Results tagged ‘ Nyjer Morgan ’

Morgan having problems stealing bases

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan is having problems stealing bases. He has been caught four times in nine attempts entering Monday’s action against the Cubs. 

Morgan hasn’t had this problem since his first professional season in the Pirates organization. In 2003, Morgan stole 26 bases, but was caught 17 times for Class A Williamsport.   

Morgan wonders if sliding feet first is preventing him from stealing bases consistently. During most of his career, Morgan has slid in head first.

The Nationals want him to slid feet first in order to prevent a hand injury. Last August, Morgan missed the final month of the season after breaking his left hand sliding head first into third base against the Cubs.

“Oh my God, this is killing me,” Morgan said. “I don’t know if it’s the feet-first slide. I haven’t been through [something like this]. I don’t have an answer for you. I just have to get it done and figure something out. I might have to go back to head-first [sliding].

“I’m not going to stop being aggressive. That’s my game. It’s one of those things where I have to figure it out. I’m running into outs. I have to make the adjustments. I have to keep going. I’m not going to stop. I have to understand when I should run and try to get there.” 

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.

Nats tidbits for Sunday

The Nationals still want a veteran starting pitcher, but don’t expect general manager Mike Rizzo to look hard for one on the free-agent market. In fact, the club is waiting for free-agent pitchers to come to them at the right price. 

So don’t look for the Nationals to break the bank for pitchers such as right-hander John Smoltz or left-hander Jarrod Washburn.   

“During the early part of the winter, we made sure we got things done,” Rizzo said. “I made sure we had a Major League veteran starter [Jason Marquis], Major League catcher [Ivan Rodriguez] and improved the bullpen [Matt Capps, Brian Bruney and Eddie Guardado]. We took care of that.
“I think during the second half of the offseason we are going to let a little bit of that come to us. We do think there is a surplus of people out there … that we are talking about. There is nobody … out there on the pitching market that is a difference maker.”      

* Center fielder Nyjer Morgan acknowledged that he needs to improve his batting average against left-handed pitching. Last season, for example, the left-handed hitting Morgan hit .175 with a homer and 12 RBIs against southpaws. 

“I’ll try to figure something out — if it’s a little adjustment,” Morgan said. “I’ll make something happen. Last year was probably my worst year of hitting lefties. Like I said, you got to take your lumps but you learn off your mistakes and you try to get better off your mistakes.”

* Right-hander Craig Stammen said he is willing to be a starter or reliever in 2010, but he is going into Spring Training believing that he will be a starter. Stammen said his right elbow is 100 percent after having bone spurs removed toward the end of the season.

* The Nationals displayed Ryan Zimmerman’s first Gold Glove at NatsFest. It was obvious that he was pleased to get the award.

“Defense is an important part of the game. It’s a part of the game that is overlooked,” he said. Everyone loves offense, home runs and everything. You have to be able to play defense and work hard for that, too. I take a lot of pride in that.”

Nyjer Morgan miss playing baseball

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan was seen in the dugout with his left hand wrapped in bandages on Friday.

It comes a little over a week after Morgan broke the hand sliding headfirst into third base on a stolen-base attempt in the first inning against the Cubs. Morgan left the game after scoring on a double by Cristian Guzman and was replaced by Willie Harris.

Morgan had surgery on the hand since then, and the Nationals clearly miss him, going 0-6. It doesn’t help that Harris and Justin Maxwell were a combined  2-for-23 [.086] from the leadoff spot entering Friday’s action.

“There were a couple of times I had to turn off the TV because I’m playing the game in my head. I was watching the guys when they were on the road trip,” Morgan said. “It’s frustrating. Next year, [I’m] definitely going to bring more fire for what I have to bring on the field.” 

After his stitches are taken out later this month, Morgan hopes to play in the Instructional League to make sure he has his swing back.

“I’ll try to get some at-bats to see how it feels,” Morgan said. “I want to go so I could see with my own eyes the progression with my hand.”       

Morgan will continue to slide headfirst into bases unless he is ordered by the team to do otherwise. He feels it’s faster going into the bag headfirst.    

Nyjer Morgan out for the year [update]

I just found out that Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan is out for the season because of a broken left hand. 

Morgan started the game off by drawing a walk against Cubs right-hander Randy Wells. Morgan then stole second and third base before scoring on a double by Cristian Guzman.

Morgan broke the hand stealing third base and was taken out of the game and replaced by Willie Harris.    

The Nationals have not decided who will replace Morgan on the roster. An announcement will be made on Friday.

