Results tagged ‘ Jose Lobaton ’

Nats’ Ramos, Lobaton trying to improve catching throws from right field

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Before Saturday’s game against the Brewers, Nationals manager Matt Williams had catchers Wilson Ramos and Jose Labaton work on catching throws from right field.

The practice came a day after Lobaton, normally a quality catcher, had a tough time catching a good throw from Bryce Harper in the seventh inning against the Brewers. It allowed two runs to score and Harper was charged with an error on the play.

“We want to make sure, given the homestand and us playing extended games [at Nationals Park], we want to make sure we have a good feel [for the throws]. That’s all it was today,” Williams said.

Ramos, especially, has had problems catching throws with a short hop from Harper. Ramos tries to tag the runner and catch the ball at the same time, which leads to the ball going past Ramos and allowing the runner to score.

There was pitching machine in right field, shooting missiles to Ramos and Lobaton. While they were making the plays, there is nothing like making the plays during the game.

“It helps us get more comfortable at the plate and practice the position of receiving the ball,” Ramos said. “Receiving balls from the outfield, we have short bounces, so it’s not easy catch that ball. You are thinking about the runner and the ball and you want to catch the ball and tag the runner quickly.

“Sometimes, we miss the ball because we try to be too quick. It’s part of the game. I know we have to catch the ball first and then tag the runner. We were practicing today — just catch the ball and [tag] the runner.

Lobaton injured, stays in game

By Bill Ladson

LOS ANGELES — In the first inning of Monday’s 8-3 victory over the Dodgers, Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton injured his hand because of a back swing from Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Nationals manager Matt Williams and Athletic trainers Lee Kuntz came to Lobaton’s aid, but Lobaton stayed in the game. Lobaton ended up going 0-for-3.

“[Rollins] clipped Lobby’s finger nail and pulled some of it off,” Williams said. “It was unintentional, a freak random thing. … That’s a painful thing.”

Nats’ Lobaton could get more playing time

By Bill Ladson

NEW YORK — Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton started Sunday’s game against the Mets. It marked the fourth time in the last eight games that Lobaton was inserted into the starting lineup.

Manager Matt Williams said recently said that he hasn’t ruled out Lobaton getting more playing time behind the plate. He is already Gio Gonzalez’s personal catcher. Wilson Ramos, the team’s starting catcher, is not having a good year defensively and in a 5-for-55 [.091] slump to drop his batting average to .234.

“It depends on where we are at, Williams said about the catching situation. “It depends on matchups, where we are at. The deeper lineup allows us to have more flexibility in that regard, too.”

Fastball command a familiar foe for Strasburg

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg faced a full count against Giants leadoff man Gregor Blanco in Sunday’s first inning. Catcher Jose Lobaton called for a fastball and set up low and inside on the left-handed hitter. Strasburg fired one in at 95 mph.

But the ball tailed right over the heart of the plate, and even at that velocity, Major League hitters will make a pitcher pay. Blanco did, ripping a shot over the right field wall for only his second home run of the season.

Although Strasburg’s offense picked him up with a late-inning barrage to win 14-6, it was a rough day for the right-hander and one that followed a familiar pattern. He missed spots with his fastball, and opposing batters punished him for it, leading to some early struggles.

“He’s got wonderful talent and the ability to throw the ball in the mid- to high-90s. And that’s great,” manager Matt Williams said. “Everybody’s got to be able to throw where they want to, and if you don’t, if you leave the ball in the middle of the plate, you have a chance to get it hit. That was the case today. The last two outings, that wasn’t the case. He threw really well and threw it exactly where he wanted to.”

In Strasburg’s previous two starts, he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits over 15 innings. On Sunday, the Giants got him for five runs on eight hits in only four innings, tied for his shortest outing of the year.

Blanco led off the first with a homer. Travis Ishikawa led off the second with a blast into the seats in left-center off a center-cut 94 mph heater, also his second long ball of the year. Including those, Strasburg has served up a career-high 21 homers this season, with 13 coming in the first two innings and 16 coming on fastballs.

Strasburg called the pitches to Blanco and Ishikawa “dumb,” saying that while he wants to challenge hitters, he has to hit his spots more effectively. When he hasn’t this year, it’s often been the result of trying to bust that fastball inside, only to have it tail into the danger zone.

“That’s kind of where it misses sometimes,” said Strasburg, who did give up a pair of RBI hits on curveballs in the third inning. “It’s something I’ve been battling all year. Sometimes my command inside is really good, and sometimes it comes back over the plate. But the biggest thing is you’ve got to go out there and keep pitching, and it’s all going to figure itself out.”

Strasburg still has put up some impressive numbers on the season, with more than 10 strikeouts and only about two walks per nine innings. His Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 3.14 looks a lot better than his 3.59 ERA, and he’s posted 16 starts allowing two earned runs or fewer.

But to find more consistent success, Strasburg will have to harness the fastball that batters have hit close to .300 against this season. The key to that, according to Lobaton, is the between-starts work in the bullpen.

“You work there, and that’s it,” he said. “It’s the same as a hitter — you have a hole somewhere, you try to find it in the cage or in BP. I think today he just had a bad day, and he can do better. I know he can do better.”

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Williams, Lobaton saddened by Zimmer’s passing

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON – Nationals manager Matt Williams and catcher Jose Lobaton were saddened by the death of Rays senior advisor Don Zimmer, who passed away Wednesday. Zimmer was in the game for 65 years, with roles that included being a player, coach and manager.

Zimmer is best remembered for being the bench coach of those Yankees teams that won four World Series titles in five years from 1996 to 2000.

Zimmer was a coach with the Giants when Williams made his Major League debut with them in 1987. The last time Williams saw Zimmer was last year.

“It’s a sad day for everybody that knows Don and his family,” Williams said. “He taught me a lot about baseball, and he’s taught a lot of people about baseball. Fantastic ambassador, great coach, manager, and we all mourn the loss of him. … Great memories, provided many, many baseball players and fans and organizations with great memories.”

Lobaton met Zimmer a year after the Rays selected him off waivers from the Padres in 2009. During Spring Training, Zimmer gave Lobaton words of encouragement, telling him he would be in the big leagues one day. Lobaton reached the Majors by 2011.

“I’m really sad because I [know] him — great person,” Lobaton said. “We talked a lot. He was one of the guys who would tell me all the time to be patient in baseball. [He would say,] ‘You know what’s going to happen. You are going down. Keep working.’ He would talk to me all the time. … I know all the baseball players know him and everybody is going to be praying for him.”

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