Nationals Game Notes — June 9 at San Francisco Giants

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Game #62: Washington Nationals (32-29) at San Francisco Giants (42-21) | 7:15 p.m. (PT); 10:15 p.m. (ET) | AT&T Park
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-4, 3.10 ERA) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (4-2, 3.39 ERA)
Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg enters Monday night’s game having won consecutive starts for first time since posting four wins in as many outings from Aug. 5-21, 2012 (44 starts in-between back-to-back wins).
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN2
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

With their victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon, the Nationals moved into a three-way tie for the top spot in the National League East with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins. The Nationals currently have a piece of first place for the first time since May 7, when they were tied with the Marlins atop the NL East.

Additionally, congratulations are in order for Jordan Zimmermann, who won the NL Pitcher of the Week honors on Monday afternoon. Zimmermann’s zero-walk, 12-strikeout shutout at Petco Park on Sunday capped a stellar six-day, two-start stretch (2-0, 17.0 scoreless innings, 1 BB, 16 SO). Both of Zimmermann’s starts last week resulted in shutout victories for the Nationals (W7-0 on Tue. vs. PHI, W6-0 on Sun. at SDP). Zimmermann becomes just the second Nationals pitcher to earn an NL Pitcher of the Week citation, joining Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 2.19 ERA, 2 GS) who earned the award for the period ending June 13, 2010, following his initial two big league starts. Before today, the most-recent Nationals player to be named NL Player of the Week was Ryan Zimmerman (.444, 4 home runs, 7 RBI for period ending July 16-22, 2012).

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

NATIONALS (32-29)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
19 Kevin Frandsen 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
11 Ryan Zimmerman LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
20 Ian Desmond SS
8 Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
37 Stephen Strasburg RHP

GIANTS (42-21)

7 Gregor Blanco (L) CF
8 Hunter Pence RF
28 Buster Posey C
48 Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
38 Michael Morse 1B
10 Tyler Colvin (L) LF
35 Brandon Crawford (L) SS
14 Brandon Hicks 2B
32 Ryan Vogelsong RHP

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

Jordan Zimmermann named NL Player of the Week

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by Amanda Comak

After opening the month of June with 17 consecutive scoreless innings, Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday afternoon.

Washington Nationals v San Diego PadresZimmermann, 28, pitched back-to-back gems over the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres en route to earning his first NL Player of the Week honors. On the week, Zimmermann was 2-0, allowed just seven hits, walked one and struck out 16. He held opposing batters to a .121 batting average and 71 percent of the 216 pitches he threw were strikes. Both of his starts turned into shutouts for the team.

Tuesday, against the Phillies, Zimmermann spun eight scoreless innings on just 102 pitches, and scattered five hits. He walked one, struck out four and earned his fourth win of the season.

Zimmermann’s encore, however, was one of the best-pitched games in Nationals (2005-present) history.

Sunday afternoon at Petco Park, Zimmermann carried a perfect game into the sixth inning and finished with a two-hit shutout in the Nationals’ 6-0 victory.

In the sixth complete game and third shutout of his career, Zimmermann became only the second starter in Nationals history to strike out at least 12 batters and walk none in a complete game (also John Patterson, Aug. 4, 2005). He needed just 114 pitches to go the distance, and 83 of those pitches went for strikes. Zimmermann joined Patterson and Stephen Strasburg as the only pitchers in Nationals history to strike out at least 12 batters in a game.

According to the Bill James Game Score, one metric for measuring dominant pitching performances, Zimmermann’s outing ranked as the best in Nationals (2005-present) history with a score of 95.

All of this comes on the heels of a month of May that was very unlike Zimmermann, in which he posted a 5.06 ERA.

“The whole month of May, I was that guy,” Zimmermann said after the victory over the Padres. “Everyone was having good starts, and I was pitching terrible. I just wanted to pitch like everyone else. We’ve got a good thing going right now.”

Zimmermann, who was named the NL Pitcher of the Month in July 2012, is the seventh Nationals player to win an NL POTW award, and earns the ninth such honor for the organization.

Zimmermann joins 3B Ryan Zimmerman (July 16-22, 2012; Aug. 15-21, 2011; July 30-Aug. 5, 2007), RHP Stephen Strasburg (June 7-13, 2010), OF Josh Willingham (July 27-Aug. 2, 2009), SS Cristian Guzman (Aug. 25-31, 2008), UTIL Willie Harris (July 17-20, 2008), and 1B Nick Johnson (May 31-June 6, 2005) as honorees.

