Nationals recall RHP Taylor Jordan, place RHP Craig Stammen on DL

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals recalled right-handed pitcher Taylor Jordan from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday and placed right-handed pitcher Craig Stammen on the 15-day disabled list with right forearm stiffness.
 
Jordan, 26, joins the Nationals for the first time this season. The right-hander made one start for Triple-A Syracuse (April 10 at Scranton-Wilkes Barre), tossing six scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and a walk, and striking out five. 
 
In 14 career Major League games spanning the 2013 and 2014 seasons, the sinker-baller is 1-6 with a 4.31 ERA. 
 
A ninth-round selection in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Jordan made his Major League debut in 2013.
 
Stammen, 31, is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five games (4.0 IP) this season. Since transitioning exclusively to relief work in 2012, the versatile righty is 17-12 with a 2.89 ERA in 167 games (246.1 IP) for the Nationals. ​

Nationals select contract of RHP Rafael Martin

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by Amanda Comak

Washington Nationals v Detroit TigersThe Washington Nationals selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Rafael Martin on Tuesday, adding the reliever to their bullpen. Left-hander Xavier Cedeno was designated for assignment.
Martin, 30, joins the Nationals for his first Major League assignment. Plucked from the Mexican Winter League after catching the eye of Nationals Director of International Scouting Bill Singer, Martin signed with Washington as a Minor League free agent on Feb. 25, 2010.
During a remarkable 2014 season, in which Martin advanced through three levels of the Nationals’ system, he was 3-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 11 saves. Martin, who relies on a dominant slider, did not allow a run from May 16 to Aug. 17, a span of 29 games (46.1 IP). His performance earned him an invitation to the Nationals’ Major League camp this spring.
The Nationals are Martin’s first Major League organization. A one-time construction worker in California, Martin signed with the Saltillo Saraperos of the Mexican League at the age of 22 after participating in in a tryout camp in Tecate, Mexico, on March 24, 2007.
In one game with Triple-A Syracuse this season (April 11 at Scranton-Wilkes Barre), Martin pitched two innings to earn the save, allowing two hits and striking out four.
Cedeno, 28, pitched in 25 games for the Nationals over the course of three seasons (2013-15). He was 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA (16.0 IP).

What to Watch for: Washington Nationals at Boston Red Sox

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by Mike Feigen

What to Watch for: Washington Nationals (2-4) at Boston Red Sox (4-2)

April 13–15, Fenway Park, Boston

The Scene

The Nationals will look to build on the momentum of their extra-innings victory on Sunday in Philadelphia, as they travel to Boston for the Red Sox’ home-opening series. Washington scored twice in the top of the 10th inning in Sunday’s 4-3 win, capitalizing on doubles from newcomers Yunel Escobar and Clint Robinson, a run-scoring wild pitch and an RBI single by Wilson Ramos.

The Red Sox dropped a 14-4 decision on Sunday Night Baseball in New York against the Yankees, as starter Clay Buchholz was battered for seven runs in the first inning. Despite winning two of three in the Bronx, the Red Sox put a lot of pressure on their bullpen, gutting out a 19-inning win on Friday night and needing 4.2 innings of relief on Sunday as well. Boston does get closer Koji Uehara back, a key ingredient in their World Series run in 2013.

The Stakes

With just 13 runs scored in their first six games of the year, the Nationals hope the return of Jayson Werth to the lineup will spark the club. The veteran outfielder has slashed .304/.396/.491 with 41 home runs, 61 doubles and 164 RBI over the past two seasons, highlighting his importance to the lineup. More importantly, an uptick in production will take some of the pressure off the Nationals’ pitching staff, a group that has a stellar 2.32 ERA through the first 54.1 innings of the season.

The two teams don’t have much history, but the Nationals swept the Sox behind strong starting performances by Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez in June of 2012 — who happen to be the Nats’ starters the next three days.

