July 2010

Inside Pitch Live with Nyjer Morgan

Center fielder Nyjer Morgan spent some time prior to today’s game in the PNC Diamond Club, fielding questions for this week’s installment of “Inside Pitch Live.” The following are excerpts from that conversation:

What’s your favorite thing about being here with the Nationals?

NM: The fans. Most definitely the fans. Without the fans, we don’t go out there and give it all that we have to put on the field. The most important thing is the fans, to me.

You sound great with the microphone. Do you have any aspirations to go into broadcasting after you retire?

I’ll wait about that a little bit later (laughing).

Who’s the toughest pitcher you’ve faced and why?

This year, Hudson is pretty solid. But in my eyes, that kid, I think he got put on the DL, [Jorge] de la Rosa–the lefty from Colorado. He’s got electric stuff just like Ubaldo, but he hasn’t really figured it out like Ubaldo yet. But basically he’s pretty nasty.

Did you face Venters from the Braves yet?

Yes.

Is he pretty tough?

Not as nasty as de la Rosa.

What base is easier to steal?

They say third, but I think second is a lot easier.

What is the hardest thing to do at center field, dive or jump? You seem pretty good at climbing the walls.

Yeah, I like climbing the walls. I don’t like dropping them at the wall (laughing)…

How happy are you that Adam Dunn stays with the Nationals?

Oh, very happy. We need that big guy in our lineup. I’m glad we didn’t trade him. It’s going to be beneficial to us next year as well.

Nats land prized prospect Wilson Ramos


Wilson Ramos is  Nat.jpgBuy low, sell high. That’s exactly what the Nationals did Thursday night when they traded closer Matt Capps and cash considerations to the Minnesota Twins for catcher Wilson Ramos and left-handed pitcher Joe Testa. The Twins struck out in their pursuit for a starter like Cliff Lee or Roy Oswalt so they turned their attention to the back end of the bullpen. Capps will be the Twins closer. The Twins solved a short term problem while the Nats could have a catcher for the future.

 

The void left by Capps will likely be filled by a closer by committee with Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen who collectively have two careers saves. They say if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one. The same could be said for closers but it might not be long before the Nats settle in on a specific closer.

 

Ramos is a defensively sound, power-bat backstop and was the Twins best trade chip due to some guy named Joe Mauer. Ramos is regarded as one of baseball’s top prospects and entered 2010 rated as the Twins’ best power hitter, best defensive catcher and No. 2 prospect according to industry-insider Baseball America.

 

The soon-to-be 23-year-old (Aug. 10) Ramos has struggled this season batting .241 with 14 doubles, five home runs and 30 RBI in 71 games with Triple-A Rochester. Last season, Ramos’ first at the Double-A level, he paced all Twins full-season farmhands in batting average (.317), threw out 42 percent of would-be basestealers and was subsequently named the Eastern League’s No. 8 prospect.

 

Ramos–who stands 6-foot-0, 220 lbs.–made his Big League debut with Minnesota in May and batted .296 (8-for-26) with three doubles and one RBI in seven games. He went 4-for-5 in his Major League debut and followed it up going 3-for-4 the next night.

 

The Nationals optioned Ramos to Triple-A Syracuse and assigned Testa to Single-A Potomac.

 

Capps joins a Twins team in the midst of a playoff race–1.5 games behind the White Sox–and enters a division that has required a one game playoff to determine the division champion the past two seasons. He has been lights-out since Strasburg made his debut–probably coincidence more than anything else. Since June 8, Capps is 3-0 and is 8-for-8 in save opportunities with a 1.45 ERA (3 ER/18.2 IP), 13 punch outs and only two walks in 19 games.

 

In his 10 outings before Strasburg’s debut, Capps blew four saves and went 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA (9 ER/ 8.0 IP) and a .467 BAA.

Strasburg to DL and Lineups

In a move that seemed inevitable, the Nationals placed right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the 15-Day DL with right shoulder inflammation, retroactive to July 22–the day after his last start.

 

“They’re taking every precaution with me,” Strasburg said. “It’s doing great already, making big strides, so I’ll just keep getting better, keep getting stronger and when the time comes, I’m going to be ready to go.”

 

The move made room for Scott Olsen who will take the hill for the Nats in his first start since May 21. Olsen has been out with shoulder stiffness.

 

Olsen missed the last 59 games after he was placed on the DL on May 22 with left shoulder tightness. The 26-year-old went 0-0 with a 3.21 ERA (5 ER/14.0 IP) in four rehab starts. Olsen is 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA in eight starts with the Nationals this season. In the six starts prior to his DL stint, he went 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA.

