Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Rizzo: ‘It was time to inject speed, youth and athleticism to the team’

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo felt it was time to inject speed, youth and athleticism to the team and that’s why shortstop Trea Turner was called up to the big leagues Friday afternoon.

Rizzo called Turner “a contact bat with a lot of speed” and can play the middle infield spots. Rizzo warned that it may take a while for Turner to warm up to the big league level. While playing for Double A Harrisburg and Triple A Syracuse, for example, Turner got off to slow starts with the bat, but managed to get the batting average up to .300 in both places.

“We thought it was an opportune time to take advantage of his skills,” Rizzo said of Turner. … “We are not expecting him to be the savior of the offense or the savior of the ballclub. We just want him to do what he does best – add his skillset to Matt Williams’ arsenal of tools to win baseball games. We are not trying to develop at the big league level. We are just trying to win games and we are injecting players that we think have skillset that will help us win.”

The Nationals have 42 games left in the season and 27 of them will be at Nationals Park. Asked what improvements he would like to see from this point forward from his team, Rizzo said, “We are trying to win games. We are thinking one game at a time, we are playing with some urgency. … These guys are into it, they are hustling, they are playing hard. We know where we are at. We know what lies ahead of us. We have to play hard and try to win this game.”

Nats’ Span starts rehab assignment

By Bill Ladson

SAN FRANCISCO – Nationals center fielder Denard Span started a rehab assignment for Class A Potomac on Sunday and went 0-for-2 against Wilmington, a Royals affiliate.

Span is recovering from back tightness, which placed him on the 15-day disabled list on July 10th.

Span’s assignment to Potomac marks his third rehab stint in 2015 after stops with the Double-A Harrisburg on April 14th and the Class A Hagerstown Suns from April 16th to April 17th.

August 16: Nationals at Giants

by Jacob Emert |

Teams: Washington Nationals (58-58, -4.5 in NL East), San Francisco Giants (62-53, -2.5 in NL West)

Streaks: Nationals: L5, Giants: W3

First pitch: 4:05 pm ET (1:05 PT)

Watch & Listen: MASN 2 / 106.7 The FAN

WSH Lineup: Michael Taylor (CF), Anthony Rendon (2B), Bryce Harper (RF), Yunel Escobar (3B), Ryan Zimmerman (1B), Ian Desmond (SS), Jayson Werth (LF), Wilson Ramons (C), Joe Ross (RHP)

SF Lineup:  Grego Blanco (CF), Matt Duffy (3B), Brandon Belt (1B), Buster Posey (C), Hunter Pence (RF), Brandon Crawford (SS), Justin Maxwell (LF). Kelby Tomlinson (2B), Madison Bumgarner (LHP)

Transactions: None

Stay informed: 

  • Gio exits after surrendering six runs in the third inning (link)
  • Bryce Harper fouled a ball off his leg in the 7th inning and left the game, X-rays were negative (link)
  • Ian Desmond obliterated the eighth-longest HR this season (link)
  • The Nationals’ diving, deflected, barehanded 3-4-1 putout may be the play of 2015 (link)081515_wshsf_rendon_play_med_45z16g87
  • Sunday’s preview (link)

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for Follow me on Twitter @JacobEmert.

Nats’ McCatty ejected from Saturday’s game vs. Giants

By Bill Ladson

SAN FRANCISCO – Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty, normally a mild mannered man, was ejected by home plate umpire Corey Blaser on Saturday night in the bottom of the third inning for reasons unknown.

The Giants had the bases loaded when McCatty came out to talk to left-hander Gio Gonzalez. After talking to Gonzalez for about a minute, McCatty was on his way back to the dugout when he started arguing with Blaser, who ejected the pitching coach. Matt Williams then talked to Blaser to no avail.

It was the first time McCatty was ejected from a game this season.

Nats’ Williams decides to make lineup changes

By Bill Ladson
SAN FRANCISCO — Since the All-Star break, the Nationals are 10-17 and hitting .224 with a .295 on-base percentage.

Manager Matt Williams decided to make a few changes to the lineup Friday, sitting left fielder Jayson Werth, second baseman Anthony Rendon and catcher Wilson Ramos and replaced them with Clint Robinson, Danny Espinosa and Jose Lobaton, respectively.

Williams said he wanted some lefties in the lineup to face right-hander Matt Cain. The moves are not permanent. Werth and Rendon could be back in the lineup Saturday against San Francisco. Ramos most likely will not start that day because Lobaton is Gio Gonzalez’s personal catcher.

