Archive for the ‘ Author – Amanda Comak ’ Category

Nationals reinstate Ryan Zimmerman

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by Amanda Comak

With the National League East Championship celebration in their rearview, and the promise of the postseason still ahead, the Washington Nationals became whole again on Saturday as they reinstated Ryan Zimmerman from the 15-Day Disabled List and returned him to their active roster.

Zimmerman, 29, rejoins the Nationals after missing 55 games with a right hamstring strain, suffered July 22 at Colorado.

And while the Nationals have done well to fill his void in the interim, Zimmerman’s return helps deepen their already dangerous lineup as they turn their focus toward the playoffs.

In 53 games this season, Zimmerman has hit .282 with a .345 on-base percentage and a .456 slugging percentage. While spending time at third base, first base and in left field, the Nationals’ veteran has clubbed 24 extra-base hits (five home runs) and driven in 36 runs.

This was the second Disabled List stint of the season for Zimmerman. After returning from a fractured right thumb on June 3, Zimmerman started 43 games for the Nationals, including a scorching hot month of July in which he hit .362 with a .418 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging percentage before his hamstring injury.

Zimmerman’s return gives the Nationals 35 players on their active roster, and Nationals manager Matt Williams said he expects Zimmerman to play all three positions in the season’s final eight games in preparation for the postseason.

Nationals featured on #MissionOctober Monday night

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by Amanda Comak

While the Washington Nationals open a three-game set in Atlanta on Monday night, Nationals fans would be wise to set their DVRs for Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. to ensure they don’t miss the Nationals episode of “Mission October.”

As part of the weekly all-access series put together by MLB Productions, Mission October crews joined the Nationals for their four-game series in New York this past weekend. With the Nationals’ Magic Number shrinking to four by the time they boarded their flight for Atlanta on Sunday night, the show will give fans an inside look at a pivotal series in their march toward the Posteason.

“‘Mission October’ takes an inside-access look at a different potential playoff team every weekend in September, and we’re very excited to spotlight the Nationals this week,” said on-field producer Jason Katz. “We had a great time filming with the Nats.

“The show will feature a very fun in game wire on Denard Span, an off-the-field element and in-game wire with Bryce Harper, Matt Williams and some of his coaches on their daily run, and much more.

Nationals fans won’t want to miss it.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos from the filming:

 

 

 

Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche named co-NL Player of the Week

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by Amanda Comak

Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was named the co-National League Player of the Week on Monday, sharing the honor with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Major League Baseball made the announcement Monday afternoon on MLB Network.

LaRoche, 34, opened the month of September on a powerful tear at the plate as he helped guide the Nationals to two pivotal victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.

In earning his first NL Player of the Week honors, LaRoche hit .333 (5-for-15) with a .421 on-base percentage, and a 1.133 slugging percentage. Over the course of five games (four starts), four of LaRoche’s five total hits were home runs. He drove in 10 runs, walked three times (one intentional) and was also hit by a pitch.

Wednesday, after being relegated to the Nationals’ bench with a tight back and flu-like symptoms, LaRoche clubbed a game-tying, two-run, pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium to give the Nationals new life. In a wild back-and-forth contest that would last 14 innings, LaRoche drove in five runs – becoming just the second player in the expansion era (since 1961) to enter a game in the ninth inning or later and drive in at least five runs. Harold Baines accomplished the feat on May 4, 1999 for the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Chicago White Sox.

In addition to his game-saving home run, LaRoche gave the Nationals the lead in the top of the 12th with a two-run single to left, and helped break a tie again in the 14th when he beat out a double play to allow Ian Desmond to score what would stand up as the game winning run.

LaRoche followed that performance up by staking the Nationals to an early lead on Friday, hitting his 21st home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning, and kept slugging through the weekend. On Sunday, facing Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, LaRoche homered in his first two at-bats, tying the game both times, for the 24th multi-homer game of his career and his second this season.

LaRoche is the 11th Nationals player to earn NL Player of the Week honors, joining RHP Jordan Zimmermann and OF Jayson Werth from this year’s club.

Prior to 2014, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (periods ending July 22, 2012; June 13, 2010; August 21, 2011; August 5, 2007), right-hander Stephen Strasburg (June 13, 2010), outfielder Josh Willingham (Aug. 2, 2009), shortstop Cristian Guzman (Aug. 31, 2008), utility man Willie Harris (July 20, 2007) and first baseman Nick Johnson (June 6, 2005) earned NL Player of the Week hardware.

Nationals announce 2015 schedule

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While the Washington Nationals’ 2014 season is headed for an exciting finish, the Nationals gave fans their first look at the 2015 slate on Monday with the release of next season’s schedule.