 

Braves (58-42):

1.    Martin Prado – 2B

2.    Jason Heyward – RF

3.    Chipper Jones – 3B

4.    Troy Glaus – 1B

5.    Matt Diaz – LF

6.    Omar Infante – SS

7.    David Ross – C

8.    Melky Cabrera – CF

9.    Derek Lowe – SP (10-8, 4.48 ERA)

 Nationals (43-58):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF 

6.      Michael Morse – RF

7.      Ian Desmond – SS

8.      Wil Nieves – C

9.      Scott Olsen – SP (2-2, 3.77 ERA)

 

The Minority Report: An in-depth look at the Nats’ Minor League system

The Nationals Minor League report (
MLR 7-28-10.pdf) is a bi-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

MOORE COWBELL:  On Monday, Potomac 1B Tyler Moore was named MiLB.com Single-A Carolina League Player of the Week for the second consecutive week (July 12-18 & July 19-25). During the two award-winning “weeks”, he hit a combined .481 (25-for-52) with seven homers, 10 doubles, 26 RBI and a 1.077 slugging percentage in 13 games. Moore’s 34 doubles are tied for tops in all of Minor League baseball, while his 53 extra-base hits are tied for fifth in MiLB. Moore, Washington’s 16th-round pick from the 2008 Draft, leads the Carolina League in doubles, homers (17) and RBI (73).

 


Chiefs 2.JPGTriple-A Syracuse Chiefs

International League North Division

54-50, 2nd Place, 6.0 Games Behind

 

WHERE THERE’S A WILKIE, THERE’S A WAY:  RHP Josh Wilkie, who played collegiately at nearby George Washington University, has allowed just three earned runs over 23.2 innings (1.14 ERA) in 19 appearances (one start) beginning June 1. Wilkie, 26, owns a 1.64 ERA in 37 appearances (one start) overall. In 49.1 innings of work, he has allowed just one home run, fanned 39 (7.1 K’s per 9.0 innings) and has posted a .218 BAA.

 

GET OUT OF MY DREAMS, GET INTO MY CARR!:  In his Triple-A debut last night, RHP Adam Carr struck out four in 2.2 scoreless innings. Carr, 26, was promoted from Double-A Harrisburg to Syracuse on Monday. In 36 appearances with Harrisburg, Carr posted a 3.04 ERA and recorded 48 strikeouts in 50.1 innings pitched (8.58 strikeouts per 9.0 innings). Washington selected Carr with its 18th-round pick in the 2006 Draft.

 


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

Eastern League Western Division

52-53, 4th Place, 9.0 Games Behind

 

DON’T MISS CHRIS:  1B Chris Marrero is batting .352 (64-for-193) with 12 doubles, five homers, 30 RBI and 27 runs scored in 53 games beginning June 1. The right-handed hitting slugger has reached base safely via hit (64), walk (19) or HBP (two) 85 times (1.6 times per contest) during that stretch. In 104 games overall, Marrero is batting .292 with 19 doubles, 13 home runs and 59 RBI. The 22-year-old was the Nationals’ top selection (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 

SHOWING HIS FEATHERS:  In his Double-A debut earlier this afternoon, RHP Brad Peacock fired 7.0 shutout innings of two-hit, five-strikeout ball vs. New Hampshire (Blue Jays). At the time of his July 26 promotion from Potomac to Harrisburg, Peacock ranked second in the Carolina League with 118 strikeouts. Earlier this season, he earned MiLB.com Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honors for the period of July 5-11. The 22-year-old was drafted by Washington in the 41st round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 

MARTIN PAYNE:  In his first domestic season as a pro, RHP Rafael Martin has enjoyed immediate success. Martin has gone 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA and a .207 BAA in 38 appearances en route to earning a 2010 mid-season Eastern League All-Star selection. After struggling during the month of May (4.85 ERA in 11 apps.), he has posted a 2.67 ERA (9 ER/30.1 IP) in 20 appearances beginning June 2. Martin signed with the Nationals as a minor-league free agent, February 25, 2010.

 

CHUCKY DOLL:  LHP Chuck James is 5-0 with a minuscule 0.91 ERA in 13 games (two starts). He’s offered scoreless relief in 12 of 13 appearances, and has fired 11.0 straight scoreless innings. With 31 strikeouts and just two walks in 29.2 innings, James has posted a 15.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 9.4 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. James signed with Washington as a minor-league free agent prior to the 2010 season.

