June 2009

Washington Acquired Outfielder Nyjer Morgan and left-hander Sean Burnett from Pittsburgh

The Washington Nationals today acquired outfielder Nyjer Morgan and left-handed pitcher Sean Burnett from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for outfielder Lastings Milledge and right-handed pitcher Joel Hanrahan. 


nyjer-catch.jpgThe 28 year-old Morgan was batting .277 (77-for-278) with six doubles, five triples, two home runs and 27 RBI in 71 games with Pittsburgh prior to the trade. Thanks to a career-high 29 walks and a .351 on-base percentage, Morgan has scored 39 runs this season, or two fewer than his career total in 86 games entering 2009. His five triples rank among NL (tied for second) and MLB (tied for third) leaders. Morgan is blessed with the brand of speed that the Nationals were lacking both on the basepaths and in the outfield. He currently ranks fifth in the National League with 18 stolen bases, and his eight swipes in June are just one less than the nine registered by Washington this month. Morgan played primarily left field for the Pirates. He currently leads all MLB left fielders in total chances per 9.0 innings and range factor per game.


Burnett, 26, was 1-2 with six holds, one save and a 3.06 ERA (11 ER/32.1 IP) in a team-leading 38 appearances for Pittsburgh at the time of the trade. A two-time (2001 and 2002) Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Burnett is 7-8 with 14 holds, one save and a 4.54 ERA (81 ER/160.2 IP) in 109 games (13 starts) spanning three big league seasons with Pittsburgh. Burnett shifted exclusively to relief in 2008 and in 96 appearances since, has neutralized opposing left-handed batters with a stingy .178 (23-for-129) batting average against.

Olsen can’t beat friend, former team in strong return from DL

Scott Olsen.jpg

Scott Olsen pitched well against his former team and good friend Ricky Nolasco but the Marlins still beat the Nationals, 4-2, on Monday night. The left-hander, who had been on the 15-day disabled list since May 18th, gave up two runs on six hits while striking out seven over seven innings. It was his longest outing since April 18th. Olsen left with the game tied at 2-2, however relievers Julian Tavarez and Ron Villone each gave up a run in the eighth which proved to be enough for the Marlins’ victory. Ryan Zimmerman hit his 13th home run on the season off of Nolasco in the second inning. It was Olsen’s first start since being placed on the DL on May 18th with left shoulder tendinitis.

 “I’m not Jamie Moyer — I can’t really be hugely successful throwing 82 or 83 [mph],” Olsen said. “The exercises and new routines that the training staff and physical therapists got me on here — it’s a real credit to them. Every start I’ve made to this point has put me at 88 to 92 [mph].”

In other Nationals News:


Craig Stammen and Willie Harris secure regular roles with the team

– National’s sign second-round pick Jeff Kobernus

– Syracuse’s Garrett Mock is IL Pitcher of the Week

Ryan Zimmerman falls to third place in All-Star voting. Cast your vote HERE.

T-shirt time

The three-game series with the Sox brought a record crowd to the park each night. The three day total was 125,032 fans. Half of those people wore Jacoby Ellsbury T-shirt jerseys. The other half, well, they sported anything from wicked throwbacks to wicked gnarly sleeveless T-shirts. Here is a look at the out-of-place unis, the old school jerseys and the future stars of NatsTown.


mussina fan.jpgHey Bob. I think we went to the wrong stadium.

IMG_0646.jpgAnything is possible Agent Zero.

IMG_0707.jpg“But I am a big Redskins fan”…. Yeah.

IMG_0706.jpgApparently a wicked confused couple…

IMG_0684.jpgNo this isn’t a AT&T promotion.

IMG_0675.jpgGetting it Dunn.

IMG_0695.jpgDouble Fisting: The only way to deal with defeat.

IMG_0702.jpgThe Iron Man used the iron gym to cut the iron T-shirt sleeves off.

IMG_0678.jpgBest friends.

IMG_0672.jpgPapi loves pink.

 Future All-Star.

IMG_0668.jpgDid Dunn just hit it out of the park?