San Francisco Giants v Washington NationalsThe Nationals’ 81-game home schedule kicks off with Washington’s 82nd home opener since 1901 on Monday, April 6 vs. the New York Mets and is highlighted by 13 weekend series against, among others, the Phillies (three times), Braves (two times), Cubs, Pirates, Giants, Dodgers and Brewers.

Washington’s 2015 regular season both begins (see above) and concludes (Sunday, October 4 at Citi Field) against the NL East-rival Mets. The Nationals open 2015 by playing an NL East rival in 26 of their initial 32 contests, through May 10, before capping the year with 26 of its final 29 regular-season games against intra-divisional foes, September 3 – October 4.

While 29 of next season’s initial 50 contests will be played on the road, Nationals fans can experience the thrill of pennant-race baseball in the nation’s capital for themselves from August 21 – September 27, when Washington will host 26 games in 38 days within the friendly confines of Nationals Park.

The annual Battle of the Beltways Series between the Nationals and Orioles continues for a tenth consecutive season with both clubs hosting a three-game set. The Nationals welcome the Orioles to D.C. for three games, Sept. 21-23, in the latest Interleague series in the Nationals’ 11 seasons.

The Nationals will also square off with the American League East for 20 Interleague contests in 2015. Washington’s home interleague slate includes visits from the Yankees (two games, May 19-20), the Blue Jays (three games, June 1-3), the Rays (two games, June 17-18) and the aforementioned visit from the Orioles (three games, September 21-23). The Yankees’ visit to The District is their first since sweeping a three-game set at Nationals Park, June 15-17, 2012.

The Nationals will make Interleague road stops in Boston (three games), New York (two), Tampa Bay (two) and Baltimore (three games, July 10-12).

San Francisco Giants v Washington NationalsThe ‘15 home schedule also features the following holiday home games: Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10 vs. Braves), Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21 vs. Pirates), Independence Day (Saturday, July 4 vs. Giants) and Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 7 vs. Mets).

Of the Nationals’ 12 homestands, only one will last 10 or more games, and Nationals Park will host 10 games in 11 days to close out the home slate from September 17-27 (Marlins, Orioles, Phillies).

September/October (17 games), August (16) and June (15) contain the most home games in a calendar month, while April hosts the fewest (10).

All dates and opponents on this schedule are subject to change.

For a limited time, fans who purchase a 2015 NATS PLUS Membership receive priority access for the Postseason. For more information or to purchase 2015 Memberships, visit nationals.com/2015, call 202.675.NATS (6287) or email at ticketinfo@nationals.com.

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 7 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game No. 141: Washington Nationals (79-61) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (66-75) | 1:35 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-9, 3.89 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (8-6, 2.50)
Both Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3rd, 39) and Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels (tied 4th, 33) rank among the top five National League left-handers in wins the last three seasons (2012 – pres.).
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • With 21 home runs, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has recorded his ninth 20-homer campaign in the last 10 years (his lone exception: three HRs in injury-shortened 2011 season). LaRoche is one of only seven current players who can make this claim. He’s joined on the short list by:
    David Ortiz (all 10 years)
    Miguel Cabrera (all 10 years)
    Adam Dunn (11 HR, 2011)
    Albert Pujols (17 HR, 2013)
    Nick Swisher (8 HR in 2014)
    Mark Teixeira (3 HR, 2013)

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (79-61)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
7  Scott Hairston LF
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
59 Jose Lobaton (S) C
47 Gio Gonzalez LHP

PHILLIES (66-75)

11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
24 Grady Sizemore (L) LF
51 Carlos Ruiz C
3 Marlon Byrd RF
18 Darin Ruf 1B
7 Maikel Franco 3B
13 Freddy Galvis (S) 2B
19 Tony Gwynn Jr. (L) CF
35 Cole Hamels (L) LHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 6 vs. Philadelphia

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Game No. 140: Washington Nationals (79-60) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (65-75) | 4:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Tanner Roark (12-9, 2.91 ERA) vs. RHP AJ Burnett (7-15, 4.40)
Philadelphia Phillies right-hander AJ Burnett joins Dillon Gee (2013), Josh Johnson (2009) and Derek Lowe (2009) as the only pitchers to make six starts against the Nationals in a single season.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • Denard Span joined the 1,000-hit club via a first-inning single on Friday off Jerome Williams, before he added two more hits later in the game. Span became the ninth player to tally a 1,000th career hit in a Nationals uniform. The initial eight: Jayson Werth (2013),Ryan Zimmerman (2012), Adam LaRoche (2012), Adam Dunn (2009), Aaron Boone(2008), Cristian Guzman (2007), Alfonso Soriano (2006), Jose Guillen (2005). Of Span’s 1,002 career hits, 333 came as a National and 192 occurred at Nationals Park.

