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Nationals select 3B Sheldon Neuse

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The Washington Nationals selected third baseman Sheldon Neuse out of the University of Oklahoma with the 58th-overall selection in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.

A 6-foot, 195-pound junior, Neuse hit .369 (73-for-198) with 15 doubles, five triples, 10 home runs, 48 RBI, 39 walks, 12 stolen bases and 42 runs scored in 55 games for the University of Oklahoma. He led the Big 12 Conference in slugging percentage (.646), tied for the conference lead in triples (5) and ranked among league leaders in total bases (T2nd, 128), on-base percentage (4th, .465), home runs (T4th, 10), walks (T4th, 39), batting average (5th, .369), RBI (7th, 48) and stolen bases (T8th, 12).

For his efforts, Neuse was named first-team All-Big 12, a Louisville Slugger second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball and is a semifinalist for the National College Baseball Writers Association Dick Howser Trophy and USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award, awarded annually to the top collegiate player and top amateur player, respectively. He is also a semifinalist for the John Olerud Award, awarded to the top two-way player in college baseball and the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the top shortstop in college baseball.

“He’s a good bat. He’s got power. He catches the baseball. He hardly had any errors the last two years. Really good throwing arm,” said Nationals Midwest Crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales. “Super ballplayer. Great kid. Really love the makeup on him. Overall, good package there.”

On the mound, Neuse went 4-1 with five saves and a 1.40 ERA (3 ER/19.1 IP) in a career-high 14 appearances out of Oklahoma’s bullpen. His five saves were tied for seventh in the Big 12.

The 2014 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Neuse was one of the top offensive players in the Big 12 the last three seasons, earning three consecutive unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selections while becoming the 40th player in Oklahoma’s program history to score at least 100 runs and record at least 100 RBI in his career. He is one of just 10 players in Big 12 history to be selected to the first team All-Big 12 three times and just the second player to be unanimously selected three times.

In three collegiate seasons, Neuse hit .313 with 42 doubles, 15 triples, 23 home runs, 138 RBI, 90 walks, 29 stolen bases and 11 runs scored in 174 games (all starts). He posted a .525 slugging percentage and a .390 on-base percentage. On the mound, he went 6-2 with seven saves and a 1.60 ERA (7 ER/39.1 IP) and 36 strikeouts in 29 appearances out of the bullpen.

Neuse is a native of Fort Worth, Tex., and attended Keller Fossil Ridge High School where he was District MVP as a junior and a senior and hit 30 home runs during his high school career. He was originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the 38th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

 

Nationals select SS Carter Kieboom, RHP Dane Dunning

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The Washington Nationals selected prep shortstop Carter Kieboom out of Walton (GA) High School with the 28th-overall pick in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft and followed that selection with collegiate right-handed pitcher Dane Dunning out of the University of Florida with the 29th-overall selection.

Kieboom, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound infielder is considered one of the best prep hitters in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft after hitting .366 (37-for-101) with nine doubles, two triples, five home runs, 37 RBI, 24 walks, seven stolen bases and 39 runs scored for Walton High School in Marietta, Ga. He posted a .504 on-base percentage and a .644 slugging percentage during his senior season.

The younger brother of Nationals catcher Spencer Kieboom, Carter has collected numerous prep All-America honors, including being named a 2016 Rawlings/Perfect Game preseason first-team All-American, 2016 Louisville Slugger first-team preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the 2015 Under Armour All-American Game MVP. He is rated by Perfect Game as the fifth-best high school prospect coming out of the talent-rich state of Georgia for the 2016 First-Year Player Draft.

Nationals Assistant General Manager and VP of Scouting Operations Kris Kline said: “He’s a very athletic high school shortstop that I think stays at shortstop. He has an advanced approach at the plate with very good tools. We think he’s going to be a very good big leaguer. He has good makeup and a really good feel for the game. He’s a baseball player.”

A shortstop in high school, Kieboom – who signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Clemson (SC) University – also saw time on the mound for Walton as an ambidextrous pitcher.

