Results tagged ‘ Kevin Frandsen ’
The following is an excerpt from the August/September issue of Nationals Magazine. To read the full story, visit nationals.com/publications to find out how you can subscribe. The August/September 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 Amanda Comak
Friends and family often tell Kevin Frandsen that it feels like yesterday that their world was shattered. That it seems as though hardly any time has passed since his older brother, DJ, retired from his 19-year battle with kidney cancer.
But this September it will be 10 years. And the Washington Nationals utility man has felt every second of DJ’s absence.
“If you told me it’s closer to 20 years, that’s what it’s felt like,” Frandsen said in late June. “Because when you lose your best friend (you feel it). Every day I talk to him, every single day.”
Frandsen paused and glanced at his surroundings. He sat on the edge of the dugout at Wrigley Field, a baseball cathedral, playing for a team that he calls “the winner you dream about being on,” and talked about how much he wishes DJ were here to see him now.
“Ten years,” Frandsen said. “It’s nuts.”
Frandsen’s memories of DJ are so vivid, so present in his mind. He smiles when he talks about the day he got drafted by the San Francisco Giants, and about how DJ cheered him up when the wait to hear his name languished past the 11th round. Frandsen had retreated to the batting cage their dad, Dave, had built in their backyard. Over the years, it’d become Kevin’s sanctuary. When he couldn’t be with the rest of his family at the hospital with DJ, he’d hit.
“DJ had just gotten back from another round of chemo and I was getting frustrated because I hadn’t been drafted yet and it was the eighth or ninth round,” Frandsen recalled. “I went into the cage to get away and at the end of the 11th round he was like, ‘You need to come back in. It’s time. You’re going to get drafted.'”
With the 29th pick in the 12th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, the Giants called Frandsen’s name.
“They give the number, and then they said ‘Frandsen, Kevin,'” Frandsen said. “And DJ, he could barely run. Walking was tough. But he was running outside with his shirt off.”
That year, as Frandsen began his professional career, DJ and Dave surprised him and showed up at his first game. The last time DJ ever saw Kevin play, he went 4-for-4 with two doubles. Later that season, Frandsen was playing a ground ball at second when the runner on first collided with him and broke his collar bone.
The injury was crushing. But it was also a blessing. In the final seven weeks of DJ’s life, the injury allowed Kevin to spend each day with his big brother — who is three years, five days older, Kevin is quick to point out.
DJ passed away on Sept. 16, 2004. He was 25. He’d fought cancer off and on since he was six.
In the years since DJ’s passing, Frandsen and his family have ensured that he would be a part of their everyday life, and that families going through what theirs did might have a slightly easier road. They set up “19 for Life” in DJ’s honor, and the foundation has become exactly the type of shining light they’d hoped it would.
To continue reading “His Brother’s Keeper” on Nationals utility man Kevin Frandsen, 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.
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:
Game #42: Washington Nationals (22-19) vs. New York Mets (19-22) | 4:05 p.m. | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Ups: LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.97 ERA) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (2-5, 5.84 ERA)
Washington Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez has a lower career ERA in the month of May (2.72 ERA in 24 games/22 starts) than any other month.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN
Live Stats: nationals.com
Thanks to the efforts of Adam LaRoche (31 starts), Tyler Moore (eight starts) and Kevin Frandsen (two starts), Nationals first basemen have registered the third-highest OPS (on-base plus slugging) in Major League Baseball this season at .911. The Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers are tied for the MLB lead at .920.
For comparison’s sake, last year the Nationals’ first basemen recorded a .742 OPS, which ranked No. 17 in MLB.
“What we were (Monday night) is how we’ve been all year. We’re resilient. We keep fighting.” — Kevin Frandsen
“We just don’t stop. There’s no reason to stop, just keeping going. Just because you’re down doesn’t mean the game is over. Just keep going.” — Danny Espinosa
by Amanda Comak
PHILADELPHIA — There may be a moment on Sunday afternoon when the bullpen phone rings and Craig Stammen’s name is called. He’ll rise from his seat in right center field at Citizens Bank Park and begin warming. His focus will be on only one thing: getting the Philadelphia Phillies’ batters out.