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (79-60)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
57 Tanner Roark RHP

PHILLIES (65-75)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
24 Grady Sizemore (L) RF
9 Domonic Brown (L) LF
21 Wil Nieves C
25 Cody Asche (L) 3B
34 AJ Burnett RHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals Game Notes — Sept. 5 vs. Philadelphia

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Game No. 139: Washington Nationals (79-59) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (64-75) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Stephen Strasburg (11-10, 3.49 ERA) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (11-10, 4.33)
Thanks in part to two walks and 40 strikeouts, Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA (3 ER/31.0 inn.) in four home starts against the Phillies the last two seasons (2013 – pres.).
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • From July 23 – Aug. 1, the Nationals went homer-less for nine straight games. But in 31 contests since, the Nationals have hit 45 home runs. Here’s a closer look at which teams have hit the most home runs since the beginning of August: 
     1. Orioles: 56 
     2. Nationals: 47
     3. Cubs: 43

Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (79-59)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
20 Ian Desmond SS
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
3 Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
37 Stephen Strasburg RHP

PHILLIES (64-75)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
3 Marlon Byrd RF
9 Domonic Brown (L) LF
51 Carlos Ruiz C
7 Maikel Franco 3B
31 Jerome Williams RHP

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals add six players to expanded roster

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals September call-ups arrived on Monday as the team recalled RHP Aaron Barrett, LHP Xavier Cedeno, C Sandy Leon, 1B/OF Tyler Moore and RHP Blake Treinen from Triple-A Syracuse. Additionally, OF Steven Souza Jr. (left shoulder) was returned from rehab and reinstated to the active roster.

Marlins v. NationalsBarrett, 26, is 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 40 games, (33.2 IP) for the Nationals this season. The hard-throwing righty made the Nationals 25-man roster out of Spring Training and quickly earned an integral role in manager Matt Williams’ bullpen. His 11.50 strikeouts per nine innings ranks second among all rookie National League relievers this season, behind only Philadelphia’s Ken Giles (12.72).

Barrett returns to the Nationals after going 1-0 with two saves in 10 games for Syracuse – in which he did not allow a run, surrendered five hits, walked one batter and struck out eight.

Cedeno, 28, rejoins the Nationals for the fourth time this season. The left-handed reliever has not allowed a run at the Major League level this season, scattering four hits in three appearances (3.1 IP) with one strikeout. At Triple-A, Cedeno was 5-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 35 games (39.1 IP).

While holding International League batters to a .163 average against and possessing a 0.86 WHIP, Cedeno has struck out 57, walked 12 and allowed just 10 earned runs. Against left-handed batters, his ERA drops to 1.35.

Leon, 25, strengthens the Nationals’ catching corps for the stretch run in his fourth Major League stint of the season. The switch-hitting catcher hit his first Major League home run on April 14 off Kevin Slowey in Miami, and posted a .169 average in 18 Major League games this season. Leon hit .229 for Syracuse with five home runs and 25 RBI.

Known for his above-average defensive skills behind the plate, Leon has caught 45 percent of attempted base stealers over the course of eight Minor League seasons.

Cincinnati Reds v Washington NationalsMoore, 27, makes his third return to the Nationals’ Major League roster this season, adding power and versatility off the bench. In 34 Major League games (16 starts) this season, Moore hit .214 with three home runs and 11 RBI. The first baseman/outfielder hit .265 with a .367 on-base percentage and a .434 slugging percentage at Triple-A this season, clubbing 31 extra-base hits and driving in 44 runs in 84 games.

In 46 career big league games as a first baseman, Moore has hit .325 with eight doubles, six home runs and 26 RBI.

Treinen, 26, rejoins the Nationals for the sixth time this season. He is 1-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 Major League games (five starts) this year. The right-hander earned his first MLB win on June 28 at Wrigley Field when he held the Cubs to two earned runs over 5.0 IP. As a starter in the majors, Treinen has worked to a 2.50 ERA, and as a reliever he’s posted a 1.54 mark.

Treinen had an 8-2 record with a 3.35 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A this year.

Souza Jr. returns to the active roster after missing 20 games with a left shoulder contusion. The 25-year-old, who was named the International League MVP last week, led the league in almost every offensive category: batting average (.350), on-base percentage (.432), and slugging percentage (.590). He also hit 18 home runs, drove in 75 and stole 26 bases.

Souza Jr. is 1-for-12 (.083) with one walk and four strikeouts in the Major Leagues this year.

The Nationals’ September call-ups helped the Chiefs clinch their first IL North Division title in 25 years on Saturday night. The players will join the Nationals before the start of their three-game series at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday evening.

