Results tagged ‘ Wil Nieves ’

Nats tender contracts to five, agree to terms with two others

Entering Thursday, the Nationals had 10 players who were eligible for salary arbitration. Five of them — pitchers Sean Burnett, John Lannan and Doug Slaten and outfielders Michael Morse, and Josh Willingham — were tendered contracts, while catcher Jesus Flores and infielder Alberto Gonzalez agreed to terms on new deals. However, catcher Wil Nieves and right-handers Joel Peralta and Chien-Ming Wang became free agents.

Letting Nieves and Wang walk was not a surprise, for the Nationals are loaded with catchers, which made Nieves expendable, and Wang pitched in 24 games in the past three seasons.

However, letting Peralta get away was a surprise. Peralta had the best season of his career, posting a 2.02 ERA in 39 games. He allowed one run in his final 15 innings. General manager Mike Rizzo wasn’t available for comment.

Terms were not disclosed on Gonzalez and Flores. Gonzalez  is a valuable player off the bench, but his attitude must change when it comes to playing time. He was often upset when taken out of games.

Flores enters the 2011 season as the No. 3 catcher. It didn’t help that he missed most of the past two years because of a right shoulder injury. The Nationals haven’t ruled out Flores starting next season in the Minor Leagues.

Burnett, Lannan, Morse, Slaten and Willingham will have a hearing sometime in February unless they agree to terms with the club.

Of the five players, Willingham appears to the one person who could be traded before the 2011 season gets underway. Willingham is a free agent after the ’11 season and it is believed the Nationals want young players in return for the right-handed hitting slugger.

Six Nats players tendered contracts

The Nationals have tendered contracts to outfielder Josh Willingham, catchers Jesus Flores and Wil Nieves and pitchers Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney and Sean Burnett on Saturday night.

The Nationals  had an 11:59 p.m. ET deadline Saturday to make a decision on all six players, who are arbitration eligible. 

Earlier in the day, Washington decided it would not be tendering 2010 contracts to pitchers Mike MacDougal and Scott Olsen.

Of all the players coming back, the biggest surprise is Nieves. It was believed that he would be non-tendered after the Nationals signed catcher Ivan Rodriguez to a two-year $6 million, but they decided to keep Nieves because they feel he has been a valuable player — offensively and defensively — off the bench the last two years and can be insurance in case Jesus Flores is not ready for Spring Training.

Flores had surgery on his right shoulder and right elbow, and the team announced as recently as Friday that Flores would be ready for Spring Training.

“I can only go by what the medical people tell me. They say Jesus should be 100 percent ready to participate in Spring Training,” Rizzo said on Friday. “We take them at their word, but we all know that shoulders are very difficult to predict.”

As for Willingham, he is coming off a productive season in 2009. He started the year on the bench, but became a regular in June and hit .260 with 24 home runs and 61 RBIs. Willingham has been mentioned in trade rumors recently. Teams such as the Mets and Braves have interest in acquiring his services.

Bergmann showed improvement after the All-Star break, going 2-3 with a 3.38 ERA as a reliever. Rizzo and manager Jim Riggleman often talked about wanting Bergmann back for the 2010 season.

“In my heart of hearts, I’ve been in this organization a long time. I love people that I play with and play for. I would like to stick around for a long time,” Bergmann said on Wednesday.

Bruney, who was acquired from the Yankees this past week, will compete for the closer’s role durinmg Spring Training.   

Burnett was a quality reliever for the Nationals, who acquired him and center fielder Nyjer Morgan in a trade that sent outfielder Lastings Milledge and right-hander Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates in late June. In 33 games for Washington, Burnett went 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA.

Burnett, Nieves still ailing

Catcher Wil Nieves was hoping to start on his 31st birthday against the Braves on Friday, but he will continue to be sidelined because of minor left hamstring tightness.

Nieves is looking to play against the Braves by Sunday. Nieves hurt the hamstring last Thursday against the Phillies.

Nieves came to the plate in the top of the third inning and hit a comebacker to left-hander  Cole Hamels, who threw Nieves out at first base. As he got close to the bag, Nieves started limping. Getting back to the dugout was difficult for Nieves. It took about 30 seconds before he hit the dugout steps.

Did you ever wonder why Sean Burnett hasn’t pitched much of late? He still has the left thumb contusion suffered last month against the Brewers.

Burnett hurt the thumb in the seventh inning on Aug. 23 trying to field a groundball hit by Milwaukee’s Felipe Lopez.

Burnett, who never went on the DL because of the injury, believes rest will make it better.

“It’s a lingering problem and  it hasn’t gotten any better since I got hit ,” Burnett said. “It wasn’t that hard of a hit ball. It’s just something that didn’t get any better. At times it has gotten worse. It just hasn’t come along like I thought it would, but I’ve been going out there as much as possible.”

Burnett is planning to see several doctors in the next couple of days.

Nieves leaves game with left hamstring injury [update]

Nationals catcher Wil Nieves left Thursday’s game against the Phillies because of a left hamstring injury. He is expected to be out of action for at least four days.

Nieves came to the plate in the top of the third inning and hit a comebacker to left-hander  Cole Hamels, who threw Nieves out at first base. As he got close to the bag, Nieves started limping. Getting back to the dugout was difficult for Nieves. It took about 30 seconds before he hit the dugout steps.

Josh Bard replaced Nieves in the bottom of the third inning. 

In the meantime, the Nationals need a backup catcher, so they acquired catcher Jamie Burke from the Mariners in exchange for cash considerations and placed catcher Jesus Flores on the 60-day disabled list. Flores had surgery on his right labrum on Wednesday.

Burke will join the Nationals on Friday, when they play the Mets at Citi Field.

Nats must make decision on backup catcher

Before Monday’s game, the Nationals are expected to call up right-hander Jordan Zimmermann from Triple-A Syracuse and take one of their backup catchers — Josh Bard and Wil Nieves — off the 25-man roster.

Bard is known for his bat, while Nieves has a reputation of being great behind the plate. Manager Manny Acta said in the right situation, a team would be looking for a person with defensive skills.

“He is only going to play once a week to rest the [the starting catcher],” Acta said. “That being said, we are going to keep whoever we think is the best fit for us. We are also going to try to make the right decision, so we can keep both guys somehow, someway. A lot of things play into that decision.”  

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