 


potomac nationals 1.JPGSingle-A Potomac Nationals

Carolina League Northern Division

First Half – 31-39, 3rd Place, 10.0 Games Behind

Second Half – 17-14, 2nd Place, 2.0 Games Behind

 

STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES:  In his 2nd Carolina League start, LHP Dan Rosenbaum tossed 8.0 scoreless innings of five-hit ball to earn the win, Monday at Wilmington (Royals). Since joining Potomac on July 20, the southpaw is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA (1 ER/13.0 IP) and a .182 BAA (8-for-44). Before his promotion, he recorded a 2.37 ERA (27 ER/102.2 IP) in 18 starting assignments with Hagerstown of the Single-A South Atlantic League. Overall, Rosenbaum has posted an impressive 2.18 ERA in 20 combined starts with Potomac and Hagerstown. Rosenbaum was selected in the 22nd round of the 2009 Draft out of Xavier University (OH).

 

EVEN STEPHEN:  2B Stephen Lombardozzi ranks among the top 10 Carolina League hitters in runs scored (t-1st, 66), triples (t-1st, nine), walks (5th, 46), hits (6th, 114), stolen bases (7th, 19), OBP (9th, .371) and total bases (10th, 161). The 2009 mid-season Single-A South Atlantic League All-Star finished second in the SAL in both runs scored (90) and hits (147) last season. Lombardozzi was a 19th-round pick in the 2008 Draft out of St. Petersburg JC (FL).

 


hagerstown suns 1.JPGSingle-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

First Half – 36-34, 3rd Place, 6.0 Games Behind

Second Half – 12-20, 7th Place, 9.0 Games Behind

 

JUSTIN CASE YOU MISSED IT:  1B Justin Bloxom continues to be one of the SAL’s best offensive players, as he ranks among the top five SAL batters in hits (2nd, 121), doubles (3rd, 28), total bases (2nd, 187), RBI (4th, 66) and batting average (5th, .307). He’s posted 33 multi-hit games, including 11 three-hit efforts. The 22-year-old Kansas State University product was Washington’s 11th-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

 

GOOD WOOD:  Including a 12-game hitting streak along the way, 2B Jeff Kobernus has hit safely in 23 of 27 games dating to June 29th, raising his batting average 37 points (.251 to .288). During that span, the UC-Berkeley product has hit at a .352 (38-for-108) clip with nine doubles, one homer, 23 RBI, 19 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. Kobernus began the 2010 season rated as the No. 7 prospect in the Washington system according to Baseball America. He was selected in the 2nd round (50th overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

 


vermont_lake_monsters.jpgShort-Season Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters

New York-Penn League Stedler Division

23-14, 1st Place, 3.0 Games Ahead

 

21-HIT SALUTE:  Before going 0-for-2 on Monday, C/DH David Freitas hit safely in a Vermont team-record 21 straight games. During the 21-game tear, he posted 12 multi-hit efforts and batted .425 (34-for-80). His .373 batting average is second-best in the NY-Penn League. The 21-year-old was selected in the 15th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Hawaii.

 

BLAKE IS LIVELY:  INF Blake Kelso, selected in the 10th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, is hitting .327 with four doubles, 12 RBI and 10 runs scored in 27 contests. The University of Houston product has hit safely in 21 of 27 games as a pro.

 

Gulf Coast League Nationals

Gulf Coast League East Division

12-19, 5th Place, 8.5 Games Behind

 

YO, ADRIAN!:  SS Adrian Sanchez continues to be one of the GCL’s top hitters, ranking among league leaders in average (2nd, .361), OPS (2nd, .920), doubles (t-4th, nine), homers (t-3rd, three) and runs scored (t-4th, 20). Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, the switch-hitting shortstop was signed by the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent before the 2007 season.

 

BILLY THE KID:  RHP Billy Ott hasn’t allowed a run since his professional debut, firing 18.0 consecutive scoreless innings beginning June 27. He’s allowed just one earned run in 19.0 IP (0.47 ERA) overall. He’s fanned 15 and walked just two. Ott, 22, has worked 3.0 or more innings in four of his appearances. He was signed by Washington as a non-drafted free agent on June 17, 2010 after completing his college career at Cal State Northridge.

 

HANDY RANDY:  OF Randolph Oduber has hit safely in 13 of 15 games this season…he is 24-for-63 (.381) with three doubles, three triples, three home runs, 14 RBI, 16 runs scored and a 1.095 OPS. Oduber was selected in the 32nd round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Western Oklahoma State Junior College.