Nationals Game Notes — June 8 at San Diego

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Game #61: Washington Nationals (31-29) at San Diego Padres (28-34) | 1:10 p.m. (PT); 4:10 p.m. (ET) | Petco Park
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (4-2, 3.59 ERA) vs. LHP Eric Stults (2-6, 5.03 ERA)
Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann owns a 0.86 ERA (2 ER/21 innings pitched) in three career starts at Petco Park, but was outdueled here by Stults in his most recent outing in San Diego (May 18, 2013), a 2-1 Padres victory. 
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN2
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

The Nationals are 4-2 in rubber matches (to decide a three-game series) this season. The Nationals’ six rubber games to date:

6-3 win at Miami, April 16;
1-0 loss at Philadelphia, May 4;
3-2 victory over the Dodgers, May 7;
5-1 win over Arizona, May 14;
6-3 victory over New York Mets, May 18;
2-1 loss to Cincinnati, May 21.

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

NATIONALS (31-29)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
19 Kevin Frandsen 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
11 Ryan Zimmerman LF
20 Ian Desmond SS
8 Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
59 Jose Lobaton (S) C
27 Jordan Zimmermann RHP

PADRES (28-34)

2 Everth Cabrera (S) SS
21 Seth Smith (L) RF
18 Carlos Quentin LF
7 Chase Headley (S) 3B
23 Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
8 Yasmani Grandal (S) C
24 Cameron Maybin CF
5 Alexi Amarista (L) 2B
53 Eric Stults (L) P

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

 

Nationals wrap up Day 2 of 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft

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The 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft continued with rounds 3-10 Friday afternoon. Here’s a look at Washington’s seven selections:

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington NationalsJakson Reetz – Catcher – Norris (NE) High School / Firth, NE – 3rd Round (93rd overall)

At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Reetz is known as a hard-nosed competitor and a tremendous athlete behind the plate.  He was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Nebraska Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .487 with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 37 runs scored in 2014. Reetz was rated by Baseball America as the No. 62 overall draft prospect (No. 1 in Nebraska) in this year’s draft class. He has signed a National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Nebraska. When he inked with the Cornhuskers, he was rated the No. 28 overall recruit in the country, and was named a 2013 Perfect Game First-Team Underclass All-American.

Nationals Assistant GM & VP of Scouting Operations Kris Kline: “We’re very excited (about Reetz). He’s a high school catcher that we love. Power bat, (and) he’s got a great feel to hit. Catching skills are maybe a tick better than (Oakland A’s catcher and former Nationals prospect) Derrick Norris at the same time. We have the right people to help him progress in that area. I think you’re looking at an offensive catcher at the big-league level down the road.”

Robert Dickey – Right Handed Pitcher – Blinn (TX) Junior College / Austin, TX – 4th Round (124th overall)

Dickey helped lead Blinn Junior College to its first Junior College World Series since 1992, going 9-4 with a 2.74 ERA (26 ER/85.1 IP) in 14 starts for the Buccaneers. He struck out 100 batters while walking just 44. Entering the season, he was rated by Perfect Game USA as the No. 1 overall junior college prospect in the nation. He’s noted for strong makeup and mound presence. He signed a National Letter of Intent with Texas State University.

National/Midwest Crosschecker Jimmy Gonzales: “Robert is very excited to be a National. He’s a strong right-handed pitcher. Great body, great character, plus fastball and a solid curveball. We feel he’s going to be a starter. He expressed a lot of interest in wanting to play for us.”

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington NationalsDrew Van Orden – Right Handed Pitcher – Duke (NC) University / Manhattan Beach, CA – 5th Round (154th overall)

At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Van Orden leans on his fastball and slider command to get batters out.  He ranked 6th in the Atlantic Coast Conference in strikeouts (91) and paced the Blue Devil staff in innings pitched (87.1), strikeouts and games started (14). Van Orden went 6-5 with a 3.19 ERA (34 ER/87.1 IP) while allowing opposing hitters to post a .219 average against him in 15 games/14 starts during his senior season.  He was selected to the ACC All-Tournament Team after tossing his first career shutout in Duke’s 6-0 win over Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament.

Austen Williams – Right Handed Pitcher – Texas State University / Fort Worth, TX – 6th Round (184th overall)

Williams was named All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team after finishing third in the conference in strikeouts (96) and tied for third in wins (8).  Standing 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Williams was 8-3 with a 3.65 ERA (40 ER/98.2 IP) in 15 starts for the Bobcats. He struck out 96 batters and hitters posted a .239 batting average against him.

