Results tagged ‘ scott hairston ’

Nats declined to exercise options on LaRoche, Soriano; Cabrera, Hairston, Schierholtz become free agents

By Bill Ladson

WASHINGTON — Nationals second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and outfielders Scott Hairston and Nate Schierholtz are now free agents.

The Nationals also declined to exercise their options on first baseman Adam LaRoche and right-hander Rafael Soriano. None of the players are expected to be back with the team in 2015.

LaRoche reached the 90-RBI plateau for the fourth time in his career, but he is not coming back because the Nationals plan to put Ryan Zimmerman at first base. Recently, LaRoche said Zimmerman will be a quality first baseman.

“I think he is going to be an outstanding first baseman. I said that last year,” LaRoche said about Zimmerman. “He has one of the best gloves I’ve ever seen. He is an athlete. When the time comes, whether it’s next year or the following year or this postseason, he can handle that bag for sure.”

Soriano had a 6.48 ERA after the All-Star break. Soriano simply couldn’t keep his slider down in the strike zone and lost his closer’s job to Drew Storen

General manager Mike Rizzo decided to acquire Cabrera from the Indians before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cabrera provided steady defense at second, as Anthony Rendon shifted over to third base.

After coming from Cleveland, Cabrera expressed his desire to play shortstop, but after the Nationals were eliminated from the National League Division Series, he said he was willing to stay at second base. Going to the World Series is more important to him than playing shortstop. It is believed that the Nationals will not pay a lot of money to keep Cabrera.

Hairston and Schierholtz were part of the bench this past season. Hairston got off to a great start, but he tailed off dramatically starting in June and was taken off the roster during the NLDS.

As a pinch-hitter, Schierholtz ranks sixth among active players with at least 150 pinch-hit appearances. He started the season with the Cubs, but after getting released on Aug. 13, he signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals five days later. He made $5 million in 2014. It’s doubtful the Nationals will pay Schierholtz that kind of money in ’15, though he could be back on a Minor League deal.


Hairston embraces challenge of Hamels matchups

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — Scott Hairston doesn’t start often for the Nationals, but when he does, there’s a good chance the Phillies’ Cole Hamels is on the mound.

After a trade from the Cubs, the veteran outfielder made his Nationals debut against Hamels last July 9. The two were paired up again on Sunday afternoon at Nats Park, where Hairston fell just short of hitting two home runs but still came away with the go-ahead sacrifice fly in a 3-2 victory.

As a powerful right-handed hitter with a history of doing damage against southpaws, Hairston fills a clear niche on the Nats’ roster. The result has been Hairston making four of his 11 starts this year against Hamels, with all of those opportunities coming in a six-start span since July 12.

“It’s a challenge, it really is,” Hairston said. “It’s not only Cole. I believe I’ve faced [Clayton] Kershaw a couple times and [Scott] Kazmir and a couple other lefties that are pretty dominant.

“Especially the role I’m in, I don’t really get everyday at-bats, and when I do get a start, it’s against either a former Cy Young Award winner or a future one. I take it as a challenge. Whenever I’m out there, I try to just have the best at-bats possible, just to help the team win, do my part.”

Hairston now has 53 career plate appearances against Hamels, 15 more than against any other pitcher. Since joining the Nats, he’s faced Hairston 20 times, with Kershaw the next closest, at eight.

Here is a breakdown of Hairston’s starts with Washington:

– 6 vs. Cole Hamels (PHI)

– 3 vs. Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

– 2 vs. Mike Minor (ATL)

– 2 vs. Jon Niese (NYM)

– 1 vs. nine other pitchers

– Includes Madison Bumgarner (SF), Francisco Liriano (PIT), Scott Kazmir (OAK)

Against Hamels, Hairston is a .375 career hitter (18-for-48), with five doubles, five homers and 10 RBI. With the Nats, he’s 6-for-18 (.333) with one RBI. Does seeing Hamels so often give Hairston any advantage?

