Jayson Werth named National League Player of the Month for July

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by Amanda Comak

After a second consecutive torrid month of July, Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth was named the National League Player of the Month on Monday by Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball made the announcement this afternoon.

Werth hit .337 (28-for-83) in July with 11 doubles, six home runs, 24 RBI, 17 runs scored and 14 walks to earn the second monthly citation of his 13-year Major League career.

Coincidentally, Werth earned the first Player of the Month award of his career in July of 2013 (.367 average, seven home runs, 22 RBI).

This July, the 35-year-old Werth led the National League in doubles, RBI, extra-base hits (17) and game-winning RBI (6). Werth also ranked among the National League’s best in slugging percentage (second, .687), on-base percentage (third, .446) and batting average (fifth).

With his Player of the Month honors in 2013, Werth became the first Nationals position player to be named NL Player of the Month since the club’s DC arrival in 2005. He remains the only position player to have earned the award.

Pitchers Chad Cordero (June, 2005), Stephen Strasburg (April, 2012), Gio Gonzalez (May, 2012) and Jordan Zimmermann (July, 2012) have all nabbed National League Pitcher of the Month honors in years past.

Nationals recall OF Steven Souza Jr., place OF Nate McLouth on 15-day DL

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by Amanda Comak

Washington Nationals vs Houston AstrosThe Washington Nationals recalled outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from Triple-A Syracuse on Monday afternoon and placed outfielder Nate McLouth on the 15-day Disabled List (retroactive to Aug. 2) with right shoulder inflammation.

Souza, who rejoins the Nationals for his second Major League stint of the season, currently leads the International League in batting average (.354), on-base percentage (.435), slugging percentage (.601) and OPS (1.036).

In 91 games with Syracuse this season, Souza, 25, has collected 43 extra-base hits, including 23 doubles, two triples and 18 home runs. He has stolen 24 bases and been caught seven times.

During his first call-up this season, Souza was 1-for-8 (.125) with a walk and three strikeouts in nine plate appearances spanning eight games (one start).

McLouth, 32, is 24-for-139 (.179) in 79 games (33 starts) this season. The Nationals’ primary left-handed bat off the bench has six doubles, one home run and seven RBI this season. He’s walked 16 times and stolen four bases.

Nationals Game Notes — August 3 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game No. 109: Washington Nationals (59-49) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (49-62) | 1:35 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.55 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (6-5, 2.55)
Washington Nationals righty Stephen Strasburg (West Hills HS) and Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels (Rancho Bernardo HS), both natives of San Diego, match up for the fourth time. In the first three match-ups, Strasburg has posted a 1.37 ERA.
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 has reached base safely via a hit or a walk in 28 straight games, dating to June 28. He’s gone 40-for-109 (.367) with four doubles, five RBI, 18 walks, 22 runs scored and eight stolen bases without being caught in that stretch. His 28-game on-base percentage: .453.
    Span’ 28-game run is currently the longest such streak in the Major Leagues, the 10th-longest in MLB this year, and is tied for the fifth-longest in Nationals history. Here are the others:
    1. Ryan Zimmerman …………….43 games Apr. 8 - May 25, 2008
    2. Alfonso Soriano ……………….30 games Aug. 27 - Sept. 29, 2006

    T3. Denard Span ……………………29 games Aug. 17 - Sept. 19, 2013

    T3. Ryan Zimmerman …………….29 games July 22 - Aug. 23, 2011
     
    T5. Denard Span ……………………28 games June 28, 2014 - present
    T5. Michael Morse …………………28 games July 6 - Aug. 9, 2011

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

NATIONALS (59-49)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
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
37 Stephen Strasburg RHP

PHILLIES (49-62)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
3 Marlon Byrd RF
24 Grady Sizemore (L) LF
21 Wil Nieves C
25 Cody Asche (L) 3B
35 Cole Hamels (L) LHP

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

Nationals players make final day of Summer Academy at YBA a memorable one

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 Washington Nationals

by Kyle Mann

On the final day of its Summer Academy Program, the scholar-athletes at the Washington Nationals’ Youth Baseball Academy had a few special visitors.