The Starters

MONDAY, 3:05: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 1.50) at RHP Rick Porcello (0-1, 4.50)

TUESDAY, 6:10: RHP Stephen Strasburg (0-1, 5.06) at RHP Justin Masterson (1-0, 3.00)

WEDNESDAY, 1:35: LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-1, 4.26) at LHP Wade Miley (0-0, 3.38)

The Nationals hope to get off to a strong start in the series behind the right arm of Jordan Zimmermann, a pitcher who hasn’t suffered a loss over his last 12 starts dating back to July 28, 2014. They will then give the ball to Stephen Strasburg, who took the loss against the Mets this past Wednesday, and Gio Gonzalez, who took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning on Friday in Philadelphia.

Boston will counter with a pair of sinkerball specialists in the first two contests, as they hope to keep the Nationals’ powerful bats from clearing the Green Monster. The Nationals have five home runs in their first six games, though all have been solo shots. Wade Miley will pitch game three of the series, a pitcher the Nats have faced five times in the past four seasons when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ryan Zimmerman is 4-for-7 with three doubles and a pair of walks against the quick-working southpaw.

The Offenses

Boston’s attack features two new stars in the heart of the order, both of whom have worn out Washington pitching over the years. Hanley Ramirez, who moved from shortstop to left field this season after joining the team as a free agent from the Los Angeles Dodgers, has hit an incredible .336/.418/.623 with 30 home runs against the Nationals in just 121 career games, while third baseman and former San Francisco Giant Pablo Sandoval has hit .330/.370/.500 against Nats pitchers. Veteran sluggers David Ortiz and Mike Napoli are off to slow starts for the Red Sox, hitting just .130 (3-for-23) and .053 (1-for-19) on the young season.

The Nationals are still without Denard Span and Anthony Rendon at the top of the order, but Werth’s return could be a huge boost to the rest of the lineup. Escobar has been a pleasant surprise in the No. 2 spot thus far, hitting .304/.385/.391 with three walks and no strikeouts through the first six games of the season, while Robinson has four hits in 10 at-bats and could see time in the outfield or at designated hitter during the series.

Right fielder Bryce Harper has two home runs and a .346 on-base percentage on the young season, but hopes to see more RBI opportunities with the lineup becoming healthier.

The Best of the Rest

With Werth returning to the team today, Tyler Moore slides out of the regular lineup with Matt den Dekker joining Triple-A Syracuse. Moore is 0-for-12 on the year so far, but could regain his form in a familiar bench role. Left-hander Matt Thornton, who won a ring with the Red Sox in 2013, has yet to allow a run in 20 appearances in a Washington uniform. Former MVP Dustin Pedroia remains one of the toughest outs in the game, but has been quiet since homering twice against Cole Hamels on Opening Day.

Nationals reinstate OF Jayson Werth from 15-day DL

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals’ lineup got one of its biggest bats back on Monday as outfielder Jayson Werth was returned from rehab and reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, and outfielder Matt den Dekker was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

Werth, 35, returns to the Nationals’ active roster after missing the first six games of the 2015 season following offseason (January 9) surgery on the AC joint in his right shoulder. On a three-game rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac, Werth was 1-for-6 with three walks and one home run.

A career .276 hitter with a .370 on-base percentage, Werth has hit .282 with a .375 on-base percentage and a .452 slugging percentage in his first four seasons with the Nationals (507 games). Since arriving in the District in 2011, Werth has hit 108 doubles, five triples and 66 home runs. He has driven in 253 runs, stolen 46 bases and been caught stealing just seven times.

The veteran outfielder will transition his primary defensive position from right field to left field this season with Bryce Harper taking over in right.

den Dekker, 27, appeared in four games for the Nationals off the bench. He was 0-for-2 at the plate. den Dekker was acquired from the New York Mets on March 30 in exchange for left-handed pitcher Jerry Blevins.

What to Watch for: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies, April 10–12

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by Mike Feigen

What to Watch for: Washington Nationals (1-2) at Philadelphia Phillies (1-2)

April 10–12, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

The Scene

The Nationals and Phillies hook up for the first three of 19 match-ups during the 2015 season, seven of which will take place over the next 10 days. Both clubs got off to slow starts earlier this week, with Washington dropping two of three to the visiting New York Mets and Philadelphia doing the same against the Boston Red Sox.

