not be the shortstop, we need to get him some work some other places,” Riggleman said. “We need to make a call on it pretty soon.” 

Desmond could be utility man; Lineup all but set

Manager Jim Riggleman reiterated Wednesday that the Nationals are thinking about making Ian Desmond an all-purpose utility man — playing all three outfield positions, shortstop and second base.

Riggleman, however, wants to make sure that shortstop Cristian Guzman is healthy before putting Desmond in a utility role. Guzman is coming off right shoulder surgery and foot problems. 

“If Cristian Guzman is physically moving around good and his arm feels good, we plan on him being at shortstop,” Riggleman said. “Then it just becomes a matter of getting Ian Desmond enough action to warrant keeping him in the big leagues.

“He’s a comforting guy to have on the ballclub because he can play multiple positions; but the multiple positions are going to be tested. “We’ve got to get him time; he hasn’t played in the outfield a lot.”

The Nationals are playing split-squad games against the Astros and Marlins on March 4. Desmond will start at shortstop and then move to the outfield in one of those games. 

* Riggleman indicated that the starting lineup is all but set. If the season were to start Wednesday, Guzman would bat second. While Riggleman never named the entire the Opening Day lineup, the Nationals would look like this barring injuries:

Nyjer Morgan — CF
Guzman — SS
Ryan Zimmerman — 3B
Adam Dunn — 1B
Josh Willingham — LF
Elijah Dukes — RF
Adam Kennedy — 2B
Ivan Rodriguez — C

“The downside of naming names and saying that is, aren’t we just full of ourselves after losing 103 games? It’s kind of, pretty much, 30 teams in baseball know,” Riggleman said. “There’s not many — there’s a spot here and there. I can pretty much tell you who the Yankees and [Phillies] and [Red Sox] will have in their Opening Day lineup.”
      
* Infielder Pete Orr did not go to the Instructional League to learn how to become an emergency catcher last fall. The team felt that Orr would be better off learning how to be an emergency catcher during Spring Training.

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