July 2009

T-Shirt Contest

Now’s your chance to make your voice heard or drawings displayed on a future T-Shirt Tuesday design.

The ever-so-popular T-
Shirt Tuesday is letting you decide the design for the Sept. 22nd game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. You can either cast your vote or design your own image.

If you so choose to put your artistic design skills on display, submit your image(s) to natstown@nationals.com. If your design is picked and printed on the 10,000 T-Shirts, you will win four tickets to that night’s game. (Consolation prizes being awarded to the other top finishers.)

It is real simple. Either cast your vote HERE or craft your own creation. Thanks for helping the Nats pick the subject/design for the Sept. 22nd T-Shirt Tuesday giveaway. Voting and entry submissions will be accepted until August 7th.


Capture the Caption

Gwynn – CF
Cabrera – SS
Gonzalez – 1B
Kouzmanoff  – 3B
Headley – LF
Blanks – RF
Rodriguez – 2B
Alfonzo – C
Latos – P

Harris – CF
Guzman – SS
Zimmerman – 3B
Dunn – LF
Johnson – 1B
Willingham – RF
Bard – C
Gonzalez – 2B
Mock – P

Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to natstown@nationals.com or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free NatsTown T-shirt.

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 And the winning caption is: “Washington Wallows, Teddy Follows.”

Balester makes first start in 2009



Shumaker – 4

Rasmus – 8

Derosa – 3

Ludwick – 9

Ankiel – 7

Molina – 2

Thurston – 5

Ryan – 6

Wainwright – 1 (RHP, 10-6, 3.01)



Morgan – 8

Guzman – 6

Zimmerman – 5

Dunn – 7

Johnson – 3

Willingham – 9

Gonzalez – 4

Bard – 2

Balester – 1 (RHP, No Stats for 2009)



Did You Know: The Nationals three games against the Mets earlier this week lasted 2:16, 2:09 and 2:20. It was the first three game series in which every game lasted 2:20 or less since July 9-11, 2004, when the White Sox swept Seattle in a three game series (2:17, 2:13 and 2:19) at U.S. Cellular Field.


The Nationals current rotation of John Lannan (57 career starts), Collin Balester (15), Craig Stammen (12), Garrett Mock (4) and J.D. Martin (one) have combined for just 89 career starts.


Balester is Back: The Nats placed right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmermann on the 15-Day Disabled List with right elbow discomfort and recalled right-handed pitcher Collin Balester from Triple-A Syracuse. Tonight’s game will be only the eighth game since the All-Star break but J.D. Martin, Garrett Mock and now Collin Balester have started a game for the Nationals. All three were pitching for the Syracuse Chiefs at the break.


balester 1.jpgBalester is starting tonight in the makeup game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The 23-year-old went 6-4 with a 3.38 ERA in his last 12 starts with Syracuse. Over that period, he posted 41 strikeouts and a .274 batting average against in 69.1 innings. Overall, Balester went 7-9 with a 4.35 ERA in 19 Triple-A starts. Rated the top prospect in the Nationals organization by Baseball America entering the 2007 season, Balester went 3-7 with a 5.51 ERA in 15 starts with Washington last season.


Zimmermann, 23, is 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA in 16 starts this season. He ranks in the top ten among NL rookies in the following categories with 92 strikeouts (first), 16 starts (second), 91.1 innings (fourth), three wins (tied for sixth), a 4.63 ERA (seventh) and a .271 batting average against (ninth).


Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to natstown@nationals.com or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free NatsTown T-shirt.


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And the winning caption is: “Lann-in demand!”


Honorable Mention:  

– “The Mayor of NatsTown working the rope line”

Down on the Farm

Down on the Farm 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 Headline

022508-026 chris marrero2.JPGDON’T MISS CHRIS:
  Earlier this week, Potomac 1B Chris Marrero was named Single-A Carolina League Player of the Week by MILB.com for the period of July 13-19. Marrero hit .500 (12-for-24) with one double, one triple, one home run, four RBI and eight runs scored to garner the award. The 21-year-old leads the CL with 99 hits, and ranks among the league leaders in batting average, total bases, RBI, home runs, OPS and slugging. Marrero was Washington’s first round pick (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.