Kieboom led Walton High School to its first state title in 2016, as the school claimed the Georgia Class 6A championship. In addition to Spencer, Carter’s other older brother, Trevor, just completed his junior season at the University of Georgia and is draft-eligible this year.

A 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior, Dunning is 5-3 with two saves and a 2.50 ERA (19 ER/68.1 IP) in 29 games (five starts) for the University of Florida. Dunning has struck out 78 batters and walked just 11 batters to this point in the 2016 season. Dunning will continue to pitch for the top-seeded Florida Gators as they advance to the Super Regional Round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

“He’s coming from one of the best staffs in college baseball right now,” explained Kris Kline. “If he was coming from another program, he would’ve been the Friday night starter for 95 percent of the teams in the country.”

A native of Fleming Island, Fla., Dunning attended Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Fla. He was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 34th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, but chose to attend the University of Florida. He was named to the Rawlings/Perfect Game preseason second-team Florida All-Region prior to his senior year. As a senior at Clay, he earned all-state honors in Class 5A and was the school’s Athlete of the Year after going 5-2 with a 1.27 ERA.

Flashback Friday: The Nationals meet the U.S. Men’s National Team

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In honor of the beginning of the Copa América Centenario, the soccer tournament commemorating the 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL and the Copa América, we’re flashing back to a few weeks ago when members of the Nationals had the chance to meet players from the U.S. Men’s National Team.

USMNT

Before their game against the Miami Marlins on May 20, several members of the Nationals met with players from the USMNT. Nationals OF Bryce Harper and 2B Daniel Murphy exchanged jerseys (Harper) and a bat (Murphy) with USMNT goalies Tim Howard and Brad Guzan. Manager Dusty Baker also got a chance to interact with Howard, one of the heroes of the 2014 World Cup.

USMNT2

Video of the visit can be seen below (fast forward to 2:00 for Nationals content).

Good luck to the USMNT tonight as they begin the tournament against Colombia in Santa Clara!

 

Max Scherzer: Making friends everywhere he goes

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How did Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer build a soft spot into the hearts of two die-hard Mets fans last week? With a simple game of catch, of course.

Joe La Rocca and his son, Joe, were taking in what seemed like a routine round of batting practice at Citi Field on May 18 when Scherzer turned it into a lifelong memory. After seeing a ball hit Scherzer’s way in the outfield, the younger Joe shouted down from the stands and complimented the righty on his performance the night before.

As Joe found out, Scherzer was pretty grateful.

“Want to have a catch?” Scherzer asked.

The answer was easy.

And luckily, thanks to the elder Joe La Rocca, this great moment was captured on video for the rest of us to enjoy. 

“You know, seeing what Bryce Harper did (giving away a bat to fans in the stands during the same series in New York) and what Scherzer did, it’s hard,” La Rocca told The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. “It’s hard to hate them. But I have to be a Met fan. My dad was a Brooklyn Dodger fan; I’m a Met fan. But we are definitely Scherzer fans. And I have to get him a Scherzer jersey, for sure.”

Countdown to Taste of the World: Embassy of South Korea to serve ‘bibimbap’

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In anticipation of Saturday’s Taste of the World at Nationals Park, we continue our series of recipes of foods that will be offered at the event with bibimbap, courtesy of  the Embassy of South Korea.

A signature Korean meal, bibimbap is a dish made with fried egg, beef and an assortment of fresh and seasoned vegetables. It is generally served over cooked rice.

Tickets for the event are still available at nationals.com/taste. For more information on Taste of the World, you can check out last week’s blog post here.

Bibimbap

Ingredients & Recipe for Bibimbap:

Ingredients

  • 450 grams (2.5 cups) non-glutinous rice
  • 600 grams (3 cups) water
  • 300 grams (1 ¼ cups) zucchini
  • 2 grams (0.5 teaspoons) salt
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) skinned bellflower roots (also known as “doraji”)
  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) beef (top round)
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) soaked bracken (also known as “gosari”)
  • *Bellflower roots and the bracken can be purchased in Korean grocery stores in the DC Metro area.