Stammen, 30, has completed his coursework at the University of Dayton and his class will walk in their graduation on Sunday. While Stammen won’t be there in person to don a cap and gown, he will join an elite fraternity of Major League Baseball players who possess a college degree from a four-year university.
“I am relieved that it’s over and that I don’t have to do anymore tests or homework,” Stammen said Saturday, cracking an earnest smile.
“And when somebody asks me if I’ve finished college I can say, ‘Yes.’ I won’t have to explain to them why I haven’t finished, what more I have to do and all that. I can say, ‘Yes.'”
A 2005 selection of the Nationals’ in the First-Year Player Draft, Stammen left college after his junior year at Dayton, with 15 credits remaining, to pursue his baseball career. But finishing his degree in Entrepreneurship was something the right-hander always hoped to do. He began working toward that goal this past offseason, taking classes in person, and finished his coursework online once Spring Training began in February.
“It was a lot of work,” Stammen said. “A lot more work during the season than I thought it was going to be. I just didn’t realize how much I don’t like doing anything during the season other than baseball, so it was kind of hard to stay connected to the class and stay motivated, but I got through it.”
On a normal week, Stammen said, he’d save most of his schoolwork for one designated day. He put a bit less emphasis on tests, feeling that if he grasped the subject matter he would be able to score fine, but had multiple research papers due at the end of the semester that each took about four or five hours of his time.
The fact that he won’t be able to walk with his class didn’t bother Stammen too much. His family will be busy on Sunday, anyway, as his younger brother graduates from Ohio State.
“I technically graduate a few hours before him — and he’s seven years younger than me,” Stammen said with a laugh. “So they’ve got their own graduation celebration to go to… I was never big into all the hoopla of putting a cap and gown on, anyway, so I’m all right being at our game.”
Not being there for the graduation itself won’t dampen the accomplishment, though.
Among his colleagues, Stammen is joining a small fraternity. The Nationals now have at least three players with college degrees on the active 25-man roster, including Kevin Frandsen and Aaron Barrett. Ross Ohlendorf, who is on the 60-day Disabled List, also got his.
But a Fox Sports survey from 2012 found that only 39 Major League players, 4.3 percent, had graduated from four-year universities.
While a large number of players are drafted out of high school, several Nationals players are close to their degrees, but just not there yet. Right-hander Doug Fister said he is three classes away, and right-hander Drew Storen spent his first offseason as a big leaguer back at Stanford University working toward completing his. Stephen Strasburg queried Stammen on the process and the logistics this season.
Barrett took 15 hours of classes in the 2011 offseason and took his final three classes during the 2012 season when he was at Single-A Hagerstown. He finished that fall while he was playing in the Arizona Fall League.
But given the rigors of the baseball schedule, and how important the down time in the offseason is, it’s certainly not an easy thing to accomplish.
Stammen will be happy to add his name to the list.
“(My parents) have told me (that they’re proud of me) the whole time,” Stammen said. “They’ve been super supportive and I think they’ll both be pretty proud.”
by Amanda Comak
HOUSTON — Bryce Harper underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. The Washington Nationals outfielder is expected to begin his rehab immediately.
Harper, who injured his thumb sliding into the third base bag on Friday night, visited the Cleveland Clinic on Monday for a second opinion. It was determined there that surgery was the best option for the 21-year-old slugger.
“We got a little message from Bryce about getting back to (batting practice) post-surgery, so it went fine,” manager Matt Williams said before the Nationals played the Astros on Tuesday night.
“We’ll have to see how long that takes. We expect him to heal fast. He’s young and, given his history, he’s healed pretty fast. We’re optimistic about it but unsure at this point how long exactly it will take.”
The injury adds to the talented list of walking wounded currently on the Nationals’ roster as Harper joins Ryan Zimmerman (finger), Wilson Ramos (hand), Doug Fister (lat) and Scott Hairston (oblique) on the Disabled List – though all are progressing well in their individual returns to the active roster.