Werth and Rendon have been rusty since coming off the disabled list. Werth is 8-for-56 with a homer and six RBIs since July 28th, while Rendon is 15-for-67 [.224] with a homer and two RBIs since July 25.

“Jayson is still coming back from a wrist injury. It’s probably going to be a process from now until the end of the season,” Williams said. “That being said, Anthony has been heavy on his legs, too, and he is coming off a quad injury. We have to find him days [off], too.”

Ramos has been healthy all season, but he has not performed well with the bat and behind the plate. In fact, Lobaton is considered a better catcher because of his pitch framing and game calling.

To Williams, Ramos is not swinging at the right pitches. Williams gave Thursday’s game as an example of how badly Ramos has been going at the plate.

“We had the bases loaded [in the first inning],” Williams said. “He got ahead, 1-0, and then swung at the one he didn’t want to hit. He grounded out. It’s a little bit of that. His pitch selection [at the plate] could be a little better. He is fighting himself in pitcher’s counts.”

Nats’ Weidemaier to be bench coach in Mexican League

SAN FRANCISCO — After the 2015 baseball season come to an end in October, Nationals defensive coordinator Mark Weidemaier will continue working on the baseball field, this time in the Mexico Pacific Winter League for Mazatlan Vernados. The team is managed by Miguel Ojeda.

Weidemaier, who is in his second season with the Nationals, has enjoyed 28 years in Latin America having scouted or coached Winter Ball from 1985 to 2013 in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Nats’ Fister not looking into future as free agent

By Bill Ladson
LOS ANGELES — Nationals right-hander Doug Fister made his first relief appearance of the season in an 8-3 victory over the Dodgers on Monday night.

Fister pitched the ninth inning and allowed a three-run homer to Carl Crawford. In fairness, Fister should have been out of the inning, but shortstop Ian Desmond made a throwing error that forced Fister to get an extra out.

Fister felt a sense of relief after he made his first appearance out of the bullpen. He was taken out of the rotation last week in favor of Joe Ross because Fister had problems keeping the ball down. In fact, he allowed 13 homers this year.

“The first one is over. I haven’t done it for a while. So I wasn’t real sure what it takes with all the little details,” Fister said. “It went smoothly, being able to warm up and being ready. I felt good last night. I feel like I’m back on track of where I need to be. Yeah, Crawford got to it. It was a decent pitch. But I have to tip my cap to him.”

Fister plans to keep a positive attitude about his new role, work hard in the bullpen and in games. He said being negative doesn’t solve anything.

“It doesn’t do anybody any good if I’m negative,” Fister said. “If I’m hiding in the corner, that doesn’t help anybody else. We are a team here. The ultimate goal is to win the World Series.”

Fister will be a free agent after the season, but hasn’t thought about how his role in the bullpen will affect him on the open market. Fister is not expected to be back with Washington next year.

“I figure that will take care of itself,” Fister said. “If I can get back on track and pitch well, where I fall is where I fall in the free-agent market. There is nothing I can do to change it, but pitch better.”

Nats sign Campana to Minor League deal

By Bill Ladson

LOS ANGELES — The Nationals signed outfielder Tony Campana to a Minor League deal, a baseball source confirmed to

Campana, 29, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and will report to Viera Fla., the team’s Spring Training facility.

When healthy, Campana can provide speed off the bench. He had a career high 30 stolen bases for the Cubs in 2012. Besides the Cubs, Campana spent time with the Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox.

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.”

Desmond showing more consistency at plate

By Bill Ladson
LOS ANGELES — After Monday’s 8-3 victory over the Dodgers, one would have never known that Ian Desmond had a game to remember. All he kept talking about were the eight shutout innings Gio Gonzalez threw and the important win the Nationals needed to stay close with the Mets in the National League East.

But Desmond was the hitting hero, going 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs. In fact, since July 20, Desmond is 23-for-73 (.315) with seven home runs and 16 RBIs. According to manager Matt Williams, Desmond is seeing the breaking pitch much better. For example, Desmond was able to hit a curveball in the second inning for a home run off Dodgers left-hander Brett Anderson.

“He is not drifting toward the pitcher,” Williams said about Desmond. “He is seeing [the ball] fine. His hands are lightning quick. If he could sit down a little bit [in the batter’s box], he sees the pitches longer. It allows him to get in the strike zone lately. He is swinging well.”

Although Desmond is having the worst year of his career, he never lost the respect of his teammates.

“I played with Ian for a long time,” first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “He is going to continue to grind it out, play hard. That’s why he has earned the respect he has around here. I don’t think anyone is pulling for him more than the guys in this clubhouse.”