Chiefs 2.JPGTriple-A Syracuse Chiefs

International League North Division

50-44, 2nd Place, 4.0 Games Back


OF Jorge Padilla, a 2009 IL All-Star selection, leads full-season minor leaguers with a .363 batting average. Padilla has hit safely in 27 of his last 28 games, going 44-for-115 (.383) with 17 runs scored during the tear. His .432 on-base percentage is second-best in the IL. He has reached base safely via hit, walk or HBP 123 times in 81 games (1.5 times per contest).


In his last 11 appearances, RHP Jorge Sosa has allowed just 2 earned runs in 17.1 innings (1.03 ERA). He owns a 1.61 ERA (4 ER/22.1 IP) and a .185 BAA (15-for-87) in 12 games as a reliever. Overall, he is 1-2 with one save and a 3.05 ERA in 16 games (4 starts). He has walked 12 and struck out 46 in 44.1 innings. Sosa signed with the Nationals as a minor-league free agent, December 18, 2008.


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

Eastern League Southern Division

41-54, 5th Place, 17.0 Games Back


RHP Erik Arnesen tossed 7.0 scoreless frames of four-hit ball to earn his 10th win of the season, Saturday at Altoona (Pirates). Arnesen’s 10 wins are tops among Washington farmhands, while his 89 strikeouts rank second. He is 10-4 with a 2.85 ERA in a combined 20 games (19 starts) with Harrisburg and Potomac. Arnesen has gone 6-3 with a 3.12 ERA (27 ER/78.0 IP) in 14 games (13 starts) since joining Harrisburg on May 11. In six starting assignments with the P-Nats, the 25-year-old went 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA (8 ER/32.2 IP).


potomac nationals 1.JPGSingle-A Potomac Nationals

Carolina League Northern Division

First Half: 37-30, 2nd Place, 3.0 Games Back

Second Half: 17-8, First Place, 3.5 Games Ahead


RHP Drew Storen, Washington’s first round pick (10th overall) in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, struck out three in 2.0 scoreless innings to earn the save in his Carolina League debut last night at Lynchburg (Pirates). Prior to joining Potomac on July 19, Storen struck out 26 and did not walk a batter in 14.2 innings (11 games) with Single-A Hagerstown. In 12 combined appearances with Potomac and Hagerstown, the Stanford University product has fanned 29 in 16.2 innings, an average of 15.6 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.   


With his 41st stolen base of the season on July 19 vs. Kinston, OF Boomer Whiting passed fellow Nationals farmhand Ian Desmond to become the P-Nats franchise all-time leader with 55 career steals. Whiting’s professional-high 42 stolen bases this season pace Washington minor leaguers and rank second in the Carolina League. He was selected in the 28th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Louisville (KY).


hagerstown suns 1.JPGSingle-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

First Half: 31-36, T-6th Place, 10.5 Games Back

Second Half: 8-17, 7th Place, 6.5 Games Back


Norris, Derek 1.JPGC Derek Norris
continues to dominate the South Atlantic League, leading the league in nearly every offensive category, including home runs, RBI, total bases, walks and OBP. The 20-year-old paces all catchers in professional baseball in homers and RBI. Norris ranks among full-season minor league leaders in home runs (t-fifth) and slugging percentage (11th, .579). The right-handed hitting slugger has posted a team-best 31 multi-hit games. Per Baseball America, he entered the season rated as the No. six prospect and top overall catching prospect in Washington’s system.


RHP Trevor Holder, Washington’s third-round pick in this June’s Draft, fired 5.0 shutout innings to earn his first win as a professional, Monday vs. Asheville (Rockies). The 22-year-old played collegiately at the University of Georgia.


Short-Season Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters

New York-Penn League Stedler Division

16-14, 2nd Place, 1.5 Games Back


LHP Mitchell Clegg is 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA in six games (four starts) to begin his pro career. He has fired 10.0 consecutive scoreless innings over his last two starts. Clegg was selected by Washington in the 21st round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of UMass.


After being drafted by Washington in the 29th round of the 2009 Draft, LHP Evan Bronson has gone 2-0 with 0.56 ERA in his first seven games as a pro. The southpaw has struck out 12 and has yet to walk a batter in 16.0 innings. Bronson played collegiately at Trinity College (TX).


Gulf Coast League Nationals

Gulf Coast League East Division

13-10, 2nd Place, 3.0 Games Back


RHP Ruben De La Rosa is 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA in six appearances (14.0 innings) overall. He has 23 strikeouts against just five walks (4.6/1 SO/BB ratio). The Dominican Republic native has worked more than 1.0 inning in five of his six appearances. De La Rosa signed with Washington as a non-drafted free agent, June 29, 2005.