Aaron Barrett, Ian Desmond, Kevin Frandsen, Scott Hairston and Adam LaRoche visited the YBA on Friday morning, and though the experience was surely one the nearly-100 scholar-athletes participating would never forget, the Nationals players may have been the ones most impacted.

“It’s been a blast to be here,” LaRoche said of the Academy, a place he referred to as ‘The Disneyland of Baseball.’ “It was two hours of nothing but fun and smiles.”

The schedule for the day included games played simultaneously on the Academy’s three fields, one overseen by Hairston and his two sons, Dallas and Landon, one run by LaRoche and his daughter, Montana, and another by Barrett and Frandsen.

Desmond, who hosts a group of 20 Academy scholar-athletes at Nationals Park every month during the season as part of his Ian’s Academy All-Stars program, is also a Youth Baseball Academy Board Member. Serving in a role best described as roving fun instructor, he rotated between fields, alternating teaching proper footwork around the second base bag and giving one-on-one pep talks to future stars.

“All we can do is try to make an impact,” Desmond said. “It’s good for the kids, the parents, it’s all positive.”

While the constant chants supporting every batter emphasized how much fun this day was for the kids, Summer Academy coach Travaughn Kinney reminded his team about the importance of striving to be your best.

“Focus on having fun, but we love to win,” he told his team as they took the field.

Kinney, a two-sport college athlete from D.C., discussed the importance of baseball for children as part of their development.

“Baseball teaches patience, and kids from (this area) need that,” he said. “Baseball truly requires a team, and that’s my favorite part about the game.”

The Youth Baseball Academy is about a lot more than baseball, and the Summer Academy program is no exception. An integral part of the YBA’s year-round youth development program, the Summer Academy provides a safe, fun, and active learning environment that furthers its mission to use baseball and softball as vehicles to develop literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. The program also teaches scholar-athletes how to lead healthy lifestyles through fitness, proper nutrition and cooking lessons in a safe, nurturing environment.

The scholar-athletes partaking in the Summer Academy included rising fourth and fifth graders who participated in the Academy’s inaugural After-School Program, and rising third graders who started with the first Summer Academy.

In future years, Academy attendees will matriculate through the eighth grade while a class of rising third graders is added. To supplement learning at the Academy, the scholar-athletes took part in weekly experiential-learning field trips, including to the United States Botanic Gardens, the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater and the National Zoo.

But playing baseball with their favorite Nationals on the program’s final day may have offered the biggest highlight.

Here’s a photo gallery from the day:

 

Nationals Game Notes — August 1 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game No. 107: Washington Nationals (58-48) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (48-61) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: RHP Doug Fister (10-2, 3.69 ERA) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (5-8, 4.14)
Washington Nationals right-hander Doug Fister looks to become the first Nationals pitcher to win six straight decisions since Tanner Roark won seven straight decisions from Aug. 10 – Sept. 17 in 2013. 
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:

  • Here’s a closer look at Jayson Werth’s candidacy for the National League Player of the Month award for July, which, coincidentally, he won last July after hitting .367, with seven home runs, 22 RBI and 17 runs scored in 27 games.
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Here are the lineups for today’s match-up:

NATIONALS (58-48)

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

PHILLIES (48-61)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
3 Marlon Byrd RF
24 Grady Sizemore (L) LF
51 Carlos Ruiz C
25 Cody Asche (L) 3B
27 Roberto Hernandez RHP

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

Nationals Game Notes — July 31 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game No. 106: Washington Nationals (58-47) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (47-61) | 7:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.56 ERA) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (4-5, 3.78)
Neither Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (Reading, ‘06) or Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cliff Lee (drafted by MON) ever pitched for their opponents tonight, despite once being members of their minor-league systems.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM  and also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: Today’s game will be televised on MASN2
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • Denard Span has reached base safely via a hit or walk in 25 straight games, dating to June 28. He’s gone 35-for-97 (.361) with four doubles, two RBI, 18 walks, 20 runs scored and seven stolen bases in that stretch. His 25-game on-base percentage: .461. Span has also reached base safely in the first inning 14 times in 23 July contests with one double, eight singles and five walks.