Nyjer Morgan heats up


nyjer morgan stealing third.JPGLast night, Nyjer Morgan singled, swiped two bags and scored on an error–all before Cristian Guzman, the second batter of the game, left the batter’s box. The game was indicative of his recent July surge. Morgan is batting .288 this month, an increase of over 30 points from his .252 batting average the rest of the season, while his on-base percentage has increased from .314 to .333 over the same time. He’s been doing his job in center field, too, committing zero errors thus far in July.

But the most notable improvement is Morgan’s baserunning. His 10 stolen bases in July pace the Majors and he’s only been caught once since July 3. He successfully stole 17 bases in the three preceding months combined.

Morgan set a career high and became the first player in Nationals history with three steals in one game last Thursday against the Reds, while recording two hits and a walk. Always one to be assertive, Morgan says he’s trying to change his approach.

“I am just getting good jumps, getting good reads out there,” Morgan said. “I was trying not to really be so aggressive. I’m trying to let it come to me, trying not to do too much. After analyzing after so long, after so many months, I was trying to do a little too much.”

Maybe that’s because it was this time last year that Morgan had a monstrous month also. He posted a batting average of .388, an on-base percentage of .418 and a .495 slugging percentage last July, after starting his first game in a Nationals uniform on July 3. Since then, fans have come to expect the same kind of production every month from the Nationals’ leadoff man. Perhaps Nyjer Morgan expected it of himself too. When it didn’t come to fruition the first few months of this season, questions began to arise. But July is showing a return to form for Morgan.

“Once it clicks, it’s about to go off,” Morgan said. “And I feel like something is about to pop off right now.”

Braves (57-42):

1.    Martin Prado – 2B

2.    Jason Heyward – RF

3.    Chipper Jones – 3B

4.    Brian McCann – C

5.    Eric Hinske – LF

6.    Troy Glaus – 1B

7.    Alex Gonzalez – SS

8.    Melky Cabrera – CF

9.    Tim Hudson – SP (10-5, 2.47 ERA)

 Nationals (43-57):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Roger Bernadina – RF 

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Willie Harris – LF

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Livan Hernandez – SP (7-6, 3.12 ERA)

* With last night’s 3-0 victory over the Braves, the Nationals have won their last five consecutive series openers at Nationals Park.

* Last night, Miguel Batista earned his first win as a starter since May 11, 2008 vs. the Chicago White Sox. He struck out six and allowed three hits in 5.0 shutout innings.

* Josh Willingham has reached base safely via hit or walk in 19 consecutive games. During that stretch, Willingham is hitting .333 (23-for-69) with five doubles, one triple, three home runs, six RBI, 11 walks and a .425 on-base percentage.

Miguel Batista didn’t disappoint but here are ten things that will


Miguel Batista for stras.jpgThere were 40,043 disappointed fans last night when Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his scheduled start. They came to see Strasburg but they got Miguel Batista. Who? Fans booed when it was announced that he was starting but they cheered him when he was named the player of the game in the 3-0 victory. Fans might have been disappointed at first but Batista did his best Strasburg imitation–pitching 5.0 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and tallying six strikeouts. If there is one thing for sure, Strasburg couldn’t have allowed fewer runs.

That got us thinking about other disappointing events. Here are 10 things that could leave anyone disappointed:

1.     “Imagine if you go there to see Miss Universe and you end up having Miss Iowa,” Batista said.

2.     Right along those lines, imagine if you go to see the movie Gladiator and they play Gigli. I still want to know who read that script and was like, “This is a brilliant idea. Get Ben Affleck on the phone right now.”

3.     You search for the field of dreams and your journey takes you to Iowa. That alone could leave a person depressed but then you don’t find anything but corn fields and, of course, more corn fields. Someone tells you the field of dreams is fake. You then build it, and nobody comes.

4.     Justin Bieber performs on Saturday Night Live and he encounters technical difficulties. His music stops playing and everyone finds out that he lip sings. The following day, an investigative reporter discovers that he forged his birth certificate and he is really 32 years old. His hit single Baby–the most watched video on YouTube with 263,355,863 hits and counting–loses the top spot shortly after.

5.     Your boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes with a ring pop. It is safe to say the only way that can end is with an emphatic “NO!” and slap.

6.     You are sky diving and your parachute doesn’t open. Can you imagine what your next thought is? Thankfully, your friend attaches to you and saves the day… and your life.

