Results tagged ‘ Jesus Flores ’

Life on the Berm

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As the Nationals face Atlanta on a warm spring evening in Lake Buena Vista, we’re in Braves country, but there is a smattering of Nationals red throughout the seats. With Stephen Strasburg starting and Bryce Harper playing in center field, there are number 37 and 34 jerseys visible dotting the crowd.

We make our way down the left field line and atop the berm, which wraps around from halfway down the line to left-center field, passing the “All-You-Care-To-Eat” tent (just $25!) on the trip. Among the ushers standing along the top ridge is Debbie H., a self-described snowbird from Highland, Md., who spends roughly half the year in the Orlando area. Although she’s not even a huge baseball fan, she applied for a job working at Champion Stadium last season, and has loved her time here. This is her sixth game of the spring, all of which have been spent on the berm.

“I love it,” she says of her job. “I’m glad I took it.”

She highlights the freedom that the open, grassy space offers to fans, including the ability to shed their shoes and socks, almost like an outdoor concert.

“A lot of people like to be able to lay down, spread out, get some sun,” she says, which is certainly the case this evening, as we are squarely in the sun field for this 6:05 start.

There's plenty of room to spread out on the berm in Lake Buena Vista.

Debbie has also noticed the influx of Washington fans at this particular game. One of her favorite parts of the job is to be able to chat with fans of the different teams that visit Lake Buena Vista each March.

“Some people take their vacation because the Nationals are here,” she explains. “I think it’s really neat that people are willing to follow their teams during Spring Training.”

We make our way to the far outfield end of the berm and shuffle down towards a quartet of fans. The first one we meet is Pat S., who is wearing a Racing Presidents shirt and who is out here celebrating his birthday. Born in St. Mary’s County, Md., he and his wife now live in the Orlando area. While he used to attend 12-14 games each spring, this is his first of 2012. He wasn’t going to miss Strasburg pitch. But does he always sit on the berm?

“Absolutely,” says Pat.

“Everywhere we go,” chips in friend David T., who also lives in Orlando but originally hails from northeastern Pennsylvania. “I like it because I can lounge out and hang out.”

Pat sheds a different perspective on why he likes the view from the grass.

Playing catch in the twilight on the berm.

“I’m an outfielder when I play softball, so this is where I view the game from,” he explains. “Anywhere else to me just looks so abnormal that I can’t judge the game or watch the game.”

As we sit there, Chad Tracy pops a two-run shot over the right-field wall, opposite of where we are sitting. Two batters later, Jesus Flores powers one out to nearly the same spot, leveling the score at 3-3. While a two-home run inning that ties the game would normally be cause for a raucous celebration, the combination of the road environment, the relative insignificance of a Spring Training result, and the relaxed nature of life on the berm make this just another moment in the game to enjoy.

We chat baseball with Pat and David for a while longer and the sun finally dips below the top of the seats on the first base side. In that ideal moment, the sting of the glare is suddenly gone, and the temperature eases a few degrees cooler to perfection, the twilight settling in above us. As we soak in the splendor of the display, Pat draws our attention to the scene unfolding in front of us.

“Does it get any better than this?” he ponders.

In the space between us and the wall, a group of about six kids, boys and girls, ranging several years in age, have gathered and paired off to play catch in the grass. With the contest itself in the background almost an afterthought, the pure joy of the game takes precedence over anything that might be happening on the field. As we thought about Pat’s question, we found it impossible to disagree.

Nats place Ryan Zimmerman on the DL

The storyline tonight will certainly center around Jayson Werth. How could it not? He is playing his former team for the first time and for some reason when a star player faces their former team for the first time, it always seems to grab headlines. It will be interesting to see how he is greeted by the Phillies’ faithful who make the trip down the I-95 corridor to Nationals Park, but the reaction will only be part of the story and only last about 10 seconds. Whether he is cheered or booed is all but irrelevant at the end of the day. The Nats play the Phillies 18 times a year—so Werth and the Phillies will have several encounters. This is the first of many—126 to be exact—games that Werth will face his former team as a member of the Nats. By game 10, people will probably have forgotten he was ever a member of the Phillies, with our current information highway, today’s story is tomorrow’s long forgotten history.

The more pressing and pertinent matter is how the Nationals will play the next few weeks without their prodigious third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He was placed on the DL today with a strained abdominal muscle, a nagging injury he dealt with in Spring Training and aggravated when sliding into second base on Saturday at Citi Field.