IMG_0703.jpgGood luck.

IMG_0716.jpgYeah, that’s right.

IMG_0711.jpgOld School.

IMG_0712.jpgNew school.


Lineups for 6/25

Red Sox:


Pedroia – 2B

Drew – RF

Bay – LF

Ortiz – 1B

Lowell – 3B

Varitek – C

Ellsbury – CF

Green – SS

Smoltz – P




Guzman – SS

Johnson – 1B

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – LF

Willingham – RF

Bard – C

Harris – CF

Hernandez – 2B

Zimmermann – P

Minor League Report

The Nationals minor league report is a weekly window into the Nationals farm teams, with updated standings, league leaders, team and individual player stats, and the latest team and player news.  


This Week’s Top Headlines


Including his win on Tuesday night at Scranton Wilkes-Barre (Yankees), Triple-A Syracuse RHP J.D. Martin has won four straight starts, five of six and six of his last eight. Martin is 8-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) overall. He has allowed two runs or less in 10 of those 12 starting assignments and has yielded just seven walks in 70.0 innings of work, an average of 0.90 walks per 9.0 innings. He ranks among the International League leaders in wins (t-2nd), WHIP (t-3rd, 0.91) and ERA (6th). Martin signed with Washington as a Minor League free agent on November 24, 2008.


On Tuesday night, Nationals farmhands participated in the Single-A Carolina League-California League All-Star Game and the Single-A South Atlantic League All-Star Game. In the CL vs. CL tussle, Potomac OF Michael Burgess (Nationals No. 4 prospect per Baseball America) went 1-for-3 with a walk, while RHP Jeff Mandel allowed one run in 2.0 innings. Potomac RHP Brad Meyers was a Carolina League All-Star, but did not pitch. Hagerstown C Derek Norris (Nationals No. 6 prospect per Baseball America) went 1-for-2 and RHP Marcos Frias worked 1.0 inning and allowed three runs while pitching for the Northern Division squad in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.


Chiefs 2.JPGTriple-A Syracuse Chiefs

International League North Division

37-32, 3rd Place, 4.0 Games Back


Balester Collin 1.JPGRHP Collin Balester
has earned the win in five consecutive starts. He is 5-0 with a 2.00 ERA (9 ER/40.1 IP) and13 walks in his last seven outings. Beginning with his May 17 start, Balester has lowered his ERA from 6.35 to 4.00 and has allowed three runs or less in 11 of 14 starts overall. Balester, 23, made 15 starts at the Big League level last season with Washington.


RHP Garrett Mock struck out 10 in a complete-game, three-hit shutout on Monday vs. Columbus (Indians). In his last two starts, he is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA (1 ER/15.0 IP) and 17 strikeouts. Since being optioned to Syracuse on May 21, Mock has gone 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA (7 ER/27.1 IP) and 35 strikeouts in five starts. Opposing batters are just 19-for-98 (.193 BAA) against him in that span.


senators-new-logo 1.JPGDouble-A Harrisburg Senators

Eastern League Southern Division

26-41, 5th Place, 20.0 Games Back


RHP Clint Everts is a combined 3-1 with a 1.26 ERA and a 4.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio (35 K/8 BB) in 19 appearances (28.2 innings) with Harrisburg and Single-A Potomac. Since being promoted to Harrisburg on June 9, he has posted a 2.08 ERA (2 ER/8.2 IP) in six games. Prior to joining the Senators, Everts went 3-0 with two saves and a 0.90 ERA in 13 games with Potomac. The Cypress, TX native was Montreal’s first-round pick (5th overall) in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.