7.     You get to Pee-Wee’s play house and realize it isn’t the play house you were expecting.

8.     You buy the four Power Rangers–Jason (Red Ranger), Kimberly (Pink Ranger), Zack (Black Ranger), and Trini (Yellow Ranger)–after you saw a commercial on TV of them flying and saving the world. You open the box and quickly realize they don’t do anything you thought they did.

9.     Your mom tells you Santa Claus is fake.

10.   Stephen Strasburg misses a start and you find out he is human.

July 27 is a special day in baseball


willingham1.jpgOn this day last year, Josh Willingham made Major League history by blasting two grand slams and tallying eight RBI in the Nationals’ 14-6 win over the Brewers at Miller Park. Willingham became just the 13th player in MLB history, and just the third NL player ever, to hit a pair of bases-loaded homers in a single game.

 

Interestingly enough, Willingham was not the first player to accomplish the feat on July 27. Rudy York of Boston hit a pair of grand slams on July 27, 1946, as his Red Sox beat the St. Louis Browns 13-6.

 

In fact, looking back through the years, July 27th holds claim to several odd events in baseball history:

 

1918: Brooklyn starting hurler Henry Heitman makes his Major League debut against the St. Louis Cardinals, but after giving up four hits to the first four batters he faced, he was yanked from the game. The 21-year-old right hander never pitched again in the Majors, completing one of the shortest careers in the Big Leagues ever.

 

1930: Cincinnati’s Ken Ash earned his last Major League victory with just one pitch. Ash came in as a reliever in the fifth inning with the bases loaded, no outs and the Cubs up by one run on his Reds. On his first pitch, he got Chicago’s Charlie Grimm to hit into a triple play, and although removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning, Ash was credited in the 6-5 win.

 

1947: Jake Jones of Boston hit a triple that traveled just 60 feet in the Red Sox’s 4-3 victory over the Browns at Fenway Park. Hall of Fame umpire Cal Hubbard awarded Jones the three bases when St. Louis pitcher Fred Sanford, threw his glove at the roller traveling outside the third base line to prevent it from potentially rolling fair.

 

1966: The Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled a lower court decision that required the Braves to return to Milwaukee, holding that the state did not have the jurisdiction to keep the Braves from moving to Atlanta.

 

1998: In a sport where records are made to be broken, Tyrone Horne completed a feat that had never been accomplished before and has yet to be touched again–hitting for a home run cycle in a professional baseball game. His two-run homer in the first inning, grand slam in the second, solo shot in the fifth and three-run blast in the sixth propelled his Double-A Arkansas Travelers to a 13-4 victory at San Antonio.

 

2010: ???

 

Braves (57-41):

1.    Martin Prado – 2B

2.    Jason Heyward – RF

3.    Chipper Jones – 3B

4.    Brian McCann – C

5.    Eric Hinske – LF

6.    Troy Glaus – 1B

7.    Alex Gonzalez – SS

8.    Melky Cabrera – CF

9.    Tommy Hanson – SP (8-6, 4.12 ERA)

 

* Atlanta dropped two of three games in their weekend series at the Marlins, marking its first series loss to an NL team since it lost two of three at Philadelphia over two months ago (May 7-9).

 Nationals (42-57):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Roger Bernadina – RF

7.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Stephen Strasburg – SP (5-2, 2.32 ERA)

 

* Washington is the only club to sport three teammates ranked among the NL’s top 15 in OPS, thanks to Ryan Zimmerman (8th, .903), Adam Dunn (4th, .935) and Josh Willingham (15th, .880). In the AL, only Boston can match this claim, thanks to their trio of Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltre and David Ortiz.

* Nyjer Morgan has been successful on eight of his last nine stolen-base attempts. His eight swipes this month are tied for the Major League lead with the A’s Coco Crisp, the Mets’ Angel Pagan and the Diamondback’s Chris Young.

Q&A with Stephen Strasburg


Strasburg no man is an island.JPGIt is hard to believe that Stephen Strasburg is just 22-years-old. Most kids his age are worried about the job market right now but Strasburg is just worried about winning his sixth game in his tenth Major League start. He hasn’t even pitched in the Majors for two months but he has already become a national sensation.

 

According to the omnipotent Elias Sports Bureau, Strasburg is just the second pitcher in MLB history to strike out five or more and allowed three earned runs or less in each of first nine Big League starts. Who is the other pitcher? He is joined on the short list by the Red’s Gary Nolen (11 starts in ’67).

 

 Yeah, he is kind of a big deal. Notes from NatsTown sat down with him to find out what it is like to be Stephen Strasburg. You might be surprised.

Have you been able to adjust to the DC lifestyle?