Harper was batting .289 with a .352 on-base percentage and .422 slugging percentage at the time of his injury, but it appeared he was just starting to find his groove. In his last 62 at-bats, Harper is hitting .339 with a .406 on-base percentage and .516 slugging percentage.
“It hurts a lot,” Williams said of losing Harper for a significant amount of time. “He’s a fantastic player and we’ll certainly miss him but we’ve got to step up and play well. At this point he’s going to be out for an extended period and we’ll just have to play and win our games.”
With Harper out, the work the Nationals did to overhaul their bench in the offseason will be brought to the forefront.
Nate McLouth, Kevin Frandsen, Tyler Moore and — when he returns from the DL — Hairston, will likely share the responsibilities of filling that spot in left field.
McLouth, who posted a .258 average, .351 on-base percentage and .459 slugging percentage in 2013 with the Baltimore Orioles, hit his first home run of the season on Sunday.
by Amanda Comak
JUPITER, Fla. — The daily rhythm in Spring Training is relentless. Each day blends into the next as teams inch closer to playing games that count and partaking in moments that really matter. And, as is often the case in baseball, what sometimes moves the meter outside the walls of the clubhouse often gets less attention inside of it. Injuries hurt, but become accepted and moved past. Players come and go as trades and signings happen. It’s an existence that is always in motion.
But one thing that never gets old is the moment a player finds out he has made the Major Leagues for the first time. It’s wonderful in its purity.
Washington Nationals right-hander Aaron Barrett got to experience that very moment on Tuesday, when manager Matt Williams summoned him into his office and told him the one thing Barrett had waited the better part of a lifetime to hear: he is a big leaguer.
“It was one of those moments I’d dreamed about all my life, initially getting the call,” Barrett said, standing outside the visitors’ clubhouse at Roger Dean Stadium. “For me, I pictured myself being at Double-A, Triple-A, and getting the call-up for that experience. To get the call to make the team out of camp, it was unbelievable. Just a great feeling.”
Barrett was in the weight room after Tuesday’s game when he was told the manager wanted to see him. He’d been expecting the meeting to come at some point, knowing they’d need to summon him if they were planning to cut him, too. Only Williams and pitching coach Steve McCatty were in the office.
“Hey, we have some tough decisions that we have to make, and you’re one of those tough decisions,” Williams told Barrett.
“He looked at me, and it was a five- to 10-second pause there that, I think (to me) it lasted 10 minutes,” Barrett said. “And then he dropped the news. He said ‘Congratulations, you made the team.’ I just got very emotional, started tearing up a bit. Tears of joy. McCatty gave me a hug.”
As Barrett made his way back into the clubhouse and word began to spread, teammates made their way over to offer congratulations to the right-hander. But his next stop was the Nationals’ dugout at Space Coast Stadium, where he called up his wife, Kendyl, on FaceTime and shared his good news.
“(At that point) I was just overwhelmed with tears,” Barrett said. “To get to this point, it was just so surreal.”
“(My wife) was so shocked,” he added. “We’ve been through a lot as far as the whole Minor Leagues. She’s working and supported me throughout the whole Minor Leagues. To finally get that call that I made the team, she was just overwhelmed. She started crying. I started crying. It was just an awesome moment that I’ll never forget.
“After that, my parents and grandparents (who are in town coincidentally), I called them right after. They were just stoked. We went out to dinner last night, had a good time, celebrated a little bit. But overall, this is the start to a new journey. I plan on taking this step to the next level and continuing to work each and every day to get better so I can stay up here as long as I can.”
Barrett earned his way onto the team, without doubt, putting together quite a resume this spring. On Wednesday, knowing he’d be heading north with the team, Barrett extended his scoreless streak this spring to 10.2 innings. For the humble 26-year-old, it was the culmination to a long, winding journey and a tremendous story of perseverance.
“You come into camp, and for me, I was looking to get a few innings here and there. It was my first camp, just got added to the roster,” Barrett said. “I put myself in position to make the team, and now to be on the team, competing, now let’s go win some ballgames. Just an unreal experience. I’m ready to help the ball club, in whatever role that is.”
