Results tagged ‘ Miguel Batista ’

Miss Iowa to throw out first pitch at Nats Park

Katherine Connors, Miss Iowa 2010, will throw the ceremonial first pitch Friday before the Nationals face the Phillies at Nationals Park.

The invitation was coordinated after Nationals right-hander Miguel Batista replaced rookie Stephen Strasburg and pitched five shutout innings.

After receiving a round of boos from the fans after it was learned that Strasburg wasn’t making his scheduled start, Batista said he understood why the fans were not happy to see him pitch.

“Imagine if you go there to see Miss Universe and you end up having Miss Iowa. You might get those kind of boos,” Batista said. “But it’s OK. They have to understand that as an organization, we have to make sure that the kid is fine. You don’t want to expose him out there.”

Batista said his words were taking out of context and he told his attorney to send flowers to Connors.

“The way I said it wasn’t the way it was interpreted,” Batista said. “What I meant was the person that you listen to is Miss Iowa, and you go, ‘Oh, here you go.’ When you take a look at the woman, you go, ‘Hold on: She is from Iowa, but she is gorgeous.’

“That’s what I want people to see. I walked to the mound and people started booing. They haven’t see me throw a pitch. It’s like the same thing. You go to see Miss Universe and you get Miss Iowa. You want to turn around and you see the woman and you say, ‘Hello.’ Miss Iowa is a really pretty woman, very beautiful.”

Batista plans to meet with Connors in person before Friday’s game and will serve as the catcher for her first pitch.

“I have to find out if she can be accurate or very wild when she throws, so I have to be careful. If she thinks I’m going to be practicing the swimsuit and the high heels, not a chance,” Batista said. “She beat me already because I’m not even going to try. I think the Nationals uniform is good enough.

“They’re making a lot of news about this, hopefully by the end of the day, when she goes back to Iowa, she’ll say something good about us,” Batista said. “[Hopefully she’ll say], ‘Hey, he was a cool guy. He looks like a low-budget Vin Diesel, but he’s nice. Hopefully we’re going to show her the best of Washington, and she can have a good time.” 

Nats need starter for Sunday

With Stephen Strasburg not pitching Sunday against the Phillies, the team has to decide who will take his place.

One thing is certain, right-hander Jason Marquis will not pitch on three days’ rest like Ross Detwiler did Sunday against the Brewers. Marquis pitched Wednesday, allowing four runs in five innings for Triple-A Syracuse.

It also appears that right-hander Livan Hernandez will not pitch on short rest after throwing just 4 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on six hits against the Braves on Wednesday.  

However, left-handers John Lannan and Matt Chico are candidates to make the start. Lannan is having an up-and down- season in the Minor Leagues. In seven starts for Double-A Harrisburg, Lannan is 1-4 with a 4.20 ERA.

Chico is having a solid season in the Minor Leagues this season, going a combined 6-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 19 starts for Harrisburg and Syracuse.

The Nationals could also go back to right-hander Miguel Batista, who pitched five shutout innings in Strasburg’s place on Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Batista was not told if he would start against the Phillies.

Batista to be long man for Nats

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman all but announced Friday that right-hander Miguel Batista is his long man out of the bullpen even though the latter is not having a good Spring Training. 
With Batista expected to be placed on the 25-man roster on April 4, it means that the team’s bullpen is set with Batista, Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Matt Capps and Tyler Clippard. Riggleman also said Batista, 39, will be an emergency starter. 
Entering Friday’s action against the Cardinals, Batista has given up six runs in 9 2/3 innings, but has seven strikeouts. 

“For myself, I go on the track record of a long season,” Riggleman said. “Last year, he pitched very effectively for Seattle. He had [a 4.04 ERA] in the tough American League and handled a lot of roles. He pitched in the middle of the game, late in games and situational stuff. He is used in a lot of ways.

“He is a guy we are going to count on to do a lot of things for us when the bell rings. When he is out here pitching, we would like to see him get outs and all that. As much as anything, we want to make sure that he continues to be what he is, which is a guy with a rubber arm, who can pitch often and be a real staff savior for us.”

Batista has been a swing man since 1997 when he was with the Cubs. The manager at the time was Riggleman. While he doesn’t mind playing dual roles, Batista likes being a reliever because he can help the team on a regular basis.