2015 Washington NationalsThe Stakes

Surprisingly, the 2014 NL East Champion Nationals went just 3-6 at Citizens Bank Park last season, including a three-game sweep in late August. However, two of the three Philadelphia starters from that series — A.J. Burnett and Kyle Kendrick — have since moved on to the Pirates and Rockies, respectively. Still, it’s so early in the year that it’s hard to place any added importance on this series. The Nationals know their offense is not yet at full strength, with Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Denard Span due back over the next several weeks, so until then they will continue to focus on putting together good at-bats and playing strong fundamental defense behind their elite rotation.

The Starters

FRIDAY, 7:05: LHP Gio Gonzalez (0-0, -.–) at RHP Jerome Williams (0-0, -.–)

SATURDAY, 7:05: RHP Doug Fister (0-0, -.–) at LHP Cole Hamels (0-1, 7.20)

SUNDAY, 1:35: RHP Max Scherzer (0-1, 0.00) at RHP Sean O’Sullivan 0-0, -.–)

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez and righty Doug Fister will each make their 2015 season debuts in the series, with Opening Day starter Max Scherzer pitching in the finale. Scherzer went 7.2 strong innings in the opener, allowing just six base runners while striking out eight, but suffered the loss after a pair of errors led to three unearned runs.

Philadelphia will counter with veteran right-hander Jerome Williams in the first game, southpaw Cole Hamels on regular rest on Saturday before concluding the series with right-hander Sean O’Sullivan against Scherzer on Sunday. Hamels was roughed up by the Red Sox on Opening Day, allowing four solo home runs in his five innings of work — after surrendering just 14 long balls in 204.2 innings in 2014.

The Offenses

2015 Washington NationalsShortstop Jimmy Rollins has moved on to the Los Angeles Dodgers, marking a new era in Philadelphia baseball. The Phillies’ all-time hits leader had manned their shortstop position every year since 2001, four years before the Nationals moved to Washington. Long-time stars Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz still power the middle of the Phillies’ lineup, with veterans Grady Sizemore and Jeff Francoeur platooning in right field. Leadoff man Ben Revere gave the Nationals trouble at times in 2014.

The Nationals enter the series looking to capitalize on a late-game offensive spark in Thursday’s game against the Mets. Washington has pushed across just six runs in three games thus far, with Bryce Harper (.364/.417/.636), Michael A. Taylor (.308/.308/.462) and Ryan Zimmerman (two-run home run in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory) leading the offense. Ian Desmond, who doubled twice on Thursday afternoon, could be ready to break out this weekend.

The Best of the Rest

Should the Nationals and Phillies produce any tight ballgames, each team lays claim to advantages in the bullpen. The Nationals ‘pen has acquitted itself well to begin the season, with all seven relievers getting at least one appearance and none allowing a run to cross the plate. On the Phillies’ side, hard-throwing youngster Ken Giles and closer Jonathan Papelbon anchor the back end of the bullpen, though Giles walked three batters in two-thirds of an inning in his first action of the season.

——–

Here are tonight’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals Baseball Communications department:

#10DaysOfThanks: Nationals begin 10-Day tour of surprises to thank local community

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Wednesday, Teddy and Screech met fans at a McDonald’s drive-thru window to pick up their lunch.

Thursday they crashed a Chick-Fil-A with free coupons.

On Friday, they delivered Papa John’s pizza to the USO Family Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, while on Saturday they joined Abe at the base of the Capital Wheel at National Harbor, and all fans rode for free.

Back in DC on Sunday, Bill and Teddy discussed the season ahead over Hard Times Café lunch with firefighters at Engine Company 7 and the DC Metro Police Department First District Station.

Monday morning Screech paid a visit to three elementary schools in the local area: Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Va., Barnaby Manor in Oxon Hill, Md., and Amidon-Bowen Elementary in Southwest D.C., to autograph baseballs and hand out Nationals gear.

Tuesday afternoon, the Nationals hosted a tailgate at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va., catered by Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop and Sam Adams.