It’s not much different than what it is back home. I’ve been used to the professional baseball lifestyle since the start of the season. It’s pretty much the same thing–show up to the field around 2 p.m., get your work in when you’re not pitching. When you are pitching, try to go out there and answer the bell.

I watched the interview when you and Drew interviewed each other at Harrisburg. You’re a really funny person. Do you ever feel like you’re not able to show that side?

I don’t know. I feel like if the questions are good, it helps me to relax a little bit. But some people just don’t like that sense of humor, so sometimes you just got to be boring.

Do you like being boring?

It’s easier. It’s easier to not slip up or anything.

It seems like you and Drew Storen’s personalities really complement each other well. What is the importance of having Drew as a teammate?

Drew’s a great guy. He’s the kind of guy that you can watch and see what it means to be a true competitor. He’s not going out there, necessarily, and competing against the other team. He’s competing with himself. And if he’s able to get his stuff down, compete, and do what he knows he can, it doesn’t matter who’s in the box, he’s going to get them out.

Is that how you would describe yourself as a competitor?

Absolutely because you can’t control who’s in the box. You can only control the time right before the ball leaves your hand and then after that, it’s out of your control.


Strasburg and Pudge.jpgWhat have you learned about pitching in particular during your first two months?

I’ve learned that it’s going to take a few times just to get comfortable, get experience, to learn how to get a game plan for certain people. Bottom line, I’m just enjoying this ride here and not really putting too many expectations on myself and whatever happens, happens.

From the day you were drafted to your Major League debut was a perfect calendar year. How would you describe that 365-day journey?

It seems like it was yesterday. This year is such a blur. Things have happened and I’m very thankful for everything.

Have you been able to take a step back and reflect on your Major League debut?

Not really. I’m always living in the now, looking towards the future. Obviously, if you asked me, “What do you want your debut to be like?” I’m sure it would be something like that. But like I said, I didn’t have any expectations and I’m going to continue to not have any expectations because that’s where a guy is going to get in trouble. Sometimes he hears the hype and starts to believe it. That’s just not what I’m about because a lot of that hype can be a little out there.


Strasburg debut crowd.JPGThere is stuff about you everywhere. How do you avoid the hype? Is it possible? It seems like you can’t turn on your TV.

I just don’t really watch the sports channels.

You’re even on the Spanish channels.

I don’t know too much Spanish. It’s all good. It’s good for this organization, to get national exposure, but I don’t take anything to heart.

You did David Letterman’s Top Ten. Do you really put Icy Hot on your toast?

No, I don’t think that’s healthy.

What is it like being Stephen Strasburg?

I am just another guy in the clubhouse, to be quite honest. That’s one thing–people on the outside see all this stuff on the TV and they think I’m somebody that I’m really not. I’m just another guy. We’re all coming out here, trying to win some games. That’s how I’m always going to be.

Is it hard to have that mentality that you’re just another guy when everyone else sees you as anything but another guy?

It’s tough, but I’ve been very thankful to have a great support system in my life, been around some coaches throughout my career that have really put everything into perspective. I know what’s important and the importance of being a good teammate and really going out there to fight for what you believe in. And I’m going to do that for however long my career is.

Your career is just beginning but that hasn’t stopped people from coming up with Strasburg-isms. You want to hear a few?

Sure.

Here are some funny one’s I found:

“Stephen Strasburg once struck out former San Diego State coach Tony Gwynn… in 1993.”

“In his first start in the ’08 Olympics, Strasburg held the Netherlands to one hit over seven innings. Citing an unfair advantage, the IOC voted baseball out of the 2012 games.”

“There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Stephen Strasburg lives in Washington, DC.”

“Though a native of San Diego, Strasburg never took up surfing, indicating tendency to ‘walk on water’ as a major impediment.”

“Sony created PlayStation 3 because it was the only way to fit Stephen Strasburg’s greatness onto one screen.”

Those are pretty funny.  If you’re compared to Chuck Norris, that’s saying something (laughing).

The Minority Report: An in-depth look at the Nats’ Minor League system

The Nationals Minor League report (
MLR 7-14-10.pdf) is a bi-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

 I’M SEEING STARS…ALL-STARS!:  The Harrisburg Senators tonight host the 2010 Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game at Metro Bank Park…the Eastern League’s Western Division All-Stars will take on All-Stars from the Eastern Division with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m….the Senators had 7 players selected to the Western Division squad:  RHP Adam Carr, SS Danny Espinosa, 1B Chris Marrero, RHP Rafael Martin, INF Michael Martinez, LHP Tom Milone and C Jhonatan Solano…additionally, Harrisburg Manager Randy Knorr and his staff from the Senators will lead the Western Division squad…also later today, 1B Chris Marrero (12 home runs) and INF Michael Martinez (7 homers) will participate in the EL Home Run Derby.

