Day 6 in Viera: A Closer Look at the 2011 Outfield

A
brief preface: my name is John Dever and I have the pleasure of being the PR
Director for your Nationals. With the assistance of Mike Gazda and Bill Gluvna,
here are a few vignettes and observations gathered from around camp today:

* Many folks have drawn parallels between the careers of Jayson Werth and
Michael Morse. Both are listed as 6-foot-5 and possess wiry strength that is
not a given with long-armed players. How does the 29-year-old Morse stay fit?
He trains for the NFL Combine. Almost literally. He trains at the Bommarito
Performance Systems facility in Miami with a bunch of Miami Hurricane NFL draft
prospects. Lots of running, lots of lifting. Those of you who have stood next
to Morse know that he could pass as an outside linebacker or tight end. He
might weigh 25 pounds less than those guys, but my guess is that he did not
embarrass himself in those workouts.

* We wrote yesterday about the Nationals’ three-shortstop defense (Desmond,
Espinosa and Zimmerman all have spent considerable portions of their playing
career playing shortstop). Well, let’s expand on the notion, but in the
outfield. There is a very good chance that you will see a 3-center fielder
alignment this summer in DC. Nyjer Morgan is a center fielder last time I
checked. In right field, we have Jayson Werth, who many believe could do a fine
job patrolling CF on a daily basis, if given the opportunity. Meanwhile, Roger
Bernadina, Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse are vying for playing time in left
field. Bernadina and Ankiel have extensive experience in center field. So the underlying
point is, the potential of an Ankiel/Bernadina-Morgan-Werth alignment in the
outfield will severely shrink the gaps and make our pitching staff that much
better. Oh, and we still have a 13-time Gold Glover behind the plate. If you
like defense, I have a feeling we have just what you are looking for.

* Congrats to Chien-Ming Wang, who ran the mile in 6:58, tops among 28 pitchers
to be timed this week. Wang, who stands 6-foot-4, is a big guy, so it is pretty
impressive that he was able to turn in a sub-seven-minute mile. Other
noteworthy times turned in came from Cole Kimball (6:59), Jason Marquis (7:00),
Josh Wilke (7:07), Adam Carr (7:26)  and John Lannan (7:30). By the way,
in my estimation, these guys ran a tad further than a mile, as they did four
laps around the warning track of a Big League field. There is ample foul
territory too. I have always thought that a lap around the average Big League
field is a bit longer than a run around a 1/4-mile track.

* Transaction News today: RHP Luis Atilano cleared waivers and was assigned
outright to Triple-A Syracuse. Atilano will now report immediately to the
Nationals’ Big League camp.

* I asked Stephen Strasburg what he did with the ball from his lone hit last
season, a June 23 single off the Royals’ Brian Banister. The back story was not
legendary, he still has the ball at his house, but Strasburg did perk up a bit
and smile at the memory. There was irony in the hit’s location too, as it was a
well-hit grounder through the 5.5 hole, which is primarily where Tony Gwynn
made a living and earned a spot in Cooperstown. Gwynn was of course Strasburg’s
head coach at San Diego State.

* Danny Espinosa had his hook of hamate bone removed from his right hand around
Thanksgiving. Don’t look for this injury to hinder Espinosa, who says his grip
strength in the right hand is already stronger than it was last season, when he
was one of three Minor Leaguers to reach the 20-homer, 20-stolen base plateau.
I can assure you that Espinosa would pass any “handshake” test. So, don’t be
worried about his hamate bone affecting his offense in 2011 or beyond.

* Let’s launch a new feature called Four Questions with _______. Our intent
here is to introduce you to a player you might not know too much about. So,
Ryan Zimmerman and John Lannan will likely be spared. Today’s initial victim subject is
RHP Cole Kimball (who is the Nationals’ No. 7 prospect per Baseball America
entering the 2011 season).

Favorite Team/Player as a Youth?: Yankees, Don Mattingly
Favorite Game Show of all-time?: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Favorite Superhero?: Spider-Man
Most apt to watch CNN, Food Network or Travel Channel (and list favorite
show)?:
None. I do watch the Discovery Channel a lot. Favorite show is “Deadliest
Catch.”

* LOTS of fog this morning, but it burned off around 9 a.m. and it set the
stage for another beautiful day. According to weather.com,
here are the highs we can expect this week (Mon-80, Tue-77, Wed-72, Thu-75,
Fri-76, Sat-76, Sun-77). No rain between now and Thursday! If you are not here,
you are missing out. Enough said.

1 Comment

“Nyjer Morgan is a center fielder last time I checked.”

One word of advice: keep checking.

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