1B Bill Rhinehart is hitting .348 (24-for-69) with eight doubles, two homers, nine RBI and 12 runs scored in 17 games this month. After beginning the season batting .226 (14-for-62) with just five extra-base hits in 18 contests, he has hit .298 (43-for-144) with 13 hits of the extra-base variety (nine doubles, four homers) in 34 games. Rhinehart, who played collegiately at the University of Arizona, was selected in the 11th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.


potomac nationals 1.JPGSingle-A Potomac Nationals

Carolina League Northern Division

37-30, 2nd Place, 7.0 Games Back


RHP Brad Meyers leads Carolina League starting pitchers with a 1.67 ERA. In his most recent start on Sunday vs. Salem (Red Sox), he fired a career-high 8.0 shutout innings of one-hit ball. Meyers has allowed no more than one run in 10 of his 13 appearances (12 starts) overall. He was selected in the 5th round of the 2007 Draft out of Loyola Marymount University (CA).


hagerstown suns 1.JPGSingle-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

31-36, t-5th Place, 10.0 Games Back


Norris, Derek 1.JPGC Derek Norris leads all catchers in professional baseball with 14 home runs and 51 RBI. The 20-year-old ranks among the Single-A South Atlantic League leaders in nearly every offensive category, including RBI (1st), home runs (t-1st), total bases (t-2nd, 133), OPS (2nd, .968), slugging (3rd, .568), walks (t-3rd, 35), OBP (5th, .400), runs (t-5th, 42) and doubles (t-7th, 18). Norris has posted a team-best 21 multi-hit games. The Kansas native has thrown out 40% (25-for-65) of would-be basestealers. He entered the season rated as the No. 6 prospect and top overall catching prospect in Washington’s system by Baseball America.

Nats welcome 10 millionth Fan!

IMG_0627.JPGLast night, the Nats welcomed their 10 millionth fan to the ballpark since moving to the District in 2005. Mark Strattner, a Washington native and huge Nationals fan, was the designated 10 millionth fan.


Strattner received a Ryan Zimmerman signed jersey and two tickets to the Elton John and Billy Joel concert at the ballpark on July 11.


IMG_0628.JPGStrattner will also receive four Lexus Presidents Club tickets and field passes to watch batting practice at an upcoming Nationals home game. Additionally, the ballclub will award him an official Nationals Park seat to take home, complete with a plaque recognizing him as the 10 millionth fan in Nationals franchise history.


“It’s a great honor. I can’t believe the team has been around long enough to have 10 million fans,” said Strattner, who is a Nationals season ticket holder. “I knew it wasn’t a joke. Actually, they told me I would be winning a prize.”


Team president Stan Kasten voiced his pleasure about Strattner being the 10 millionth fan.


“The Nationals are thrilled to have welcomed their 10 millionth fan tonight at Nationals Park,” Kasten said. “We look forward to reaching additional milestones as we continue to grow our fan base and improve the ballclub and fan experience at Nationals Park.”


Strattner likes what he sees in the Nats for the years to come.


“We have to survive this year and I think things will start improving next season,” Strattner said. “I love the starting pitchers. I think they are showing great promise.”


Sox sink Nats for second straight night

Starting pitcher Craig Stammen was perfect through three innings and the Nationals out hit the Red Sox and still fell to them last night, 6-4, in front of 41,530 fans. Once again, the Nationals broke their own attendance record, set the previous night, but the home crowd wasn’t enough to rally the team. Stammen gave up home runs to David Ortiz and Jason Varitek, scoring five of the Sox six runs.bard.jpg

“When you play against a team in that category, you have to play perfect baseball,” said Manager Manny Acta. “And today, one pitch basically cost us the game.”

A scary moment happened early in the game. On a broken bat grounder by Elijah Dukes in the second inning, both the ball and the splintered bat flew at Sox shortstop Nick Green. Green avoided getting hit by the bat but missed the ball, giving Dukes a hit. The bat finally landed stuck upright in the ground.

Late in the game, the Nationals tried to rally back by scoring runs in the 6th and 7th innings off of a single by Josh Willingham and a triple by Cristian Guzman. In the eighth inning Adam Dunn, who started the game on the bench due to a sore wrist, pinch hit with a runner on first and two outs. He drew a walk, bringing the winning run to the plate in the form of Ronnie Belliard who struck out swinging. This was the closest the Nationals would come as Jonathan Papelbon mowed down the side in order for his 17th save of the season.