Lineups for 7/22

Lannan resized.jpgPicture Perfect:
John Lannan pitched his first complete-game shutout last night but Manager Jim Riggleman got the game ball after picking up his first victory as manager.



Pagan – CF

Castillo – 2B

Murphy – 1B

Wright – 3B

Francoeur – RF

Sullivan – LF

Berroa – SS

Schneider – C

Pelfrey – P (RHP, 7-5, 5.07)



Morgan – CF

Guzman – SS

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – LF

Johnson – 1B

Willingham – RF

Belliard – 2B

Bard – C

Stammen – P (RHP, 2-5, 4.46)


Did You Know: There are still nine July contests remaining but Nyjer Morgan has already matched the Washington Nationals (2005-present) single-month record for stolen bases with 11. Morgan currently shares the mark with Felipe Lopez, who swiped 11 bags for the Nationals in September of 2006.


Nationals RHP prospect Drew Storen–the 10th overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft–was promoted on Sunday and debuted on Tuesday with the Single-A Potomac Nationals. The Stanford product earned the save, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts and only allowing one hit. Remarkably, as a pro, Storen has fanned 29 batters while issuing ZERO walks in his initial 16.2 professional innings spanning 12 appearances with Potomac and the Hagerstown Suns.


Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to natstown@nationals.com or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free NatsTown T-shirt.


Morgan resized.jpg

And the winning caption is: “Guys… Guys… Why did you duct tape me to the wall again? You said once J.D. Martin came up, it would be his turn.”


Honorable Mentions:  

– “I reached for the stars and got a little round ball instead”

– “See Nyjer. See Nyjer jump. Jump Nyjer jump!!!”

– “Only two more letters to paint and I will be done

– “Going up? Forth floor, housewares, men’s suits, baseballs?

– “Gravity can’t stop Nyjer, it can only hope to contain him”


Thank you for your entries and look for another “Capture the Caption” later today!


Burnett Brings the Heat

It has been three weeks since the Nationals shipped OF Lastings Milledge and RHP Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates for OF Nyjer Moran and LHP Sean Burnett. Both players have made immediate impacts for the Nats. Morgan has been lightning fast on the base paths and Burnett has been lights out in the bullpen. He has a 1.08 ERA (1 ER/ 8.1 IP) with a .129 batting average against and seven strikeouts in eight outings. He has pitched seven scoreless innings since giving up an earned run in his first appearance as a member of the Nationals. We sat down with Burnett to see how the first three weeks have been.


071609-176 sean burnett.JPGOn the transition from Pittsburgh to Washington:

The first thing was adjusting with my family and moving my stuff over from Pittsburgh. Being in the [Pirates] organization is all we’ve ever known, so to move them here was the first big hassle and now that we’re settled in, got a place to live, it’s adjusting pretty well.


On finding his way around the area:

I just pretty much go from the apartment to the field, nothing too much… but the traffic is a pain. That’s for sure. That’s something different that we haven’t had to deal with but I guess there are a lot more people out here than in Pittsburgh.


On seeing the sites:

No, I haven’t done that yet. I know my parents have and I’m sure they brought my son around but I’m not too interested in all that. I’m sure eventually I’ll get around to that but not right now.


On the difficulty of leaving the city and people of Pittsburgh:

It was just tough because of the friendships. Baseball is baseball and whenever you go somewhere else you’re just going to play baseball and that’s easy to do. It’s just the friendships and the relationships you’ve had along the way and I’ve been there nine years and when I got there I was seventeen years old so I kind of grew up in the Pirates organization. I was just a kid when I first signed. They’ve watched me grow up and they’re a big part of my life and there will always be a place for Pittsburgh and those people and a lot of those relationships still carry on.


On the state of the Pittsburgh Pirates locker room:

I’m sure there are some unhappy people over there and it’s probably only going to get worse during the next couple of weeks but I can’t speak for them. I know it was a disappointment when I was there because we lost Nate [Mclouth]. He was a great friend of mine and we were drafted together and came up together so it was pretty neat to come up with a guy you started with. I know that was a little rough. I’m sure it’s a little different over there after we left, a lot quieter over there with Morgan gone… but it’s baseball. It’s part of the business and you realize it, but just the friendships you lose is the hardest part.


