Results tagged ‘ Alex Cora ’

One Up, One Down

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It was bound to happen eventually. As good as Gio Gonzalez had looked so far in Spring Training up until Thursday’s contest with the Cardinals, he finally had a bad day. Arguably his best performance of the spring – where he shut out the Red Birds on two hits, striking out two without walking a batter over four innings of work 11 days prior – was wiped from the record books when that game was cancelled due to rain before reaching the fifth inning. Unfortunately for Gio, this is the one that will stick on his stat line, as he absorbed his first loss of the spring in a 9-0 defeat.

It was a good day to remember that these games don’t matter in the standings, something Gonzalez was keenly aware of.

When the Nationals play the Cardinals, there is plenty of red both on the scoreboard and in the stands.

“You’re going to have some of those days,” he said. “The great part about today was that it was Spring Training.”

And if a rough outing in March can translate into a smooth start in August or September against the defending champs, well, the Nationals will certainly take that trade-off. As for the result itself, manager Davey Johnson wasn’t too worried. With the team playing the first of three consecutive road games, the lineup was devoid of many of its regular starters, as players receive alternating days off from the rigors of Grapefruit League travel.

“These are kind of the doldrums of spring,” Johnson explained. “When we come home (to Viera), I’ll be starting guys for nine innings more frequently in the lineup.”

The skipper had a sense of humor about the game as well.

“I don’t want (our guys) peaking too early,” he said, then quipped, “they’re not.”

In other Gio news, earlier this week he learned his assignment as the number two starter, following Stephen Strasburg who’ll toe the rubber on Opening Day vs. the Cubs. The whole point of landing Gonzalez in the offseason trade was to have a power lefty to slot in between the club’s young righties, Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. That appears to be exactly where Gio will fit as the rotation begins its first turn at Wrigley Field in Chicago in just under two weeks.

Gonzalez will follow in the rotation behind Strasburg, who was named the Opening Day starter.

We have one other note from an otherwise largely note-less afternoon. Another oddity of Spring Training came on a routine ground ball from former National Alex Cora in the sixth inning. Cora grounded into a force out, with Minor League second baseman Seth Bynum shuffling the ball to shortstop Andres Blanco at second base. There was nothing remarkable about the play itself, except that #13 (Cora) hit the ball to #13 (Bynum), who made the putout to #13 (Blanco). With the additional Minor Leaguers filling out the roster for the road game, there are often double-ups on jersey numbers, as players keep their assigned jerseys from Minor League camp. Still, it’s unusual to see three players wearing the same number involved in the same play.

The Nationals will play the second of those three straight road games against Houston in Kissimmee on Friday afternoon. Here are the team’s results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

@ Miami – L, 3-0

vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2

@ Detroit – T, 5-5

@ St. Louis – Canceled (rain)

vs. St. Louis – W, 8-4

vs. Detroit – L, 6-3

@ Atlanta – L, 6-5

vs. New York (AL) – L, 8-5

@ New York (AL) – L, 4-3 (10)

vs. Miami – T, 1-1

vs. Detroit – L, 11-7

@ New York (NL) – L, 2-0

vs. Atlanta – L, 3-2 (10)

@ St. Louis – L, 9-0

@ Houston – Friday, 1:05pm

Overall Record: 5-11-3

Nationals players and coaches visit Walter Reed Hospital

Last Friday, Washington Nationals players and coaches made their annual trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the last time they’ll visit the facility before the hospital closes its doors next week. The facility has been the U.S. Army’s flagship medical center since 1909 and has served more than 150,000 patients from all branches of the military. After more than 100 years in action, its doors are set to close on September 15.

While the sight of the ballplayers produced smiles on the faces of many patients and their families, the players and coaches were struck by the sacrifices these servicemen and women had made for the sake of their country.

“You see a 19-year-old kid with his legs missing, and it’s pretty tough to take,” pitcher John Lannan said. “These guys are doing something they believe in and we’re proud to have them out there fighting for us.” 
 

Nationals P John Lannan and 3B Coach Bo Porter entering Walter Reed Hospital.

The Nationals came away with a new found appreciation for the dedication of the armed forces. What they saw made them realize how truly lucky they were.

“When you come here, everything is put into perspective,” infielder Alex Cora said. “Even if we win, it’s just a game. Winning or losing, first place or last place, it’s just a game. We’re lucky to do what we do. It’s because of these people we have the freedom to live and do the things that we do on a daily basis, because of their sacrifice for us.”

The Nationals are used to being seen as role models in the community, but on the day of their visit, they admired the positive attitudes they saw from the military patients.

“I think they are more of a role model to me”, said Lannan. “They are as much of a role model to me as I am to them. I hope those guys realize how much we support them and how much we appreciate everything they do.”

Nationals trade Justin Maxwell

The Nationals traded Maryland native Justin Maxwell to the Yankees in return for Minor League right-handed pitcher Adam Olbrychowski

 

Maxwell was designated for assignment last Thursday to create an extra space on the 40-man roster and the Nats had 10 days to trade Maxwell, reassign him to the Minor Leagues or release him. They traded him.

 

Maxwell was always a hometown favorite but he never was able to transform his talent into consistent play at the Major League level. He spent time between the Minors and Majors the last two seasons and batted .201 with nine homers and 26 RBI in 122 games over three seasons (2007, 2009-10) with Washington.

 

Olbrychowski went 3-2 with four holds, one save and a 3.90 ERA in 32 games (one start) last season with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. During the last two seasons (2009-10), the 24-year-old is a combined 6-4 with seven holds, one save and a 3.31 ERA in 65 games/three starts at Single-A and Double-A. He was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Pepperdine University.

 

In other news, the Nats outrighted right-handed pitcher Shairon Martis to Triple-A Syracuse. Martis will be a non-roster invitee at Big League Spring Training.

 

They also agreed to terms with right-handed reliever Cla Meredith and infielder Alex Cora on Minor League contracts that include Spring Training invitations.

 

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