“It has been kind of a curse in my career because everybody always think I have the mentality to switch back and forth, so I’ll be the first one they call,” Batista said. 

Batista signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals last January because of his professional relationship with general manager Mike Rizzo. The two won a championship together when they were with the D-backs in 2001. That year, Batista was a swing man, while Rizzo was the scouting director.   

According to Batista, Rizzo told the right-hander he was building something special in Washington, and Rizzo wanted Batista to be part of the organization.

“He saw me be a swing man back in 2001 and 2003. I was the best paid swing man in the game. Lot of people never looked at it that way,” Batista said. “I played for Riggleman. He told me, ‘I still have my fastball. You are a guy that is mentally strong to do this. Every team needs a guy like you. You’re my man.'”

Nyjer wants to hit lefties; Trying to figure out bench

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan was seen taking batting practice against left-hander Randy Tomlin, a Spring Training instructor, on Sunday. Morgan seemed comfortable at the plate, hitting mostly line drives and stopping himself from swinging at inside pitches.

The left-handed hitting Morgan is looking to improve against left-handed pitching after going 18-for-103 (.175) against them last season.

“Basically, I kind of stunk up the barn last year hitting lefties. Basically, I killed righties [.344],” Morgan said. “If I can hit the lefties a little bit, it’s going to get me on base a little bit more. It will create a little more offense, too, for the club.”

* Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said the most difficult part of Spring Training will be trying to figure out his bench. There are 15 players vying for roles off the bench: Outfielders Roger Bernadina, Chris Duncan, Willie Harris, Justin Maxwell, Jerry Owens and Willy Taveras, infielders Eric Bruntlett, Ian Desmond, Alberto Gonzalez, Mike Morse, Pete Orr and Josh Whitesell and catchers Jamie Burke, Devin Ivany and Wil Nieves. 
Of the 15, Harris and Nieves are all but locks for the bench, so it’s more than likely the rest of the reserves will be fighting for the final four spots, provided that Washington carries 11 pitchers. 

“I think there are a lot of different scenarios with the bench,” Riggleman said. “The bench is tough because you can paint a picture of 11 pitchers as oppose to 12. Most team carry 12 pitchers. That has something to say about how your bench is used or how many left-handed or right-handed hitters you could carry.

“The [player] options factor in there. Sometime there is a bench player who you think would help the club, but somebody else is out of options. You don’t want to run that player out of options through waivers and lose him There are four or five different scenarios and we are not even close to knowing how that’s going to end up.”     

* Riggleman still hasn’t decided who will be the team’s Opening Day pitcher. The assignment will either go to left-hander John Lannan or right-hander Jason Marquis. Whoever it is, that pitcher will face the Phillies twice  in two weeks.

Last year,  Lannan was the Opening Day starter for Washington and lasted three innings and gave up six runs against the Marlins in Miami.

* Right-hander Rafael Martin, who was at Space Coast Stadium on Sunday for Photo Day, said there were at least 10 teams who were interested in his services, but he is glad Washington selected his contract from Saraperos de Saltillo of the Mexican League because he has a shot to pitch in the big leagues sometime this year.

Before playing in the Mexican League, Martin worked for Slater Incorporated in Riverside Calif., building concrete structures for storm drains. He also played softball during the week and baseball on Sundays.

It took a friend from California who helped get a tryout with Saltillo. Martin ended up playing for the  team for three years, going 13-6 with a 3.81 ERA and one save.   
* The Nationals are not having an intra-squad game before the start of the exhibition season. Riggleman prefers to see the team work on fundamentals and have bullpen and live batting practice sessions.

“The intra-squad stuff — I like it, but there is a downside to it,” Riggleman said. “It can get less than serious because it’s your buddies you are playing against. There is a lack of seriousness about the matchup between a pitcher and hitter in some situations.

“The thing you do get out of it is, your hitters are one day closer [to being ready for the season]. They saw some pitching today. When that first exhibition game starts, they are seeing something similar that they saw the previous day. Other than that, I don’t think we get a lot of it.”
* Riggleman announced that right-hander Miguel Batista will start against the Braves at Champion Stadium on March 5.