Seasoning sauce:

  • 18 grams (1 tablespoon) soy sauce
  • 6 grams (0.5 tablespoons) sugar
  • 9 grams (2 teaspoons) minced green onion
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) minced garlic
  • 2 grams (1 teaspoon) sesame salt
  • 3 grams (0.125 teaspoons) ground black pepper
  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 grams (a little more than half a teaspoon) of kelp (seaweed)
  • 26 grams (2 tablespoons) oil

Fried red pepper paste:

  • 95 grams (5 tablespoons) red pepper paste
  • 20 grams (4 teaspoons) minced beef
  • 9 grams (2 teaspoons) minced green onion
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) minced garlic
  • 90 grams (6 tablespoons) water
  • 18 grams (1.5 tablespoons) sugar
  • 19 grams (1.5 tablespoons) sesame oil

Preparation

Wash the rice. Soak it in water for 30 minutes. Drain the water through a strainer for 10 minutes.

Cut the zucchini into 5- or 6-centimeter (about 2 inches) slices, and then cut them into 0.3-centimeter (0.1 inch) thick rounds. Shred them into matchsticks. Soak them with salt for 10 minutes. Wipe away the water with a cotton cloth. Shred the bellflower roots into 5- or 6-centimeter (about 2 inches) long and 0.3-centimeter (0.1 inch) wide slices. Add salt and use your hands to make sure they’re all well coated. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out any water.

Shred the beef into 6-centimeter long (about 2 inches) and 0.3-centimeter (0.1 inch) thick slices. Wash the bracken. Cut it into 5-centimeter (about 2 inches) long strips. Season the beef and the bracken with the seasoning sauce.

Separate an egg into the yolk and the white and fry them each separately. Shred each into 5-centimeter (about 2 inches) long strips that are 0.3 centimeters (0.1 inch) wide.

  1. Put the rice and water in a pot and heat it for 4 minutes over a high heat. When it boils, continue to boil it for another 4 minutes and then lower the heat to medium and let it simmer for 3 minutes. When the rice becomes saturated, lower the heat to low and steam for 10 minutes until it is well done.
  1. Preheat a frying pan with oil. Stir fry the zucchini over a high heat for 30 seconds and then spread them out and let cool.
  1. Preheat a frying pan with oil. Stir fry the bellflower roots over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  1. Preheat a frying pan with oil. Stir fry the beef and bracken separately over a medium heat for 3 minutes.
  1. Pour a bit of oil into the pan. Fry the kelp over a medium heat for 10 seconds and then crush it into large pieces.
  1. Put the minced beef, green onion, garlic and half of the sesame oil into the pot. Stir fry it all over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the red pepper paste, sugar and sesame oil. Stir fry for 5 minutes. Add the water. Stir fry for another 3 minutes.
  1. Serve over steamed rice with all the prepared ingredients and the fried red pepper paste on top.

Enjoy! We hope you’ll join us at Taste of the World!

Countdown to Taste of the World: Embassy of Guatemala to serve ‘mixtas’

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This week, we will be highlighting a selection of recipes on Curly W Live to get fans excited for Saturday’s Taste of the World event. If these recipes are making you hungry, then you are in luck – each of these delicious dishes will all be at Taste of the World for fans to enjoy!

Tickets are still available at nationals.com/taste. For more information on Taste of the World, you can check out last week’s blog post here.

On Saturday, the Embassy of Guatemala will serve mixtas, which is normally served as a Guatemalan street food, and is essentially a hot dog in a taco, covered in delicious slaw, guacamole, hot sauce and green chiles.

Ingredients & Recipe for Mixtas:

Recipe courtesy of FoodWolf.com

  • 1 package of fresh tortillas (corn), heated in microwave in a towel or warmed over gas flame of stove
  • 1 package of hot dogs (beef or pork), cooked in boiling water
  • Guatemalan slaw (recipe below)
  • Guatemalan guacamole (recipe below)
  • Hot sauce (Tapatio or Sriracha)
  • 1 can of green chili

Guatemalan Slaw

  • 1 bag of shredded cabbage “angel hair” style (or thinly slice half of one cabbage)
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss shredded cabbage with the juice of one lime, chopped cilantro and minced red onion. Drizzle with olive oil, enough to just coat the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Guatemalan Guacamole 

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados
  • ¼ red onion, minced
  • ½ small lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 can of green chiles (optional)

Remove meat of the avocado and mash with a fork in a bowl (or on a plate). Mix in the red onion. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the mixture–the citrus not only flavors the mixture, it keeps the avocado from turning brown. Rub the teaspoon of oregano in your hand to release the herb’s oils and then add to avocado mixture. Add salt to taste.