Dale (D.K.) Carey – Center Fielder – University of Miami (FL) / Marietta, GA – 7th Round (214th overall)

Carey is seen as a plus defender and is considered one of the best pure athletes in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He stands 6-foot-2, weighs 207 pounds, and ranked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in runs scored (53), as well as ranking fourth in hits (75). On the season, he led the Hurricanes in hitting .305 (75-for-246) and doubles (16) while clubbing seven home runs, 29 RBI and 16 stolen bases.  Carey was named Second-Team All-ACC following the 2014 season.

Kris Kline: “Dale was a kid we felt, when he was young, that he was going to be a really good player. He struggled throughout college a bit. We noticed that he simplified his approach, he slowed the game down. He’s a really good defender — throws well, runs well. It’s been encouraging to see him progress to the point to do what we feel he is capable of doing. We’re very excited to have him as part of our system.”

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington NationalsJeff Gardner  –  Left Fielder – University of Louisville / Louisville, KY – 8th Round (244th overall)

A three-time All-Conference selection (Big East/American Athletic Conference) throughout his career, Gardner was named the 2014 AAC Player of the Year after hitting .326 with 20 doubles, nine home runs and leading the league with 67 RBI and a .551 slugging percentage.  He was a two-time AAC Player of the Week and was recently named a Collegiate Baseball Louisville Slugger Second Team All-American.

Austin Byler – First Baseman – University of Nevada-Reno / Peoria, AZ – 9th Round (274th overall)

Byler, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound first baseman, led the Mountain West Conference and ranked seventh in NCAA Division 1 with 14 home runs.  He also led the MWC in slugging percentage (.624) and total bases (138), while ranking fourth in on-base percentage (.420), runs scored (51) and fifth in RBI (47). Byler was a First Team All-Mountain West selection and a two-time MWC Player of the Week.  He hit .326 with 14 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs, 47 RBI and 51 runs scored in 57 games this season.

Matt Page – Left Fielder – Oklahoma Baptist University / Redwood City, CA – 10th Round (304th overall)

Page was a two-time NAIA First-Team All-American, two-time Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Year as well as the 2013 NAIA Player of the Year.  Standing 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Page hit .381 with 26 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs, 84 RBI and 78 runs scored in 64 games played in 2014.  His 26 doubles were second-most in NAIA, while his 84 RBI were good for third.

For more on who the Nationals selected in the first and second rounds, click here.

The 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft will conclude on Saturday.

Nationals Select UNLV’s Fedde

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by Mike Feigen

The Washington Nationals finished off a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday afternoon, then added to their deep farm system with the selection of pitcher Erick Fedde with the 18th overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

Fedde, a 6-foot-4, 180 pound right-hander out of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, compiled an 8-2 record with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts for the Rebels in 2014, striking out 82 batters and walking just 21 batters in 76.2 innings pitched. He was named to the All-Mountain West First Team and also earned 2014 Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year honors.

“We’ve scouted him intensely over the last three years,” Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo said, noting Fedde’s competitiveness on the mound. “He’s got two plus-plus pitches, and his third pitch, a change-up, is on the come. We think that’s going to be an above average pitch.”

The 21-year-old, who played at Las Vegas High School with Bryce Harper in 2009, underwent Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on Tuesday. Rizzo said that the team is excited about Fedde’s potential, despite the injury.

“[Erick is a] big, physical guy — we had him toward the top of our draft board,” Rizzo said. “We felt that the risk of him rehabbing and coming back to pre-injury form was worth the draft pick.”

Assistant General Manager & Vice President of Scouting Operations Kris Kline was also sold on Fedde’s pedigree and repertoire.

“I actually saw his first start of the year at UNLV and it was really, really good,” Kline said. “I walked out of there thinking that we’ve got no shot at getting this player, because he was a top-five type guy. He doesn’t throw anything straight … a lot of life, very heavy, above average slider up to 88 [miles per hour] and the makings and flashes of an above-average change-up.”

Following a year in which the Nationals did not have a first-round selection, the Nationals will look to extend their impressive run of successful first round picks since Rizzo was promoted to the team’s GM post in 2009. Fedde joins Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Harper, Anthony Rendon and Lucas Giolito as first-round draft selections in Washington during Rizzo’s tenure.

Rizzo said the Nationals’ medical team has been in touch with the doctors who performed Fedde’s surgery, and assuming Fedde signs with the organization this summer, the team will at that point take over the rehabilitation process.

