Results tagged ‘ Jesus Flores ’

Game 130: Cardinals at Nationals

Mike Fiammetta here, helping out Bill Ladson on the blog as the Nationals return home from their eventful — to say the least — road trip for an 11-game homestand. As always, following along at

After snapping their five-game losing streak last night in Miami, the Nationals begin a four-game set with the Cardinals tonight. Edwin Jackson faces the team he won a World Series ring with last year, which will send left-hander Jaime Garcia to face the Nats. Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the Nats on Friday, followed by Jordan Zimmermann — carrying his 2.63 ERA into a matchup against Kyle Lohse’s 2.64 — on Saturday and Stephen Strasburg on Sunday.

Sticking to tonight, though, the Nats will trot out their normal lineup — with one exception. Jesus Flores will catch Jackson while Kurt Suzuki gets a day off. Flores last played in the series finale with the Phillies on Aug. 26, a 4-1 loss.

The timing is somewhat odd, considering Suzuki is as hot at the plate as he’s been since coming to the Nats. Suzuki has a three-game hitting streak in which he’s 4-for-10 with a home run, which Johnson credited to the work the veteran catcher has been putting in with hitting coach Rick Eckstein.

“Eck’s been working with him good, he’s in a good place right now,” Johnson said. “I like the way he’s been swinging the last three days. He’s in a good spot.”

-Speaking of Strasburg (as always), manager Davey Johnson said the Nats’ young ace will make two or three more starts before he is shut down for the season. After his horrid outing Tuesday night against the Marlins — seven runs allowed (five earned) on nine hits in five innings — Strasburg has thrown 150 1/3 innings. Of course, Johnson’s comments fall pretty much in line with the 160-180 innings number that’s been thrown around all season.

-Bill will have more on Strasburg, Bryce Harper’s temper and Drew Storen’s hot streak in the notebook. In the meantime, here are tonight’s lineups:

Cardinals (71-59, 2nd NL Central)

  1. Jon Jay CF
  2. Carlos Beltran RF
  3. Matt Holliday LF
  4. Allen Craig 1B
  5. Yadier Molina C
  6. David Freese 3B
  7. Skip Schumaker 2B
  8. Rafael Furcal SS
  9. Jaime Garcia LHP

Nationals (78-51, 1st NL East)

  1. Jayson Werth RF
  2. Bryce Harper CF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
  4. Michael Morse LF
  5. Adam LaRoche 1B
  6. Ian Desmond SS
  7. Danny Espinosa 2B
  8. Jesus Flores C
  9. Edwin Jackson RHP

Nats reassign Norris to Harrisburg

The Nationals reassigned catcher Derek Norris to Double A Harrisburg on Thursday afternoon. Norris was 3-for-15 [.200] with four walks and an RBI.

Norris was a long shot to make the Major League team out of Spring Training. Wilson Ramos and Ivan Rodriguez are currently battling to be the Opening Day starter behind the plate. If Ramos wins the job, for example, Rodriguez will be the backup unless general manager Mike Rizzo decides to trade Rodriguez.
If Rodriguez is traded, it most likely means Jesus Flores will be the backup catcher.                

Nats tender contracts to five, agree to terms with two others

Entering Thursday, the Nationals had 10 players who were eligible for salary arbitration. Five of them — pitchers Sean Burnett, John Lannan and Doug Slaten and outfielders Michael Morse, and Josh Willingham — were tendered contracts, while catcher Jesus Flores and infielder Alberto Gonzalez agreed to terms on new deals. However, catcher Wil Nieves and right-handers Joel Peralta and Chien-Ming Wang became free agents.

Letting Nieves and Wang walk was not a surprise, for the Nationals are loaded with catchers, which made Nieves expendable, and Wang pitched in 24 games in the past three seasons.

However, letting Peralta get away was a surprise. Peralta had the best season of his career, posting a 2.02 ERA in 39 games. He allowed one run in his final 15 innings. General manager Mike Rizzo wasn’t available for comment.

Terms were not disclosed on Gonzalez and Flores. Gonzalez  is a valuable player off the bench, but his attitude must change when it comes to playing time. He was often upset when taken out of games.

Flores enters the 2011 season as the No. 3 catcher. It didn’t help that he missed most of the past two years because of a right shoulder injury. The Nationals haven’t ruled out Flores starting next season in the Minor Leagues.

Burnett, Lannan, Morse, Slaten and Willingham will have a hearing sometime in February unless they agree to terms with the club.

Of the five players, Willingham appears to the one person who could be traded before the 2011 season gets underway. Willingham is a free agent after the ’11 season and it is believed the Nationals want young players in return for the right-handed hitting slugger.