Since Zimmerman appeared in his first game on Sept. 1, 2005, the Nats are 347-500 (.410). The Nats are 306-446 (.407) in games that he has appeared in and 41-54 (.432) in games he didn’t appear in, either from an injury or just a day off. In 2008, Zim missed 55 games and the Nats posted a nearly identical winning percentage with him in the lineup and on the DL. In 2010, the Nats went 60-82 (.423) in games that he appeared in and 9-11 (.450) in games he didn’t appear in. This isn’t to prove that the Nats are a better team without Zimmerman—that would be nonsensical and akin to saying the Washington Mall would be better off without the Washington Monument. Zimmerman has been a member of the Nationals for about as long as the Nationals have been a part of DC. There is no question Zimmerman is a key component to the team and will be a vital piece to the building process—he is one of the top players in the League. They won nine games without him last season but the key questions is how many additional games would they have won if he played in those 20 games?

The team performance in Zimmerman’s absence just shows that a) when he goes down, someone usually steps up—Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora will get the majority of the starts at third base b) the Nationals have been able to fill the void left by Zimmerman for a short time and c) quality pitching when a player is injured is probably more important than who the replacement is for the injured player. The starting staff will need to continue pitching well in Zimmerman’s absence.

The Nats recalled Jesus Flores to replace Zimmerman on the 25-man roster. It was a surprising move in the sense that conventional wisdom predicted outfielder Roger Bernadina or utility infielder Brian Bixler to be recalled. This will allow Pudge or Wilson Ramos to be used off the bench as a pinch hitter without the Nats using their last catcher. The 26-year-old Flores was the Nats’ everyday catcher in 2009 before a foul tip struck him in the shoulder on May 9 in Arizona. He returned at the end of the season to pinch hit three times but never fully recovered until this season.

Below is a Nats lineup that you haven’t seen before tonight.


Shane Victorino – CF

Placido Polanco – 3B

Jimmy Rollins – SS

Ryan Howard – 1B

Ben Francisco – RF

Raul Ibanez – LF

Carlos Ruiz – C

Wilson Valdez – 2B

Joe Blanton – P


Ian Desmond – SS

Rick Ankiel – CF

Jayson Werth – RF

Matt Stairs – 1B

Wilson Ramos – C

Laynce Nix – LF

Danny Espinosa – 2B

Jerry Hairston Jr. – 3B

Livan Hernandez – P

Willingham and Flores agree to 2010 contracts

josh willingham.JPG–The Nationals had six players that filed for salary arbitration and today was the day when eligible players exchanged figures or agreed to a contract with the club: Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Jesus Flores (Super Two), Wil Nieves and Josh Willingham. The Nationals agreed to 2010 contracts with Bergmann, Flores, Nieves and Willingham, thus avoiding salary arbitration. That leaves Bruney and Burnett left for salary arbitration and the hearings begin February 1 and end the on 21. There is a good chance the two will never reach the arbitrators. Last year 111 players filed for salary arbitration, of those, 46 exchanged figures with their respective club and only three had their case heard by arbitrators: Dan Uggla (Marlins), Shawn Hill (Nationals) and Dioner Navarro (Rays). Uggla and Hill both won.


Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum who qualified for arbitration as a super two will likely walk away the biggest winner much like in 2008 when Ryan Howard qualified as a Super Two and won his arbitration hearing… his salary jumped from $900,000 to $10,000,000… just a 1,011 percent raise. (To qualify as a Super Two a player must have at least two years of service, but less than three, have accumulated at least 86 days of service in the previous year, and rank in the top 17% of all 2-year players in service time. The cutoff point generally falls between 2 years, 128 days of service and 2 years, 140 days.)


–The Caravan will get the wheels turning next Wednesday, Jan. 27th with the first stop at the Unity Health Care’s Southwest Health Center in Washington, DC. Notes from NatsTown will be on board providing you with behind the scene shots, player comments and fan reactions. Be sure to follow us.


–If you are a Nationals Insider you can purchase Nationals 2010 Spring Training single game tickets before they go on sale to the general public with a special online presale Wednesday, January 20, at 10:00 a.m.


–In the News:

Bill Ladson reports that the Nats may have some interest in former Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer breaks down the 2009 Nats and looks ahead to 2010 with the projected starters and rotation.

MASN’s Ben Goessling talked with Manager Jim Riggleman.