“We’ll put him in the Viera [Fla.] rehab mode,” Rizzo said. “We’ll have our really talented rehab coordinators get after it and allow him to hopefully be pitching at this time next year somewhere.”

[UPDATE]

With their second round selection at No. 57 overall, the Nationals tabbed Andrew Suarez, a 6-foot-2 left-hander out of the University of Miami. Suarez, 21, went 6-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 2014, walking a minuscule 15 batters in 109.2 innings of work for the Hurricanes.

The draft is set to continue with rounds three through 10 on Friday and rounds 11 through 40 Saturday.

Nationals Game Notes — June 5 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game #58: Washington Nationals (29-28) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (24-33) | 4:05 p.m. | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Doug Fister (3-1, 3.34 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (1-5, 4.21 ERA)
Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister has won back-to-back-to-back starts, besting Francisco Liriano, Johnny Cueto and Nick Tepesch. Fister is looking to become the first National to earn four wins in as many starts since Jordan Zimmermann did exactly that, Sept. 4-20, 2013.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

The Nationals are batting .315 (68-for-216) with 12 doubles, nine home runs, 19 walks (.371 on-base%) and 39 runs scored in six contests dating to their series finale on May 28 vs. the Marlins. In that six-game stretch, the Nationals have averaged 6.5 runs per contest thanks in largely to a .286 mark and 10 extra-base hits (seven doubles, three home runs) with runners in scoring position.

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

Nationals Game Notes — June 4 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game #57: Washington Nationals (28-28) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (24-32) | 7:05 p.m. | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-4, 3.15 ERA) vs. RHP AJ Burnett (3-4, 3.79 ERA)
Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA (1 ER/17.0 IP) in a pair of home starts (one BB, 19 SO in 17.0 inn.) against the Philadelphia Phillies last season.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN and WUSA
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

With Ryan Zimmerman in the starting lineup this season, the Nationals are 7-4 and average 6.3 runs per game (69 runs, 11 contests). In 45 games wihout Zimmerman, the Nationals have averaged 3.6 runs per game (160 runs, 45 games) and are 21-24.

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

NATIONALS (28-28)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
11 Ryan Zimmerman LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
20 Ian Desmond SS
8 Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
37 Stephen Strasburg RHP

PHILLIES (24-32)

11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
3 Marlon Byrd RF
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
51 Carlos Ruiz C
9 Domonic Brown (L) LF
17 Reid Brignac (L) 3B
2 Ben Revere (L) CF
34 A.J. Burnett RHP

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

Nationals Magazine Preview: Ian Desmond; The People’s Captain

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The following is an excerpt from the June/July issue of Nationals Magazine. To read the full story, visit nationals.com/publications to find out how you can subscribe. The June/July issue of Nationals Magazine is on sale now, can be purchased at the Main Clubhouse Team Store at Nationals Park and is also available inside Nationals Park on gamedays.

by Mike Feigen

The most coveted emblem in sports is not a logo on a cap or a dollar sign on a contract. Instead, it is the captain’s ‘C’ on a player’s chest, symbolizing not just their play on the field, court, or ice, but the respect they earn off it. Currently, no baseball players don a ‘C’ on their jerseys — only three are designated as team captains at all — but Ian Desmond, with the encouragement of his most devoted fans, could one day join that exclusive company. 

Mag2_cover_webThe evening of April 17, 2014 proved to be one of the toughest of Ian Desmond’s career. He’d shown up at the ballpark hoping to lead the Nationals to a victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, but instead found himself in front of his locker answering questions after a difficult 8-0 loss. The two-time Silver Slugger Award-winner wasn’t just bothered by the defeat, but by his fielding mishaps — a pair of errors that led to four Cardinals runs.

Always honest and forthright about his performances, good and bad, Desmond made sure he was available to the media late that night.

“As bad as I want to run and hide… (I’ve) got to stand here and answer the questions, and be a man about it,” Desmond told reporters. “This is something I’ve done to myself. I can’t blame anybody else or anything. I’ve been here before — I’ve proved to people I can play, and I’ve proved to myself I can play. I’m going to do it again. The errors in the past have made me who I am today. These are going to make me a better man, too. I’ve just got to keep fighting through it.”

Make me a better man. Those words are seldom heard in a clubhouse, where machismo and defiance usually follow tough defeats. Desmond is an exception to that rule, offering fans and reporters an introspective into his psyche on the bad nights and heaping praise on his teammates on the good ones.