Flores done for 2010, will play in Instructional League

Nationals catcher Jesus Flores told on Friday night that he will not play a Major League Game in 2010, but will play in the Instructional League this fall.

The news means that Flores has missed almost two full Major League seasons because of right shoulder problems.

“It’s not a secret that I had shoulder surgery, which is hard to recover from,” Flores said via telephone. “But I’m still ahead of schedule. This type of surgery takes 12 to 16 months, so it’s only a year after surgery.”

Flores hurt the shoulder on May 9, 2009, when he was hit by a foul tip off the bat of D-backs outfielder Chris Young in Phoenix.

Flores was in pain for several minutes, but remained in the game before being taken out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Flores was activated from the disabled list Sept. 4 and made two pinch-hitting appearances.

However, he was sent to Alabama after complaining of shoulder soreness and ended up having right labrum surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews.

The good news is that Flores is taking hitting practice and throwing to the bases without any problems.

“I’m feeling good,” Flores said.”The reason I didn’t play in the big leagues [in September] is because I didn’t … have time to get into [game] shape. I’m throwing to the bases and I’m feeling great. The shoulder is really doing well.”

Flores is not sure if he will play Winter Ball, but he plans to be an All-Star catcher for the Nationals in 2011.

“I feel stronger and my goal right now is to  get in shape, feel 100 percent and get ready for next season,” he said.

Storen overlooked; Lannan pitching Saturday

Right-hander Drew Storen is considered one of the top prospects in the Nationals organization, but he has been overshadowed by his teammate, right-hander Stephen Strasburg, this spring.  

That’s OK, said Storen, because Strasburg deserves the publicity after what he has accomplished in the last year. Strasburg went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA in 15 starts at San Diego State University en route to being named the 2009 Golden Spikes Award winner. He struck out 195 and issued just 19 walks in 109 innings.

“I love it. I think it’s awesome. He 100 percent deserves the publicity,” said Storen, who was also a first round pick. “I’m just taking a back seat to it all. The Nationals haven’t received all this attention in the last couple of years. I think Stephen is going to be a big help. I don’t deserve the same attention. I’m not as good as he is.”

But good enough. Storen had a great first season in professional baseball, saving a combined 11 games with a 1.95 ERA for Class A Hagerstown and Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.  It earned Storen a Spring Training invitation, but it’s more than likely that Storen will start the season in the Minor Leagues. Storen understands the team doesn’t want to rush him to the big leagues.

“I’m looking at the big picture,” Storen said. “I want to be a guy that helps this team win. I don’t want to be there for a cup of coffee. In the end, I want to have a career in the big leagues.”

*Storen has been going through the windup during live batting practice sessions in order to give the hitters a different look. This unusual because relievers go through the stretch when they are pitching in the late innings. Storen started doing the windup by watching Diamondbacks pitcher Dan Haren.

“I watched how Haren has that pause,” Storen said “Obviously, timing is big for hitters and [look to] can change their timing up and always keep them uncomfortable. If I can do that with my stuff and my motion, that is going to help me out.”              

* Catcher Jesus Flores will throw from 90 feet the next couple days. If all goes well, Flores hopes to start taking batting practice later in the week.

* Left-hander John Lannan will pitch against the Mets on Saturday at Space Coast Stadium, while right-hander Jason Marquis will throw against the same team the next day at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

* Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, the television home of the Nationals, will televise Strasburg’s first spring training appearance on March 9th at 1 p.m.ET on MASN and MASN HD from Space Coast Stadium.

Strasburg is expected to pitch two innings for the Washington, but MASN will televise the entire game.

Six Nats players tendered contracts

The Nationals have tendered contracts to outfielder Josh Willingham, catchers Jesus Flores and Wil Nieves and pitchers Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney and Sean Burnett on Saturday night.

The Nationals  had an 11:59 p.m. ET deadline Saturday to make a decision on all six players, who are arbitration eligible. 

Earlier in the day, Washington decided it would not be tendering 2010 contracts to pitchers Mike MacDougal and Scott Olsen.

Of all the players coming back, the biggest surprise is Nieves. It was believed that he would be non-tendered after the Nationals signed catcher Ivan Rodriguez to a two-year $6 million, but they decided to keep Nieves because they feel he has been a valuable player — offensively and defensively — off the bench the last two years and can be insurance in case Jesus Flores is not ready for Spring Training.

Flores had surgery on his right shoulder and right elbow, and the team announced as recently as Friday that Flores would be ready for Spring Training.

“I can only go by what the medical people tell me. They say Jesus should be 100 percent ready to participate in Spring Training,” Rizzo said on Friday. “We take them at their word, but we all know that shoulders are very difficult to predict.”