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

NATIONALS (58-47)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
28 Jayson Werth RF
40 Wilson Ramos  C
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
20 Ian Desmond SS
19 Kevin Frandsen 1B
8 Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
47 Gio Gonzalez LHP

PHILLIES (47-61)

2 Ben Revere (L) CF
11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
3 Marlon Byrd RF
51 Carlos Ruiz C
24 Grady Sizemore (L) LF
18 Darin Ruf 1B
4 Andres Blanco (S) 3B
33 Cliff Lee (L) LHP

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

Nationals acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from Indians in exchange for Zach Walters

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by Amanda Comak

In a move that bolsters their infield defense and gives manager Matt Williams an additional lineup option, the Washington Nationals acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and cash considerations from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for infielder Zach Walters on Thursday afternoon.

Cabrera, a veteran shortstop who has started 149 games at second base, is a career .270 hitter (933-for-3460) with 211 doubles, 82 home runs, 290 walks and a .331 career on-base percentage in 914 games, spent exclusively with the Indians.

A two-time All-Star, Cabrera, 28, represented the Indians in the 2011 and 2012 Mid-Summer Classics. His initial All-Star selection came in his finest offensive season, when he hit .273 and established career highs with 25 home runs, 60 extra-base hits and 92 RBI to garner a 2011 AL Silver Slugger award. His on-field contributions have twice helped the Indians qualify for the playoffs (2007, 2013).

A switch-hitter, Cabrera’s numbers are fairly even against both left and right-handed pitching. Although Cabrera’s hit more than three times as many home runs against right-handed pitching (62 to 20), he owns a higher career OPS against left-handers (.753 vs. left, .737 vs. right).

Cabrera has hit 11 home runs in 73 career games in against National League teams.

Cabrera was batting .246 with 33 extra-base hits, including 22 doubles, at the time of the trade. With nine homers, he is just one home run shy of registering his fourth consecutive double-digit homer campaign.

Walters, 24, has hit .234 with three home runs and six RBI in 40 Major League games over the last two seasons. Also a switch hitter, Walters was originally acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in another deadline deal, coming to the Nationals on July 30, 2011 in exchange for right-hander Jason Marquis.

Frank Thomas becomes first Hall of Fame player signed by Mike Rizzo

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by Amanda Comak

For nearly 20 minutes on a spectacular Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, NY, Frank Thomas stood in front of thousands of fans, friends, family, and those he could now call his contemporaries: fellow Hall of Famers. For nearly 20 minutes, the man the baseball world came to know as ‘The Big Hurt,’ delivered an emotional, touching speech.

Seven minutes into that speech — one littered with the thanks he had for those who’d helped him on his way to becoming one of the most feared right-handed hitters of a generation — Thomas uttered the name of Washington Nationals President of Baseball Operations and GM, Mike Rizzo.

“I would like to thank the Chicago White Sox organization for drafting me into professional baseball,” Thomas said. “Special thanks to Jerry Reinsdorf, Eddie Einhorn, Larry Himes, Al Goldis, (Howard) Pizer and Mike Rizzo, for taking a chance on a kid from a small town with many big dreams.”

Sunday was an exceptional day for Frank Thomas, along with the rest of the 2014 Hall of Fame class. But it was an exceptional day for so many others, too, who’d had a hand in helping to get those transcendent talents to this point. When it comes to Thomas, count Rizzo among that group.

“It’s a very proud day for me,” Rizzo said Sunday morning on MASN. “He’s a player who is very near and dear to my heart. He was the first big leaguer that I ever signed, and obviously the first Hall of Famer I ever signed. I’m just so happy for him. He was a guy a lot of people doubted when he was coming up and Frank played with a little chip on his shoulder. I think that drove him to be the player he (became) — and what a special player.

“In my opinion he’s one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time, and certainly the greatest right-handed hitter I ever signed.”

The moment the White Sox selected Thomas with the No. 7 overall pick in the 1989 draft was obviously a seminal one for the organization, as well as Thomas. But it served as one for Rizzo, too.

Rizzo was a young area scout then, and White Sox GM and Scouting Director, Himes and Goldis, respectively, put their faith in Rizzo’s scouting abilities by trusting his recommendation and taking Thomas. It wasn’t without pushback from other scouts, who wondered about Thomas’ speed and defensive abilities. But Rizzo was clear: This guy can hit. He will hit.