There will be more to come on

Nyjer Morgan has jammed left hand

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan left Thursday’s game against the Cubs in the bottom of the first inning with a jammed left hand. He is listed as day-to-day.

There is no word on how Morgan hurt the hand. 

Morgan started the game off by drawing a walk against right-hander Randy Wells. Morgan then stole second and third base before scoring on a double by Cristian Guzman.

After the inning ended, with the Nationals leading, 3-0, Willie Harris replaced Morgan in center field.   

There will be more to come on   

Nyjer Morgan feeling better, will start Thursday

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan said he is over his flu-like symptoms and could have started on Wednesday against the Cubs, but interim manager Jim Riggleman wanted to rest him for one more day. Morgan will start on Thursday afternoon against Chicago.

“I went to the skipper to let him know that I’ll be there for the team,” Morgan said. “If he needs me off the bench, I’ll be there.”  

Riggleman acknowledged that he rested Morgan on Wednesday to give Willie Harris some plate appearances. Harris hasn’t played often since Morgan joined the team on June 30. Most of his action has come as a defensive replacement.

Morgan has flu-like symptoms; Burnett feeling better

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan was out of Tuesday’s lineup against the Cubs because of flu-like symptoms. Interim manager Jim Riggleman hopes Morgan is back in the lineup by Wednesday. Riggleman replaced Morgan with Willie Harris.

In other news, reliever Sean Burnett, who missed Monday’s game against the Brewers because of a left thumb contusion, played catch at Wrigley Field and said the thumb feels better.

“He threw pretty well, so he is feeling much better,” general manager Mike Rizzo said.  

Morgan ties team record

Nyjer Morgan has three hits in Thursday’s game against the Brewers and tied a team record for the most hits in a month. He has 40 during the month of July.       

Nationals acquire Sean Burnett, Nyjer Morgan [update]

The Nationals have traded reliever Joel Hanrahan and outfielder Lastings Milledge to the Pirates for reliever Sean Burnett and outfielder Nyjer Morgan on Tuesday afternoon.

Morgan is considered the key to the deal for Washington. He was acquired to improve the team’s outfield defense, which is one of the worst in the National League.

The Nationals have been unhappy with their outfielders for quite some time. They have come to the come to the conclusion that Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham belong in the American League as designated hitters and Elijah Dukes makes too many fundamental  mistakes.

The Nationals see Morgan as a center fielder/leadoff hitter. Washington also likes his hockey attitude. He once played with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League during the 1999-2000 season.

Morgan, who will wear uniform No. 1, was playing left field and batting second for Pittsburgh. Entering Tuesday’s action, Morgan was hitting .277 with two home runs, 27 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.

The Nationals also get younger in the bullpen with Burnett on board. He will be a middle reliever for the team. Burnett appeared in 38 games and had a respectable 3.06 ERA for Pittsburgh.  The Nationals have not ruled out making him a starter, a role he had when he was drafted by the Pirates in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. 

“We are open for business” said a happy Mike Rizzo, the Nationals’ acting general manager. “We improved two of our greatest needs. We have a great character guy in Morgan. We have our center fielder. Even though he will be 29 in two days, he plays better than most younger men.”  

Hanrahan and Milledge did not fit in the team’s long-term plans. Hanrahan lost his job as a closer twice because he was often hit hard. Most people in the organization felt that his fastball was too straight and he relied too much on his slider.

Lack of defense and inconsistency at the plate are the reasons Milledge has been in the Minor Leagues since mid-April. In seven games, Milledge was 4-for-24 with an RBI for the Nationals.

It also didn’t help that Milledge was late for a meeting the day before Opening Day in Miami.

According to sources, both Rizzo and manager Manny Acta threatened Milledge with a trip back to the Minor Leagues. The team ended up sending him down on April 14.

Rizzo is far from done in terms of making deals. He is looking for a starting shortstop.  The Nationals feel that Cristian Guzman, who is on the trade block, has lost a few steps with his glove.

The Nationals are alarmed that Guzman is having a difficult time getting ground balls to his left.

The Nationals want young starting pitching in return for Guzman, who has one year left on his contract.

The team doesn’t have to acquire a shortstop — at least for the rest of the season. It can go with Alberto  Gonzalez, who is hitting .326 with a home run and 12 RBIs.

The team is also looking to trade Dukes, and that may be hard to do because he comes with a lot of off-the-field baggage. Who they want for Dukes is not known. Dukes is capable of hitting a lot of home runs and getting a lot of outfield assists.