Next up: Opening Day
“I’m sure it’s going to be pretty exciting. I’ve never been part of that, obviously, so I’m sure I’m going to soak in as much as I can. Especially Opening Day and the home opener in D.C. I’m going to soak in every single moment that I can.”
Quote of the Day: Matt Williams on Bryce Harper after Harper was ejected from Wednesday’s game by first base umpire Jeff Gosney for expressing disagreement with an out call at first base.
“He said the magic word. I don’t know what he said, but the umpire told me he said something to him. The question I had with it was, did he say something? I didn’t see him make a gesture toward him or anything. But he said the magic word. So I had to go out there and have a discussion about it… Evidently the umpire thought he was addressing it to him, so that’s why he took the action he did. I think everybody’s a little chippy at this point. Everybody’s ready to go. And Bryce is fiery. If he said something he shouldn’t have said, the umpire felt it was appropriate to do that.”
Incidentally, Williams understands how hard it can be to control your emotions when you’re on the field. The Nationals’ manager was once ejected from a rehab game when he was a player.
“I’m playing third base. I’ve got four at-bats that day, and it’s kind of my last few days to get back to playing in the big leagues. A play at third, I tagged him, I thought he was out. Umpire said safe. I said, ‘No, he’s out.’ We went back and forth and he tossed me. And I went, ‘Wait a minute, I’ve got three more at-bats!’ It was too late at that point. No do-overs.”
“(But) it’s important for (Harper) to stay in games for us. Especially that early. As it turned out, he would have gotten a couple more at-bats and it could’ve made the difference. … I just think there’s a way to do it. You can express displeasure with a call and not push it over that edge. But again, we love the way he plays the game, because he’s all-out. He desperately wants to win, so we love that about him. But in a situation like that, he just has to not take it too far. That’s all. It happens.”
Danny Espinosa flashes the leather with a tremendous play:
Caleb Ramsey gets the Nationals on the board with a two-run single:
Stephen Perez smacks a triple in the ninth inning off Trevor Rosenthal:
The Nationals signed infielder/outfielder Kevin Frandsen to a Major League deal on Wednesday, giving Williams another versatile player to have on the bench. Frandsen, 31, will join the Nationals for their Grapefruit League finale on Thursday against the New York Mets. He elected to become a free agent on Tuesday after the Philadelphia Phillies outrighted him on Sunday. Read all the details on Frandsen’s signing here… The Nationals now have 29 players in camp, including right-hander Erik Davis, who is on the 60-day disabled list. The team will have to cut three more players before Opening Day on Monday.
by Amanda Comak
VIERA, Fla. — The Washington Nationals bolstered their bench with a late addition on Wednesday, signing infielder/outfielder Kevin Frandsen to a Major League contract. Frandsen, who opted to become a free agent on Tuesday after the Philadelphia Phillies outrighted him on Sunday, will join the Nationals in time for Thursday’s Grapefruit League finale against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Frandsen is a career .259 hitter with 49 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs and 93 RBI in 402 big league contests spanning seven seasons with the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants. Against left-handed pitching, Frandsen is a career .289 hitter with a .343 on-base percentage and .435 slugging percentage, and he is also a versatile defensive addition.
The 31-year-old has appeared defensively at six positions during his career (first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field, right field). Manager Matt Williams has said this spring that when it comes to his bench he prefers to have options. Frandsen’s ability to play multiple positions provides that.
Last season, Frandsen paced all of the Major Leagues with 14 pinch hits despite starting 52 games (35 at third base, 13 at second base, four at third base) and being hit by 11 pitches in what was ultimately his final season with Philadelphia.
Over the previous two years with the Phillies, Frandsen hit .280 with a .333 on-base percentage and a .389 slugging percentage and seven home runs. In 88 plate appearances against left-handed pitching in 2013, Frandsen hit .311 and he is a career .265 hitter with 17 RBI as a pinch hitter.
A graduate of San Jose State University, Frandsen was a 12th-round selection by the Giants in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.
The Nationals currently have 29 players in Major League camp, including right-handed pitcher Erik Davis, who is currently on the 60-Day Disabled List.