“The debate was ‘Do you take a first baseman with the seventh overall pick in the draft?'” Rizzo recalled. “Any scout will tell you the toughest thing to scout when you’re in the amateur game of scouting is the hit tool. Everyone can see velocity. There’s a radar gun for that. You know when a guy can run fast because there’s a stopwatch for that. There’s no instrument to judge if the guy can hit or not. It’s something that’s really in the eye of the beholder — and when you’re taking a first baseman as big as Frank, who doesn’t possess great defensive skills and speed, but a guy who’s going to have to hit for a living, it’s much more difficult.

“But Larry Himes and Al Goldis both had some hitting background and expertise and to sell them on a guy we should take seventh and if he doesn’t hit he doesn’t play, it was challenging. It was something I was really hell-bent on (though) because I really did think he was an impact bat. And at the end of the day they trusted my judgment.”

Himes and Goldis also afforded Rizzo the opportunity to negotiate Thomas’ contract — and that was perhaps the first step on Rizzo’s path to becoming a Major League GM, and now President of the Nationals’ Baseball Operations.

Rizzo signed Thomas for $175,000 — less than the amount Himes and Goldis had given him as a maximum to work with.

Twenty-five years later, on an idyllic Sunday in upstate New York, Thomas became a Hall of Famer. And Rizzo could take a lot of pride in that.

Nationals recall Zach Walters, place Ryan Zimmerman on 15-day DL

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by Amanda Comak

Milwaukee Brewers v Washington NationalsThe Nationals placed Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-Day Disabled List on Wednesday afternoon with a right hamstring strain, and recalled infielder Zach Walters from Triple-A Syracuse.

Walters, 24, rejoins the Nationals for his second Major League stint of the season. In 60 games at Triple-A this season, Walters is hitting .300 with a .358 on-base percentage and a .608 slugging percentage. While racking up 38 extra-base hits, Walters has clubbed 15 home runs and collected 48 RBI.

In his last 10 games with Syracuse, Walters has hit .475 with a .523 on-base percentage and a .608 slugging percentage.

From April 13 – May 24, Walters appeared in 27 Major League games (two starts) and hit .182 (6-for-33) with all three of his home runs coming off the bench.

Zimmerman, 29, hits the DL for the second time this season after missing 44 games with a right thumb fracture earlier in the year. The Nationals’ third baseman/left fielder is hitting .282 on the season with five home runs, 19 doubles and 36 RBI.

In the month of July, Zimmerman has collected 21 hits in 58 at-bats (.362 AVG), posted a .418 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging percentage, courtesy of eight extra-base hits (six doubles, two home runs).

When Zimmerman has been in the Nationals’ starting lineup this season, they are 33-19 and average 4.9 runs per game. In the 46 games they have played without him, the Nationals averaged 3.5 runs per game and went 22-24.

Nationals Game Notes — July 20 vs. Milwaukee Brewers

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Game No. 96: Washington Nationals (52-43) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (54-44) | 1:35 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Up: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 3.56 ERA) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.68)
Washington Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez is 4-0 with a 0.32 ERA (1 ER/28.0 IP) in four starts this season against National League Central foes.
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 and WUSA9
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

  • Gio Gonzalez enters his start today with 995 career strikeouts (511 as an Athletic, 484 as a National). Only seven pitchers have pitched for the Nationals (2005 – pres.) and amassed 1,000+ strikeouts during their careers: Pedro Astacio, Miguel Batista, Dan Haren, Livan Hernandez, Edwin Jackson, Esteban Loaiza and Jason Marquis.

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

NATIONALS (52-43)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 2B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
11 Ryan Zimmerman 3B
34 Bryce Harper (L) LF
20 Ian Desmond SS
59 Jose Lobaton (S) C
47 Gio Gonzalez LHP

BREWERS (54-44)

27 Carlos Gomez CF
23 Rickie Weeks 2B
8 Ryan Braun RF
16 Aramis Ramirez 3B
20 Jonathan Lucroy C
18 Khris Davis LF
7 Mark Reynolds 1B
9 Jean Segura SS
49 Yovani Gallardo RHP

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

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