30 Players in 30 Days: Jesus Flores

Jesus Flores

042009-193_jesus_flores.JPGCatcher Jesus Flores is a crucial part of the Nationals’ plans for the future. Flores made his Major League debut in 2007 at the tender age of 22. The Nationals selected him from the Mets in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft, meaning they had to keep him on the Major League roster for the whole season or give him back to the Mets. He soon proved he had what it took to become the Nationals catcher of the future.

Jesus Flores was supposed to have a breakout 2009 season and cement himself as the Nats everyday catcher. It didn’t quite go as planned. He missed the majority of the season with a broken right clavicle when he was struck with a foul ball in Arizona on May 9. Flores hit .311 with four homers and 15 RBI in 26 games before the injury. He tried to play in September but after three pinch-hit at-bats, he was shut down on September 12. Flores also missed the final month of the 2008 season with a sprained left ankle.

Flores only appeared in 29 games for the Nationals this season and after his brief September return, Flores was diagnosed with a torn right labrum. General Manager Mike Rizzo said the injury was not directly related to the broken clavicle but it did creep in during his rehabilitation. Dr. James Andrews surgically repaired the injury on September 16 and the timetable for the recovery is three to six months. The Nationals are optimistic about Flores returning by the start of Spring Training.

“I think his future is still bright,” Rizzo said. “I think once we get this injury fixed, we get him on track. I still think we’ve got a 25-year-old starting catcher.”

Jesus Flores Final Stats





































Schedule set for 2010

2010 Schedule Released

The 2010 schedule is out. The Nationals kick off the season on Monday April 5, 2010 vs. NL East-rival Philadelphia for the second consecutive season. It will be Washington’s 77th home opener since 1901.


041309-255 opening day c.JPGHighlights include:


  • To get the action started NatsTown battles Red Sox Nation in an exhibition game on Saturday, April 3. Earlier this season, the Red Sox-Nationals series resulted in three sellouts, as over 125,000 fans witnessed Boston’s initial pilgrimage to Nationals Park.


  • The Nats are hosting a Fourth of July game for the fifth time since moving to the District in 2005–the most logical place for an Independence Day game. The New York Mets come to town for a four-game set over the Fourth of July weekend (July 1-4). They will be back for Labor Day weekend too.


  • Other clubs of note making weekend plans in DC next season that aren’t in the NL East are the Milwaukee Brewers (April 16-18), Los Angeles Dodgers (April 23-25), San Francisco Giants (July 9-11) and the St. Louis Cardinals (August 27-29).


  • The Cubs come to Washington for a three-game series, August 23-25.


  • The 14th season of interleague play starts with the annual home-and-home series with their friendly neighborhood rival, the Orioles. The 2010 version of the “Battle of the Beltways” series begins at Nationals Park the weekend of May 21-23 and concludes at Oriole Park, June 25-27.


  • The NL East plays the AL Central for Interleague play. The Nats make interleague treks to Cleveland (June 11-13) and Detroit (June 15-17). They host a three-game visit from the Chicago White Sox, June 18- 20, which headlines the interleague slate at Nationals Park. The Kansas City Royals will also visit the Nation’s Capital for the first time, June 21-23. The interleague tilts against the White Sox and Royals allow the Nationals to officially complete the Major League Baseball circuit of having played each of the other 29 clubs at least once. They don’t play the Twins in 2010.


  • Washington fans will enjoy 12 homestands in all, three of which last a season-long 10 games. The Nationals and their fans will notice a concentration of home dates both early and late in the season. Washington opens the 2010 campaign with 13 of its first 18 games played at home. Then, starting with an August 23 contest against the Cubs at Nationals Park, 23 of Washington’s next 38 contests will be played in the District.


  • The NL will aim to end a winless streak dating back to 1996 as the Angels host the 81st All-Star Game on July 13.
  • There are a few interleague matchups that are World Series rematches:  the Mets at Baltimore (1969 World Series), Atlanta at Minnesota (1991 World Series), the Yankees at Arizona (2001 World Series), Cincinnati at Oakland (1972 and 1990 World Series, Boston at Colorado (2007 World Series) and Philadelphia at Toronto (1993 World Series).The Yankees travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers from June 25-27. They met in 10 World Series.

You can see the complete 2010 Nationals schedule here.  