To make mixtas:

Boil hot dogs in hot water. When done, serve on warm tortillas (double up the tortillas if you prefer) with slaw, guacamole, hot sauce and green chiles. Enjoy!

We hope you’ll join us at Taste of the World to try mixtas from Guatemala and other delicious cuisine!

 

Nationals Minor League Report: May 18, 2016

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Welcome to the latest installment of the 2016 Washington Nationals Minor League Report.

All the information listed here, and linked below, reflects games played through May 17.

Organizational Record: 81-65 (.555, 5th in MLB)

Organizational Top Performer: OF Victor Robles – Hagerstown Suns

OF Victor Robles is pacing the strong Hagerstown Suns offensive attack…Through May 17,
the 18-year-old outfielder is hitting .338 (44-for-130) with two doubles, three triples, four home runs, 19 RBI, 10 walks, 12 stolen bases and 31 runs scored…He has posted a .424 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage…His .338 batting average is second in Washington’s system and ranks sixth in the South Atlantic League…He also ranks among South Atlantic League hitters in runs scored (2nd, 31), on-base percentage (5th, .424) and stolen bases (T5th, 12).

In 13 games from April 20-May 5, Robles went 22-for-51 (.431) with two doubles, one triple, two homers, 10 RBI, six HBP, five stolen bases and 13 runs scored…Robles is in his third professional season after signing as a non-drafted free agent, July 2, 2013…He entered 2016 as the No. 3 prospect (No. 33 overall) in Washington system, per Baseball America.

It’s Voth, not Voth

Through seven starts, RHP Austin Voth is 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA (12 ER/39.1 IP) and leads Washington’s Minor League system (ninth in the International League) with 41 strikeouts…In addition, his 2.75 ERA is good for second among Nationals farmhands…Voth also ranks among International League leaders in strikeouts per nine innings (9.38), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4th, 6.83) and walks per nine innings (5th, 1.37)…Voth entered the 2016 season as the No. 9 prospect in Washington’s system, per Baseball America.

Eastern League Player of the Week

INF Neftali Soto was named Eastern League Player of the Week for the week of May 9-May 15…He hit .387 (12-for-31) with one double, two home runs, 13 RBI, three runs scored, one stolen base and three walks in seven games during the week…Soto reached base safely in all seven games and recorded six RBI on two separate occasions, May 10 at Richmond (SFG) and May 13 vs. Akron (CLE)…On the season, Soto is hitting .256 (22-for-86) with four doubles, three home runs, 21 RBI, eight walks, one stolen base and seven runs scored in 23 games for the Senators.

For more information & notes on the Nationals’ Minor League system, view the full Minor League Report here:

 

Bryce Harper plays Catchphrase on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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Nationals RF Bryce Harper joined supermodel Gigi Hadid and actor Andy Samberg on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Monday night to play a hilarious game of Catchphrase.

Watch the video below to see who wins, and be sure check out a few behind-the-scenes pictures from the show!

Seventh Annual “A Night at the Park” raises more than $225,000 to fight MS

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The seventh-annual “A Night at the Park” – hosted by Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and the ziMS Foundation, was held at Nationals Park last night. The event included cocktails and dinner, live and silent auctions, and an acoustic performance from Marc Roberge, Richard On and Jerry DePizzo of O.A.R.

The sold-out experience raised more than $225,000 for the ziMS Foundation. Founded 10 years ago by Zimmerman, the ziMS Foundation has raised more than $2 million to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

Bill Ladson, who covers the Nationals for MLB.comwrote a summary on last night’s event, which can be found here.

 

Get to know the Nationals 2016 Honorary Bat Girl: Corinne Irwin

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Corinne - Opening Day 2015

Major League Baseball announced the winners of the 2016 Honorary Bat Girl contest last week, which recognizes baseball fans who have been affected by breast cancer and who demonstrate a commitment to supporting the fight against the disease.