 

 

It’s all part of our 10 Days of Thanks tour. As we enter our 10th anniversary season, we want to take the time to thank those who helped us become the hometown team we are today.

Each day, between Wednesday, March 25, and Friday, April 3, Screech, Teddy, Bill, Abe and the Nationals’ promotions team are popping up around the DC Metro area. Surprises include free lunch, free breakfast, Nationals gifts and giveaways.

These surprise-and-delight moments are a huge ‘Thank you’ to all of the fans for their support, from the Nationals team, the front office and the Lerner Family.

The celebration continues this week!

Here’s where to find the Nationals promotions team over the next several days:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 10:00AM: Dulles Toll Road Plaza, Toll #1

Thursday, April 2, 2015, 9:00AM: Peet’s Coffee, 17th Street NW, Washington, DC

Friday, April 3, 2015, 11:00AM: The National Mall

Thank you, sincerely, for an amazing 10 years. We couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to the next 10!

Nationals acquire OF Matt den Dekker from New York Mets

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by Amanda Comak

Adding depth to their outfield, the Washington Nationals acquired Matt den Dekker from the New York Mets on Monday in exchange for LHP Jerry Blevins.

den Dekker, 27, joins the Nationals after spending parts of the last two seasons with the Mets.

In 80 career Major League games, den Dekker is a career .238 hitter with a .325 on-base percentage and a .310 slugging percentage. He’s hit 12 doubles, one home run, stolen 11 bases and driven in 13 runs.

In 2014, over the course of 174 plate appearances with the Mets, den Dekker hit .250 with a .345 on-base percentage. During his time with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2014, den Dekker hit .334 with a .407 on-base percentage and a .540 slugging percentage.

A versatile player, den Dekker has experience at all three outfield positions in the Major Leagues but was primarily a center fielder during his Minor League career (446 games in center field).

A fifth-round selection of the Mets’ in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, den Dekker is batting .256 this spring with a .373 on-base percentage and a .512 slugging percentage. He’s hit four doubles, two triples and picked up seven RBI.

Blevins, 31, was acquired by the Nationals in Dec. 2013 from the Oakland Athletics, in exchange for OF Billy Burns. During his one season in Washington, the left-hander was 2-3 with a 4.87 ERA in 64 appearances (57.1 IP).

Nationals Magazine: Opportunity Knocks

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The following is an excerpt from the Spring Training issue of Nationals Magazine. To read the full story, visit nationals.com/publications to find out how you can subscribe. The Spring Training issue of Nationals Magazine is on sale now, can be purchased online, or at Space Coast Stadium on gamedays.

by Mike Feigen

The Washington Nationals were already excited to get to Florida for Spring Training, with a loaded roster capable of making a run at an elusive World Series championship. Then they acquired the consensus top pitcher on the free agent market. Game on.

ST Cover socialBy now, as the Nationals celebrate their 10th Anniversary season, fans have surely discovered that baseball is a game that offers exuberant highs in the good times and tests one’s resolve in the down times. After a 162-game grind separates the best from the rest from April through September, 10 names are thrown into a hat and a champion is crowned. At least that’s the way it often seems in the Wild Card era.

In other words, nothing can be taken for granted. No amount of planning or preparation is guaranteed to produce the desired result. No team wins a World Series on paper. So even if President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo looked at his embarrassment of riches this offseason and saw a roster capable of earning the National League’s best record for the third time in four seasons, he wouldn’t rest.

For a team already loaded in the starting rotation, acquiring another quality arm would provide Rizzo cover for a variety of scenarios, including potential trades, free agent departures or injuries. It would also give the club yet another weapon to deploy during the regular season to try to help ensure it would find its way back into the unpredictable postseason tournament.

Max Scherzer isn’t just any pitcher, though. the 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-hander boasts a resume more complete than any other pitcher in the vaunted Nationals rotation, including an American League Cy Young Award, 91 wins, 1,321 career strikeouts in 1,239.1 innings pitched and appearances in 12 postseason games. He demonstrated durability during his five seasons in Detroit, starting no fewer than 31 games or reaching less than 187.2 innings in any single year with the Tigers.