 


Chiefs 2.JPGTriple-A Syracuse Chiefs

International League North Division

51-40, 2nd Place, 2.0 Games Behind

 

THRILL OF THE CHASE:  2B/3B Chase Lambin will represent the Syracuse Chiefs as a member of the International League All-Star team at tonight’s Triple-A All-Star game…the International League All-Stars will face off against the Triple-A Pacific Coast League All-Stars at Lehigh Valley’s (Phillies) Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA…tonight’s IL vs. PCL tussle can be seen live on MLB Network with coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m…Lambin is hitting .288 with 28 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers and 45 RBI in 88 games…he ranks among IL leaders in doubles (3rd) and total bases (t-4th, 154)…Lambin signed with Washington as a minor-league free agent, January 7, 2010.

 

WHERE THERE’S A WILKIE, THERE’S A WAY:  RHP Josh Wilkie, who played collegiately at nearby George Washington University, has allowed just 2 earned runs over 17.0 innings (1.05 ERA) in 14 appearances beginning June 1…Wilkie, 25, owns a 1.69 ERA in 32 appearances overall…in 42.2 innings of work, he has allowed just one home run, fanned 35 (7.4 K’s per 9.0 innings) and has posted a .216 BAA.

 


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

Eastern League Western Division

44-47, 4th Place, 12.0 Games Behind

 

DON’T MISS CHRIS:  1B Chris Marrero has hit safely in 47 of his last 55 games, batting at a .333 (70-for-210) clip with 10 doubles, 9 homers and 33 RBI…the right-handed hitting slugger has reached base safely via hit (70), walk (17) or HBP (1) 88 times (1.6 times per contest) during that stretch…Marrero hit .359 (37-for-103) in 28 games during the month of June…in 91 games overall, Marrero is batting .292 with 16 doubles, 12 home runs and 50 RBI…the 22-year-old was the Nationals’ top selection (15th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 

DR. KIMBALL:  RHP Cole Kimball is a combined 5-1 with a 1.56 ERA in 35 appearances with Harrisburg and Potomac of the Single-A Carolina League…he’s offered scoreless relief in 27 of 35 appearances…since being promoted to Harrisburg on May 27, Kimball is 2-1 with a 1.32 ERA (4 ER/27.1 IP) and a stingy .147 BAA (14-for-95) in 16 appearances…the 24-year-old began the season with Potomac, where he went 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA (5 ER/24.2 IP) in 19 games…Kimball was Washington’s 12th-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Centenary College (NJ).

 

MARTIN PAYNE:  In his first domestic season as a pro, RHP Rafael Martin has enjoyed immediate success…Martin has gone 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA and a .203 BAA in 33 appearances en route to earning a 2010 Eastern League All-Star selection…after struggling during the month of May (4.85 ERA in 11 apps.), he has posted a 2.18 ERA (6 ER/24.2 IP) in 15 appearances beginning June 2…Martin signed with the Nationals as a minor-league free agent, February 25, 2010.

 


potomac nationals 1.JPGSingle-A Potomac Nationals

Carolina League Northern Division

First Half – 31-39, 3rd Place, 10.0 Games Behind

Second Half – 9-8, 3rd Place, 2.0 Games Behind

 

AND THE AWARD GOES TO…:  Earlier this week, RHP Brad Peacock was named Single-A Carolina League Pitcher of the Week by MiLB.com for the period of July 5-11…Peacock fired a 5-hit shutout on July 5 vs. Wilmington (Royals) to earn the award…Peacock’s 107 strikeouts rank 2nd in the CL and 13th in minor league baseball…with 107 strikeouts and just 20 walks in 81.0 innings pitched, Peacock has posted a 4.5/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 10.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings…the 22-year-old was drafted by Washington in the 41st round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 

EVEN STEPHEN:  2B Stephen Lombardozzi ranks among the league leaders in runs scored (2nd, 60), triples (t-2nd, 87), walks (t-5th, 42), hits (7th, 98), stolen bases (7th, 16) and OBP (8th, .383)…the 2009 mid-season Single-A South Atlantic League All-Star finished 2nd in the SAL in both runs scored (90) and hits (147) last season…Lombardozzi was a 19th-round pick in the 2008 Draft out of St. Petersburg JC (FL).