Instructional League Lineup Announced

The Nationals announced their 50 man roster for the Florida Instructional League which includes both first round draft picks, Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen. The players selected will report to the Nationals Florida complex in Viera on Friday and begin practice on Saturday. They will play 15 games against other Florida area clubs including Detroit, Atlanta and Houston. Players are sent down to the Instructional League each year at the end of the Minor League season to get further development and refinement in preparation for the following season.


Here is the complete Instructional League roster.strasburg 5 c.JPG

C Dan Killian
C Sany Leon
C Ricardo Martinez
C Adrian Nieto
C Bill Pena

INF Justin Bloxom
2B Jeff Kobernus
2B Stephen Lombardozzi
1B Tyler Moore
1B Brett Newsome
SS Roberto Perez
3B Adrian Sanchez
3B Steven Souza
INF Michael Taylor
INF Jean Valdez

OF Michael Burgess
OF J.R. Higley
OF Destin Hood
OF Jesus Morales
OF Eury Perez
OF Derrick Phillips
OF J.P. Ramirez
OF Wander Ramos
OF Aridio Rodriguez
OF Brandon Whiting

LHP Gregori Baez
RHP Cleto Brazoban
RHP Dustin Crane
RHP Paul Demny
RHP Pedro Encarnacion
RHP Robinson Fabian
RHP Marcos Frias
RHP Luis Garcia
RHP Danubio Gonzalez
LHP Bobby Hansen
LHP Graham Hicks
RHP Juan Jamie
LHP Chad Jenkins
RHP Taylor Jordan
RHP Nathan Karns
RHP Brandon King
LHP Pat McCoy
RHP A.J. Morris
LHP Dan Rosenbaum
LHP Josh Smoker
RHP Drew Storen
RHP Stephen Strasburg
RHP Matt Swynenberg
RHP Wanel Vasquez
RHP Dean Weaver


Catcher Flores to Undergo Surgery for Torn Labrum

042009-240 jesus flores.JPGAfter missing most of the season with a nagging injury, catcher Jesus Flores was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder which will require surgery. Flores was originally injured after being struck by a foul ball on May 9th. However Flores was never able to fully recover and his injury worsened from a contusion to a stress fracture to tendonitis to the final diagnosis of a torn labrum. The procedure will be performed today by Dr. James Andrews who expects a 3-6 month recovery period for Flores. However, the Nationals aren’t worried about his availability for next season.


“He should be ready for the middle of Spring Training, worst-case scenario,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said.


Jesus Flores Reinstated and Linups 9/4


Coghlan – LF

Johnson – 1B

Ramirez – SS

Cantu – 3B

Baker – C

Uggla – 2B

Ross – RF

Maybin – CF

West – P (LHP, 6-5, 4.22)



Maxwell – CF

Guzman – SS

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – 1B

Willingham – LF

Dukes – RF

Bard – C

Gonzalez – 2B

Mock – P (RHP, 3-6, 5.01)




“This is a special win,” said Nationals manager Bob Henley. “There’s a lot of guys on this team who were here last year when the Phillies celebrated at our stadium, so it’s very sweet for them, and definitely sweet for me.”


  • The Nats added left-handed pitcher Victor Garate to their Major League roster. Garate was acquired off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, after posting a 2.04 ERA (12 ER/53.0 IP) and .191 (36-for-188) batting average against in 47 appearances this season with Chattanooga of the Double-A Southern League. His earned run average ranks seventh among Southern League pitchers (minimum 50.0 IP). Garate’s 56 strikeouts rank tied for ninth among full-time relievers in the circuit and his 9.51 strikeouts per 9.0 innings rank seventh (minimum 50.0 IP). He has stranded 17 of 21 inherited runners in ’09. Garate’s first appearance with the Nationals will mark his big-league debut. He will wear No. 56.


  • Jesus Flores is back. Flores missed the last 105 games after going on the Disabled List (right shoulder) on May 15, retroactive to May 10. He injured the shoulder when he was struck by a foul tip on May 9 at Arizona. The 24-year-old has batted .311 (28-for-90) with three doubles, two triples, four home runs and 15 RBI in 26 games this season with Washington. Flores established himself on the Big League scene during his sophomore season in ’08, setting career highs with 77 hits, 18 doubles, eight home runs, 59 RBI and 90 games played. He ranked second in the NL with a .370 (34-for-92) batting average with runners in scoring position, and was the youngest catcher in the majors to start at least 55 contests behind the plate in ’08. In 195 career games at the big-league level, Flores has batted .261 (149-for-571) with 30 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs and 99 RBI.