Just a week earlier, Desmond deflected credit after he hit a game-clinching grand slam to give the Nats a 7-1 lead, saying middle reliever Aaron Barrett came through more than he did by getting a key strikeout when the score was still 2-1. It’s just part of who he is.

Desmond’s regard for others extends far beyond the walls of Nationals Park.

He supports as many charitable causes as he can, the vast majority of which are behind the scenes, with no fanfare. He prefers it that way. Causes he has publicly backed include the campaign to end Neurofibromatosis (NF), which generated more than $30,000 in donations during the month of May, and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy (YBA), which opened in March. (For more details on Desmond’s quest to End NF click here.)

As a 28-year-old professional ballplayer with a wife and two small children, Desmond could not be faulted if he simply opened his checkbook for various causes and left the work of managing them to others. Instead, he voluntarily became the face of the End NF campaign and serves on the Youth Baseball Academy board of directors, going out of his way to provide more than just financial support.

Rarely do athletes take that kind of approach, but Desmond has a deep appreciation for where he came from and what it took to reach this point.

Mag2_300x390To continue reading “The People’s Captain” on Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, 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, as well as inside Nationals Park on gamedays.

Nationals reinstate Ryan Zimmerman from DL, option Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated third baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the 15-Day Disabled List on Tuesday, and optioned infielder/outfielder Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse.

Zimmerman, 29, returns to the Nationals after missing 44 games due to a right thumb fracture, suffered April 12 at Atlanta. He rejoins the active roster after hitting .357 (5-for-14) in four rehab games with Single-A Potomac.

He will start for the Nationals on Tuesday night, playing left field for the first time in his Major League career.

Through the first 10 games of the season, before his injury, Zimmerman hit .364 with a .405 on-base percentage and .636 slugging percentage. He clubbed two home runs and three doubles, walked three times and drove in six runs.

Hitting in the middle of the Nationals’ lineup, Zimmerman was an integral part of the Nationals’ early-season offense.

During his time in the lineup, the Nationals averaged 5.27 runs per game – the second-highest average of any team in the National League (Colorado led with 5.50). The Nationals are currently averaging 4.04 runs per game.

Moore, 27, hit .225 (9-for-40) in this latest stint with the Nationals, including one double, one home run, four walks and eight RBI. Moore is hitting .214 (15-for-70) on the season with three home runs, two doubles, seven walks and 11 RBI.

Nationals Manager Matt Williams reaches out to DCPS baseball coaches

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by Amanda Comak

It wasn’t long after Matt Williams was named the Washington Nationals manager last fall before he began to figure out where his help might be needed most in the D.C. community. Little more than a month after he was appointed as the fifth field manager in Nationals history, Williams found himself enjoying lunch at the Red Porch on a cool day among men with whom he shared an interest: teaching the game of baseball.

Nationals Manager Matt Williams with DCPS coaches.

Nationals Manager Matt Williams with DCPS coaches.

Williams welcomed a group of District of Columbia Public Schools varsity baseball coaches to Nationals Park that day, and talked with them about the challenges they face in trying to foster the game in the District.

A few months later, each coach received a letter from Williams.

“As a leader of a team, I am aware of the challenges that you face as a coach,” Williams wrote to each coach. “While neither I, nor the Washington Nationals, will have a solution to all of your struggles, I am interested in helping you achieve success.

“One of the challenges that resonated with me during our question-and-answer session was your need for baseballs. Therefore, I’d like to give you 30 practice baseballs for your team’s use during the remainder of this season. Hopefully these baseballs will be of help to you and your kids.”

Last week, as a follow-up to that first meeting, a group of those same coaches enjoyed the Nationals game against the Marlins.

Washington Nationals Manager Matt Williams greeted a group of DCPS baseball coaches before the Nationals' game against the Marlins on May 28.

Washington Nationals Manager Matt Williams greeted a group of DCPS baseball coaches before the Nationals’ game against the Marlins on May 28.

“They’re teaching our young baseball players how to play the game and it’s hard for them to have support,” Williams said last week. “There’s very little funding. They work long hours. They have to find places to practice and they have to find baseballs, so I’m helping them do that. I just want to help them coach and help them teach.”

Williams, who made good on his promise and donated 30 practice baseballs to each team, welcomed the coaches onto the field during batting practice. He set each coach and an assistant up with tickets to the game, and offered each $20 in Nats Bucks to use within the ballpark that night.

“At times, coaching may feel like a thankless job,” Williams wrote. “However, as mentors to student-athletes, you have a sizable impact on these kids’ lives. I am incredibly grateful for the time and energy that you commit to the youth in our community.”

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