The Honorary Bat Girl for the Washington Nationals is Corinne Irwin of Washington, D.C. She will be recognized on NatsHD and will be announcing play ball before the team plays the Miami Marlins on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.

Corinne was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2012, and endured five surgeries, 18 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation. Throughout treatment, Corinne and her husband watched the Nationals’ 2012 postseason run. Corinne is a four-year cancer survivor and is now an advocate dedicated to providing support for other women battling the disease. During her treatment, she set up a blog to let her family and friends know about her progress and how she was doing physically, emotionally and spiritually, which she now shares with newly-diagnosed women.

“I can carry that with me every day…to remember this really is a wonderful world, full of wonderful people who are very caring and pull for you whenever you need it,” said Corinne.

Corinne now works to raise awareness of Lymphedema and how it affects many survivors, and makes chemo caps for Knots of Love, a charity that distributes caps to cancer treatment centers throughout the country.

The Nationals are inspired by Corinne’s strength and positivity, and wanted to get to know her better…

Who’s your favorite Nationals player?

Oh no- I have to pick! This is so hard. Can I say a few? I’ve got such a soft spot for the 2012 players who are still with the team: Jayson Werth, and Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Gio, and Strasburg, Ramos and Danny, because I really did get to know the team that year, and I just love watching them all play.

Have you always been a Nationals fan, or did the 2012 postseason really “get you on board”?

We’ve always been fans; we were actually at Opening Day in 2005. My husband was a big Senators fan, and I must admit, even though I grew up here, I really didn’t know about the Senators (also because I was too young). We’ve both been going to games since the team came back. So, I say we’ve always been fans, but in 2012, we got to see so many games because I was sick. Watching them on the television upped our bonding with the team.

What are some of your favorite hobbies and what do you like to do in your free time?

I’m an avid gardener and especially interested in native plants and sustainable gardening, and I volunteer with organizations like the Anacostia Watershed Society to do environmental work. I’m really excited about the 11th Street Bridge Park, which of course is going to be right near Nats Park. I’m excited for the environmental angle of that, and also the equitable development angle.

For cancer-related things, I crochet my caps, and also do blankets for the neonatal intensive care unit for the same organization, Knots of Love. For me, it’s just a small way to give back.

I started doing it because, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my cousins, who unbeknownst to me had been making chemo caps with Knots of Love for years, made and sent me five chemo caps. It was just one of the early blessings, and I also crochet, so I thought, why not? I started making them every time I had a chemo session, because that takes 5-8 hours, so I would just make caps, and I’ve done it ever since. It’s a small thing, but I also know how important it is when you’re sick, to get something that helps you feel beautiful, and covers your bald head, and makes you feel loved.

How has being a breast cancer survivor affected your outlook on life?

Really positively. I think anyone who goes through a severe illness is really happy for the life they have, and I certainly am. It was amazing how friends and family, and extended friends literally around the world and literally of every major world religion were pulling for me and praying for me through this illness.

You know, even if things hadn’t turned out as well as they did, to be able to experience that was wonderful. And I can carry that with me every day from now on to remember this really is a wonderful world, full of wonderful people who are very caring and pull for you whenever you need it.

What is the advice you give to women who were recently diagnosed with breast cancer?

The biggest advice I have to somebody who was recently diagnosed is to breathe, and to know that most women survive breast cancer today, and to have faith in that.

There’s going to be a whole lot of information that comes at you in that first month. I tell them just to trust that it’s going to get better after that first month, and it won’t be so overwhelming. And, to pay attention to making the decisions you need in that first month. But any decision you don’t really need to worry about yet, just set that aside, so things like: what if I have a reoccurrence? Don’t worry about that, because right now you’re just getting diagnosed and treated. Put the long term stuff aside and just focus on what you do need to know now. Write down all of your questions so every time you go to an appointment, you can ask and get answers. But don’t worry too much about questions you don’t need answered yet.

Thank you, Corinne for all that you do and we look forward to honoring you at the ballpark tomorrow!

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