On having Nyjer Morgan with him to ease the transition to the Nationals:

It has helped. We knew each other pretty well throughout the organization. I think coming over together made it a lot easier and easier to relax and stuff like that. I didn’t know too many guys on this team but having Morgan with me and him having me, it was a lot easier of a transition.



Lineups for 7/21


Pagan – CF

Castillo – 2B

Wright – 3B

Francoeur – RF

Tatis – LF

Murphy – 1B

Santos – C

Cora – SS

Perez – P (LHP, 2-2, 7.99)



Morgan – CF

Guzman – SS

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – 1B

Willingham – LF

Kearns – RF

Gonzalez – 2B

Nieves – C

Lannan – P (LHP, 6-7, 3.64)


Did You Know: Lannan has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of last 17 starts. During the 17-start span beginning on April 17, he is 6-5 with a 3.12 ERA (38 ER/109.2 IP). He’s induced a major league-high 17 GIDPs this season, including six in two starts against the Mets (two in five innings on May 25, four in nine-inning complete game on June 6).


The Nationals are one of only eight MLB teams to improve their batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and runs per game outputs this season compared to 2008. The other seven are LAD, LAA, NYY, OAK, PHI, TBR and TOR.


Here is a look at the Nationals increases compared to ’08:


2008: .251

2009: .261 (+.010, fourth highest improvement)


2008: .323

2009: .343 (+.020, the highest improvement)


2008: .373

2009: .402 (+.010, fourth highest improvement)


2008: 3.98

2009: 4.28 (+0.30, eighth highest improvement)


Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to natstown@nationals.com or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free NatsTown T-shirt.


The winning caption is… “And the slide… ouch!”

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Know your Nats: John Lannan

Here at Notes from NatsTown, we want to give YOU the opportunity to get to know some of your favorite players both on and off the field. This week, starter John Lannan will be answering YOUR questions. Submit questions to us via e-mail at natstown@nationals.com and we will post his answers later this week. Check back and see if your question was answered!

041609-128 john lannan.JPG

Lineups for 7/20


Pagan – CF

Castillo – 2B

Murphy – 1B

Wright – 3B

Francoeur – RF

Reed – LF

Cora – SS

Schneider – C

Hernandez – P



Morgan – CF

Belliard – 2B

Johnson – 1B

Dunn – LF

Guzman – SS

Kearns – RF

Harris – 3B

Bard – C

Martin – P (First Major League appearance)


Nyjer Morgan is having the best month of his young career. Since playing in his first game as a National on July 3rd, he is batting .367 (22-for-60) with 10 stolen bases in 14 games. He was caught stealing in the first inning yesterday for the second time in July. Morgan single to left in his next at-bat and then stole second and third to erase any doubts of his speed.


Livan Hernandez is 5-5 in 17 starts with a 5.10 ERA but his best two outings of the season have been against the Nationals. He pitched a one-run complete game on May 26th and made only one mistake, a ball Adam Dunn hit out of the park. On June 7th, he pitched 7.0 scoreless innings and gave up only four hits.


Capture the Caption:

Grill off.JPG

J.D. Martin to make Major League debut

Following yesterday’s series finale, the Nationals placed left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen on the 15-Day Disabled List (left shoulder), retroactive to July 11,  designated right-handed pitcher Julian Tavarez for assignment, and selected the contracts of right-handed pitcher J.D. Martin and right-handed pitcher Logan Kensing from Triple-A Syracuse.


JD Martin.jpgMartin, 26, will make his Major League debut tonight against the Mets. Martin went 8-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) for Syracuse to earn the promotion. Martin posted a 6.3/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio en route to posting those eight wins, which are tied for second in the IL. Last week, Martin represented Syracuse in the Triple-A All-Star Game.


The 27-year-old Kensing joins the Nationals after posting 12 saves in 13 opportunities and a 3.91 ERA in 23 appearances during a nearly two-month stint with Syracuse. While with the Chiefs, Kensing walked just five and struck out 24 in 25.1 innings. Kensing joins the Nationals for the second time this season. He was acquired from the Florida Marlins on April 29 in exchange for right-handed pitcher Kyle Gunderson.


Olsen, 25, is 2-4 with a 6.03 ERA in 11 starts for the Nationals this season. He last pitched on July 10 at Houston.


Tavarez, 36, went 3-7 with five holds, one save and a 4.89 ERA in 42 appearances with Washington this season.