As for Willingham, he is coming off a productive season in 2009. He started the year on the bench, but became a regular in June and hit .260 with 24 home runs and 61 RBIs. Willingham has been mentioned in trade rumors recently. Teams such as the Mets and Braves have interest in acquiring his services.

Bergmann showed improvement after the All-Star break, going 2-3 with a 3.38 ERA as a reliever. Rizzo and manager Jim Riggleman often talked about wanting Bergmann back for the 2010 season.

“In my heart of hearts, I’ve been in this organization a long time. I love people that I play with and play for. I would like to stick around for a long time,” Bergmann said on Wednesday.

Bruney, who was acquired from the Yankees this past week, will compete for the closer’s role durinmg Spring Training.   

Burnett was a quality reliever for the Nationals, who acquired him and center fielder Nyjer Morgan in a trade that sent outfielder Lastings Milledge and right-hander Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates in late June. In 33 games for Washington, Burnett went 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA.

Flores has surgery; Nats may need more catching

A day after it was learned that Nationals catcher Jesus Flores wouldn’t be ready to play baseball until the middle of Spring Training, interim manager Jim Riggleman said it will be a tough call on whether the team should acquire another starting catcher this winter.

Flores was in a throwing program the last couple of week. At first, the team thought Flores had tendinitis but the shoulder never got stronger. Flores ended up having right labrum surgery on Wednesday evening in Birmingham, Ala. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery. 

“That’s going to be a tough call because it’s really relying on the doctors and trainer’s information when it comes to getting a timetable as to when Flores will be back,” Riggleman said. “If it looks like it’s January and he’s ready to get it moving, we can go in hoping that he is our No. 1 guy.

“We also have to be aware that it’s a labrum situation that could affect his throwing. There is a lot to digest there for Mike Rizzo and everybody involved as to where we go with the catching. The two guys here [Josh Bard and Wil Nieves] are doing a good job, but if we are looking for a regular No. 1 guy, we are still hoping it’s Flores.”

If Flores isn’t ready, the Nationals may have to go to the free-agent market to find a starting catcher. A player such as  Rod Barajas may be a good fit because he is an excellent handler of pitchers.

Jesus Flores to have surgery on right shoulder

Jesus Flores’ season is now over. He will have shoulder surgery on Wednesday because of a tear in his right labrum. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery in Birmingham, Ala.

Flores will not be on the field until the middle of Spring Training.

Flores has missed most of the 2009 season because of a right shoulder contusion. Flores hurt the shoulder on May 9, when he was hit by a Chris Young foul tip in Phoenix. Flores was in pain for several minutes, but remained in the game before being taken out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Flores was activated from the disabled list on Sept. 4 and made two pinch-hitting appearances, the last coming on Saturday against the Marlins. However, he was sent to Alabama after the series after complaining of shoulder soreness.

General manager Mike Rizzo said the team will weigh all their options during offseason, but feel there isn’t a need to acquire a starting catcher.

“With the people that we have on staff right now and Jesus, we feel comfortable where we are at,” Rizzo said.    

Flores ended the season by hitting .301 with four home runs and 15 RBIs. 

Jesus Flores makes plate appearance

Catcher Jesus Flores entered Wednesday’s game against the Phillies as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning. Flores grounded out to third baseman Pedro Feliz for the first out of the inning.

It was Flores’ first appearance since May 9 against the Diamondbacks. Flores had missed three months because of a right shoulder contusion.

Flores hurt the shoulder on May 9, when he was hit by a Chris Young foul tip. Flores was in pain for several minutes, but remained in the game before being taken out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Flores will remain a pinch-hitter for the rest of  the season.

Jesus Flores activated from disabled list

The Nationals activated catcher Jesus Flores from the 15-day disabled on Friday and will come off a bench as a pinch-hitter.

It was believed Flores would be out for the season, but the shoulder is strong enough to pinch-hit but not strong enough to go behind the plate. Flores, however, is involved in bullpen sessions.

“He is full go to swing the bat. He is an emergency third catcher,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “He is a guy that [interim manager] Jim Riggleman could use. I’m not sure what the timetable is to get behind the plate and catch a full game in the Major Leagues.”    

Flores hurt the shoulder on May 9 against the Diamondbacks.  In the bottom of the seventh inning of that game, Flores was hit on the shoulder by a Chris Young foul tip. Flores was in pain for several minutes, but remained in the game before being taken out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Flores would miss 105 games after going on the DL on May 15, retroactive to May 10. Before injury, Flores, 24,  was batting .311 with four home runs and 15 RBI in 26 games.