“It’s really tough to say,” said Hairston, who first battled Hamels in 2008 with the Padres. “We’ve faced each other so many times. Like I’ve said before, I think this is the best I’ve ever seen him. … He’s always been good, but I don’t recall him pitching this good.”

In Sunday’s sixth inning, Hairston broke a 2-2 tie with a drive off Hamels that Phillies left fielder Grady Sizemore caught up against the wall, scoring Ian Desmond. It was the second time in three at-bats that an unkind wind seemed to turn a home run into a warning-track for Hairston

“I was just thankful that somebody was one base for that last one,” he said. “It would have stung a lot more if the bases were empty, and I could have tied the game or put us ahead with a home run.”

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter at @AndrewSimonMLB.

Tyler Moore ready to fight for job

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — Describing last season as a “wakeup call,” Tyler Moore is preparing for Spring Training with the mindset that he will need to win a spot on the Nationals’ 25-man roster.

Moore, who turns 27 on Thursday, burst onto the scene with a strong rookie season in 2012 but struggled throughout much of ‘13, enduring a demotion to the Minor Leagues along the way. He figures to be a part of Washington’s bench again this year but isn’t taking that job for granted.

“I’m not given anything,” Moore said on Saturday at FanFest. “I definitely have to earn what I’m gonna get. I’m just looking forward to it, looking forward to competing.”

Moore knows that playing time could be scarce this season. Adam LaRoche remains as the starter at first base, and while the right-handed Moore could get some starts there against lefties, The Washington Post reported in December that the club plans to have third baseman Ryan Zimmerman work out at first this spring. If Zimmerman takes some starts at first, and with Scott Hairston providing an extra righty bat in the outfield, Moore likely would be relegated mostly to a pinch-hitting role.

That puts the onus on Moore to produce in more limited opportunities.

“I think last year maybe I was a little too lackadaisical in spring, and that’s what I want to kind of correct this year because I know I don’t have an everyday job, obviously,” Moore said. “I have to be ready to come in and hit when I have a chance, and when I have that chance, I have to take the best advantage of it.”

As a rookie, Moore hit .263/.327/.513 in 171 plate appearances, with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs. But in ‘13, he posted a .222/.260/.347 line in 178 plate appearances, seeing his walks drop and his strikeouts rise while collecting four home runs and 21 RBIs.

Then-manager Davey Johnson talked frequently about how difficult it can be for a young player, used to being in the lineup every day in the Minors, to fill a bench role in the Majors. Although he enjoyed some success as a pinch-hitter in ‘12, Moore went 1-for-18 with 12 strikeouts last year.

“Physically, I definitely know how. Mentally it’s still a challenge,” Moore said of coming off the bench. “I think it’s still a challenge, even for the veteran guys, and it’s something you have to figure out every day and your own personal way to do things. The biggest thing for me is just to slow the game down and really just get locked in when I’m watching the game on the bench, to stay in the game and not lose myself.”

Moore spent about a month and a half at Triple-A Syracuse last summer, but when he returned, he was clicking. Making the most of some chances to start, Moore went 21-for-61 (.344) from Aug. 17 on, with four doubles, a homer and seven RBIs.

With that finish as a springboard, Moore intends to come to Nationals camp in Viera, Fla., with a sense of urgency as he looks to put 2013 behind him.

“It was tough. But at the same time, it was kind of a wakeup call, like, look, you can’t just roll in here [to the Majors] and think you’re gonna do good all the time,” Moore said. “This is a tough and humbling game, and it’s an eye-opener, makes you a little bit more hungry, because a lot of people are talking bad and you just want to prove them wrong, but at the same time you want to prove to yourself that you belong here and you want to stay.”

Missed opportunity overshadows big day for Hairston

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

Since he was acquired from the Cubs a little less than a month ago, Scott Hairston has searched for opportunities to help the struggling Nationals. He got his chance with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning on Monday and couldn’t come through, a sour end to what was otherwise his best day in a Nationals uniform.