Steven Souza Jr. named IL MVP and Rookie of the Year; Billy Gardner Jr. named Manager of the Year

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by Amanda Comak

The finest season in recent memory for the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate Syracuse Chiefs produced several accolades on Tuesday as the International League announced its year-end award winners and post-season All-Star team.

Steven Souza Jr., who led the International League in almost every statistical offensive category, was named the league’s Most Valuable Player as well as its Rookie of the Year, and Chiefs manager Billy Gardner Jr. was honored as the International League’s Manager of the Year. Additionally, infielders Emmanuel Burriss and Brandon Laird were named to the International League’s post-season All-Star team, along with Souza Jr.

Washington Nationals vs Houston AstrosSouza Jr. was called up to the Major Leagues three times this season, including most recently on Aug. 4. But in 91 games at Triple-A, Souza Jr. hit .354 with a .435 on-base percentage and a .601 slugging percentage — all of which lead the International League. The 25-year-old is on track to take home the International League batting title at year’s end.

While clubbing a team-high 18 home runs, Souza Jr. stole 24 bases and was selected as a starting outfielder at the Triple-A All-Star Game in Durham, North Carolina.

Souza Jr. is the sixth league MVP in Syracuse history, and the first since Chad Mottola in 2000. He’s also the franchise’s seventh International League Rookie of the Year, and first since Shawn Green in 1994.

Souza Jr. was also the first Syracuse outfielder selected to the International League’s post-season All-Star Team since Corey Brown in 2012.

This is the second consecutive season in which a player won the league’s MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, following Rochester’s Chris Colabello in 2013. Souza Jr. is the first Syracuse player ever to win both honors in the same season.

●●

In his first season in the Nationals organization, Gardner Jr. has the Chiefs on the verge of the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 1998, bringing the Chiefs back to contention after a lengthy postseason drought.

Syracuse struggled early and was in last place in the North Division as late as May 21, but the Chiefs played the best baseball in the league in May and June, surging to the top of a tight IL North Division race. The Chiefs have scored the second-most runs in the league and allowed the second-fewest. Their pitching staff also leads the IL with 15 shutouts this season.

Gardner, who is in his 20th season managing in the Minor Leagues, becomes the fifth IL Manager of the Year from Syracuse, following Frank Verdi (1970), Vern Benson (1979), Doug Ault (1985), and Bob Bailor (1989). Gardner is the son of Billy Gardner Sr., who managed the Minnesota Twins from 1981-1985 and the Kansas City Royals for part of the 1987 campaign.

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Emmanuel Burriss: While being among the International League leaders in batting average (.307), on-base percentage (.383), runs scored (79), and triples (7), Burriss has struck out fewer times per plate appearance than any hitter in the league. The 29-year-old, who played in 282 Major League games with the San Francisco Giants from 2008-2012, signed with the Nationals as a free agent this past December. Burriss follows Zach Walters to give the Chiefs two straight seasons claiming IL post-season All-Star shortstop honors.

 

Brandon Laird: Laird, 26, is one of just two players in the International League to tally 80 or more RBI this season. He is also among the league leaders in slugging percentage (.486), batting average (.303), and OPS (.839). Laird is in his first season with the Nationals after coming over in a March trade. The infielder has played 53 games in the Major Leagues since 2011, with the Yankees and Astros and his older brother, Gerald, is a catcher for the Atlanta Braves. The last Syracuse third baseman on the IL post-season All-Star Team was Carlos Rivero in 2012.

Michael A. Taylor named Eastern League Rookie of the Year

Twitter: @Nationals | Facebook: Nationals | Instagram: @Nationals

by Amanda Comak

Michael A. Taylor’s breakout season earned him his first Major League promotion, featured his first Major League hit and home run, and catapulted him through the Nationals’ system.

On Saturday, it also earned him an accolade from the Double-A Eastern League.

Taylor, 23, was named the 2014 Eastern League Rookie of the Year after hitting .313 with a .396 on-base percentage and a .539 slugging percentage in 98 games with Double-A Harrisburg this season.

Taylor, who was promoted to Triple-A on Aug. 4 and was then called up to the Major Leagues on Aug. 10, clubbed 17 doubles, two triples and 22 home runs in Double-A. He drove in 61 runs, scored 74 and stole 34, all while playing defense at a level that has prompted many evaluators to rank him among the best defensive outfielders in the entire organization.

Taylor led the Eastern League in OPS (.935) at the time of his promotion to Triple-A and was also ranked among the leaders in slugging percentage (.539, second), total bases (207, second), runs scored (74, second), home runs (22, third), on-base percentage (.396, fourth), stolen bases (34, fourth) and batting average (.313, sixth).

The Florida native was selected by the Nationals in the sixth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale.

 

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