“Whenever you can acquire a player of Max Scherzer’s ability level, character, and toughness on the mound, those opportunities are few and far between,” Rizzo said January 21 at Scherzer’s introductory press conference. “He fits all the criteria that we’re looking for in a Washington Nationals-type of player.

“He’s good between the lines, he’s a tough guy, he gets after it, he takes the ball (and) he attacks hitters. In the clubhouse (he’s a) magnificent teammate. In the community (he) does nothing but impress everybody he touches. He’s a guy who you can’t ask for more from. He’s the type of guy we’re looking for, and he’s the guy we went after very aggressively — and we strengthened a strength. Who wouldn’t want Max Scherzer on their club?”

ST Cover socialTo continue reading “Opportunity Knocks” on Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, along with more great content from Nationals Magazine, please visit nationals.com/publications, or pick up a copy at the Main Clubhouse Team Store at Nationals Park or Space Coast Stadium, as well as inside Nationals Park on gamedays.

With bid to host MLB All-Star Game in, Nationals believe #DCisREADY

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As you may have heard, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred will be throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day, April 6. We are so honored that he will be a part of the kick-off to our 10-year anniversary season!

As excited as we are to welcome Commissioner Manfred, we’re even more excited about the opportunity to host an MLB All-Star Game!

The city submitted a strong bid to Major League Baseball, and we need your help to share with MLB that Washington, D.C. is ready to host. Washington hasn’t hosted the All-Star Game since 1969 – but as we launch our 10th anniversary season, we believe D.C. is ready!

D.C. is ready for Fan Fest.

D.C. is ready for the Home Run Derby.

DC. IS. READY.

DCisReadyStadium

Between now and Commissioner Manfred’s visit on April 6, share your enthusiasm as fans of the Washington Nationals and of this amazing city! Show MLB that there is no better place in America to host the national pastime’s All-Star Game than in the nation’s capital.

Share why you think #DCisREADY on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more! Tag @MLB. Share with your friends and family. Throughout the next few weeks we’ll be sharing why we think #DCisREADY and retweeting our favorite posts from you.

We can’t wait to see your enthusiasm for a potential All-Star Game in the nation’s capital!

Daily Wrap: Max Scherzer tabbed for Grapefruit League opener, Tony Gwynn Jr. signs & more

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by Amanda Comak

With the Grapefruit League opener now just two days away, the Washington Nationals went through a light workout day with everything wrapping up by noon on Tuesday. Wednesday will have a similar feel as the team prepares for the New York Mets to visit Space Coast Stadium on Thursday evening at 5:05 p.m. Baseball games are coming. Soon.

And that brings us to today’s news of the day…

News of the Day: Max Scherzer will start the Grapefruit League opener

Nationals Manager Matt Williams announced on Tuesday that it would indeed be the newest member of the Nationals’ rotation, Max Scherzer, who would get the ball in the first game of the Spring. He will be followed to the mound, after about two innings of work, by right-hander Tanner Roark.

But, Williams cautioned, there shouldn’t be too much read into that decision.

“There’s nothing to read into it other than [Scherzer’s] going to get the ball on Thursday and five days later, he’ll get it again,” Williams said.

“I would liken it to the leadoff hitter,” Williams added, of the distinction of being a “No. 1 starter.” “Once you get past the first inning, you have multiple leadoff hitters during the game. It’s important for those guys to get on base, too. All of our guys have the ability to go out there and compete and win games on any given day. That’s what we feel good about.”

— Additionally, the Nationals agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training with outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. The team expects Gwynn to be in camp on Wednesday.

Social Media of the Day

Guess who? #Nats #ace (@thepaulkim photo)

A photo posted by @nationals on

Quote of the Day:

For me, I’m a resource and a confidant for these guys. Anything they think I can help with. If they want to talk about stuff on the field, or something off the field, whatever it may be. I’m just here for them to lean on and pass along some of the things I learned along the way.” — Nationals Life Skills Coordinator Rick Ankiel

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