Hairston took a ball before Braves reliever Jordan Walden threw a wild pitch, allowing Anthony Rendon to advance from second to third. Hairston only needed a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Instead, he swung at a low 2-0 fastball and popped it straight up and back toward the screen. Catcher Brian McCann made a basket catch against the backstop for the out, and Chad Tracy flew out to left field in the next at-bat to end the game.

“It’s always tough,” Hairston said. “I think when you’re in that position to help the team win and you don’t do it, it’s somewhat of a disappointment and we all feel the same way. You have to seize the opportunity.”

Hairston collected as many hits in his first three at-bats on Monday (two) as he had in his first 19 plate appearances with the Nationals. He doubled down the left-field line in the second inning, walked in the fifth and doubled again in the seventh. But he also knows that he’s more likely to be remembered for the one hit he didn’t get than the ones he did.

“It hurts,” he said, “but once you leave the ballpark today, we’re just gonna have to prepare for tomorrow.”

The play was particularly disappointing considering the fact that Walden, not closer Craig Kimbrel, was in the game at the time. Kimbrel got the night off after pitching in three straight games.

“Is Kimbrel a better pitcher? Yes he is. But Walden, he’s good too,” Hairston said. “I just think at this level, whoever gets put in that situation is there to do the job. There’s no letdown no matter who’s on the mound. But hey, I had a chance to do my job tonight with one out and I didn’t do it. It’s just how it goes sometimes. Hopefully the next time I’m in that situation, I’ll be able to get the job done.”

Update: The Nats acquire Scott Hairston from Cubs

WASHINGTON — In need of a right-handed hitter off the bench, the Nationals have acquired outfielder Scott Hairston from the Cubs, a baseball source confirmed. It’s not known who the Cubs are getting in return. The Nationals have yet to confirm the report.

Hairston will provide power off the bench, something which has been lacking all season for the Nats. Before the trade, Hairston was hitting .163 with seven home runs and 18 RBIs. He will be reunited with general manager Mike Rizzo, who drafted Hairston in the third round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

Hairston’s best season in the big leagues was in 2009, when he hit a combined .265 with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs for the Athletics and Padres. Last year with the Mets, Hairston hit 20 home runs despite only starting 86 games.

Hairston comes from a baseball family. His older brother is Dodgers infielder Jerry Hairston Jr., who played for the Nationals in 2011. His father, Jerry Sr., played with the White Sox during the 1970s and grandfather, Sam Hairston, played for the Birmingham Black Barons and the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues. Sam also played for the White Sox in the 1950s.

As one baseball source put it a couple of weeks ago, the Nationals needed to go out and get a veteran right-handed hitter for the bench. The team started the season hoping that Tyler Moore could provide power off the bench, but he has struggled mightily, batting .157 with 38 strikeouts in 102 at-bats. The Nats feel Moore is better suited as an everyday player, and that could happen with Triple-A Syracuse.

The Nationals are probably not done acquiring bench players. The source indicated that Washington is looking to acquire a second right-handed hitter to add more depth.

Besides Moore, the Nationals feel that Steve Lombardozzi is better suited as an everyday player. He, too, has struggled coming off the bench this season.

Reports: Nats acquire Scott Hairston

By Tom Schad | Associate Reporter

The Nationals have sought a power-hitting, right-handed bat for their bench, and they got one late Sunday night.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Nationals have acquired Cubs outfielder Scott Hairston in exchange for a minor-league pitcher. Hairston, 33, is hitting just .172 with eight home runs this season. He hit a pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning of the Chicago’s 4-3 extra-innings win over the Pirates on Sunday.

Hairston is a 10-year Major League veteran who has spent time with the Diamondbacks, Padres, Mets, Athletics and Cubs. The 6-foot, 205-pound outfielder signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cubs in January.

Hairston has a bit of power (averages 20 home runs per 162 games) and he feels particularly comfortable against left-handed pitchers (.268 career average). He is 15-for-47 (.319) in 17 career games at Nationals Park.

The move will be announced Monday morning, according to Rosenthal. Hairston will likely replace outfielder Roger Bernadina or outfielder/first baseman Tyler Moore on the Nationals’ bench.