Some notes about tonight’s game:

Jordan Zimmermann faces off against pitching great John Smoltz in his first start for Boston. When John Smoltz debuted on July 23, 1988, Zimmermann was only two years old. Zimmermann also went up against another future Hall of Fame pitcher this season: Randy Johnson in his 300th win.

With a home run last night, David Ortiz is now tied with Adam Dunn with 296 career home runs. Dunn has an advantage over Ortiz, as he averages 13.9 at bats per home run while Ortiz is at 16.43 at bats per home run. Dunn hit his last home run on June 17th against the New York Yankees.

In other Nationals news:

– Last night, the Nationals welcomed their 10 millionth fan

Nats recall RHP Tyler Clippard at the expense of Kip Wells

Willie Harris is looking forward to facing former teammate John Smoltz 

Nats recall RHP Tyler Clippard

060908-171 tyler clippard.JPGThe Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard from the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs and designated right-handed pitcher Kip Wells for assignment.


Clippard, 24, joins the Nationals having worked 19.0 consecutive innings–a stretch that began May 18 and spanned 14 appearances–without allowing an earned run (one unearned run). Clippard earned the promotion, however, on the merits of his entire 2009 campaign, as he is 4-1 with one save and a 0.92 ERA (4 ER/39.0 IP) in 24 appearances.


In 39.0 innings this season, Clippard has walked 15, struck out 42, been touched for just two home runs and posted a stingy .150 (20-for-133) batting average against. Clippard was especially tough when facing International League left-handed batters, limiting them to a .091 (5-for-55) mark.


A starting pitcher for the vast majority of his career, Clippard was shifted exclusively to the bullpen for the first time in 2009. Clippard made a pair of starts (June 9 vs. San Francisco, June 14 at Seattle) for Washington in 2008, going 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA. He was acquired from New York (AL) on December 5, 2007 in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo.


The 32 year-old Wells was 0-2 with two saves and a 6.49 ERA (19 ER/26.1 IP) in 23 relief appearances with the Nationals this season.

Lineups for 6/24

Adam Dunn gets his first breather of the season. Willie Harris is leading off for the third time this season. He is batting .250 (2-for-8) with one run in the No. 1 spot. David Ortiz gets the start at first base.


Red Sox:


Pedroia – 2B

Drew – RF

Youkilis – 3B

Bay – LF

Ortiz – 1B

Varitek – C

Ellsbury – CF

Green – SS

Lester – P




Harris – CF

Guzman – SS

Zimmerman – 3B

Johnson – 1B

Willingham – LF

Dukes – RF

Hernandez – 2B

Nieves – C

Stammen – P


Sox take first game in Nation vs Town battle

Lannan vs Sox.jpg

Last night, Boston came to town for the first time and
showed the Nationals why they have won two out of the last five World Series’
by beating
the Nats 11-3
in front of 41,517 fans- a Nationals Park record. The
game was more competitive than the score indicates, as it was tied through six
innings. Ryan Zimmerman snapped an 0-for-17 skid, going 2-for-3 with one walk
and 2 runs scored, and Cristian Guzman has recorded 6 consecutive multi-hit
games, going 14-for-30 (.466) with 2 doubles and 4 runs scored during the tear.
Also starter John
went 6.1 innings giving up three runs on nine hits, though he did
not factor into the decision as he left with a tie game. Julian
, pitching against his former team, gave up the go ahead run in
the sixth. The Sox opened up the lead even more in the eighth when they scored
six runs off of reliever
Jesus Colom

“Our situational hitting is not up to par,” said Manager Manny Acta. “We had a
chance there to take the lead and build some momentum. We just couldn’t score a

The Nationals face the Red Sox tonight at 7:05 when RHP Craig Stammen faces LHP
Jon Lester.

In other Nationals News:

– Even through tough times, Nats’ young pitching rotation still

– With his great play of late, Willie
has earned
a starting spot
in the line up

– Red Sox pitcher John Smoltz talks
about his experiences
working with Nationals President Stan Kasten

– Pitcher Matt Chico, recovering from Tommy John surgery, on
the road to recovery