 


hagerstown suns 1.JPGSingle-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

First Half – 36-34, 3rd Place, 6.0 Games Behind

Second Half – 7-12, T-5th Place, 5.5 Games Behind

 

BUILDING BLOX:  1B Justin Bloxom continues to be one of the SAL’s best offensive players, as he ranks among the top 5 SAL batters in hits (2nd, 108), total bases (2nd, 168), RBI (4th, 58), batting average (5th, .318) and doubles (5th, 25)…Bloxom, a 2010 SAL mid-season All-Star selection, has posted an organization-best 30 multi-hit games…the 22-year-old Kansas State University product was Washington’s 11th-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

 

GUNS N’ ROSENBAUM:  Despite his 2.27 ERA in 17 starts overall, LHP Dan Rosenbaum hasn’t earned a win since his season debut on April 8…among South Atlantic League pitchers, he is 4th in ERA…he was the MiLB.com SAL Pitcher of the Week for the period of May 10-16…Rosenbaum was selected in the 22nd round of the 2009 Draft out of Xavier University (OH).

 

GOOD WOOD:  After hitting just .235 (23-for-98) in 24 games during June, 2B Jeff Kobernus is batting at a .353 (18-for-51) clip with 5 doubles and a team-best 11 RBI in 12 July contests…Kobernus, Washington’s 2nd-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, has made 54 starts at second base for the Suns this season.

 


vermont_lake_monsters.jpgShort-Season Single-A Vermont Lake Monsters

New York-Penn League Stedler Division

18-7, 1st Place, 5.0 Games Ahead

 

MONSTER MASH:  At 18-7, Vermont is off to its best start in the 17-year history of the franchise…the Lake Monsters are 5.0 games ahead in the Stedler Division, marking the largest division lead in franchise history…Vermont has outscored its opponents 125-88 (+37) over the first 25 games…Lake Monsters’ pitching paces the NY-P League in ERA (2.82) and WHIP (1.19).

 

WARRIOR TURNED MONSTER:  C/DH David Freitas hit safely in 11 consecutive games, posting 9 multi-hit efforts during the streak…the University of Hawaii product is 20-for-43 (.465) with 5 doubles, 7 RBI, 7 walks and 6 runs scored over his 11-game run…Freitas is 3rd in the league with a .381 batting average…the 21-year-old was selected in the 15th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

 

BLAKE IS LIVELY:  INF Blake Kelso, selected in the 10th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, is hitting .354 with 2 doubles, 6 RBI and 8 runs scored in 17 contests…the University of Houston product has hit safely in 13 of 17 games as a pro.

 

Gulf Coast League Nationals

Gulf Coast League East Division

7-12, 5th Place, 4.0 Games Behind

 

YO, ADRIAN!:  SS Adrian Sanchez has opened the 2010 GCL season by hitting in 10 of 12 games…his .391 batting average ranks 2nd in the GCL (min. 12 games played), while his 6 doubles are tied for 3rd…born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, the switch-hitting shortstop was signed by the Nationals as a non-drafted free agent prior to the 2007 season.

 

BILLY THE KID:  In 4 appearances, RHP Billy Ott has allowed just one earned run in 10.0 IP (0.90 ERA)…he’s struck out 8 and walked just one…Ott, 22, has worked 2.0 or more innings in 3 of his appearances…he was signed by Washington as a non-drafted free agent on June 17, 2010 after completing his college career at Cal State Northridge.

 

YOU COMPLETE ME:  RHP Kelvin Lopez  is 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA in 4 starts this season…on July 2 vs. GCL Mets, the 20-year old tossed a complete game, allowing 4 runs on 11 hits while striking out 9 to earn the victory.

The Fans Choice Bobblehead is in


Pudge Bobblehead No. 1.jpgIvan “Pudge” Rodriguez has been selected by Nationals fans to be featured as this season’s Fans Choice Bobblehead. In his first season in Washington, Rodriguez is batting .295 with 26 RBI and one homerun and has provided a spark to the bottom of the order. The bobbleheads, presented by PNC Bank, will be given to the first 15,000 fans attending the Nationals game on Saturday, August 28 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

For the first time in team history fans were given the opportunity to cast their votes for their favorite player to receive the bobblehead honor. Voting took place in March and April on Nationals.com. The Fan Choice bobblehead is the last in a three-part series: the first was a Ryan Zimmerman Gold Glove/Silver Slugger bobblehead that commemorated Zimmerman’s unique achievement in receiving both awards during the 2009 season, while the second will feature Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan and will be given out before the July 31 game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

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