Results tagged ‘ Seattle Mariners ’

Nationals select 1B Greg Dobbs, option C Sandy Leon to Triple-A Syracuse

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals selected the contract of first baseman Gregg Dobbs on Friday afternoon and optioned catcher Sandy Leon to Triple-A Syracuse. Additionally, the Nationals recalled outfielder Eury Perez from Triple-A Syracuse and placed him on the 60-day Disabled List with a left toe fracture.

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia PhilliesThe left-handed hitting Dobbs is a career .262 hitter with 105 doubles, 46 home runs and 272 RBI in 938 games spanning 11 seasons with the Marlins, Phillies and Mariners. His addition brings another layer of depth to the Nationals’ bench.

While best known for his proficiency off the bench, Dobbs, a right-handed thrower, also has experience at third base and in the outfield. But it’s his services in a pinch that truly stand out. The 35-year-old is a career .247 pinch hitter and his 96 pinch hits are tied for 12th all-time.

Dobbs leads all active players in: pinch hits (Reed Johnson ranks second with 67), pinch RBI (75, Seth Smith ranks second with 41) and pinch walks (33, Jason Giambi ranks second with 31).

His 10 career pinch-hit home runs rank third among active players behind only teammate Scott Hairston (12) and Giambi (11).

Dobbs, who signed with the Nationals as a Minor League free agent on May 12, played in 15 games for the Marlins earlier this season, going 1-for-13.

Leon, 25, hit .182 with a homer (April 14 at Miami; first in his MLB career) and three RBI in 13 games for Washington. When starting behind the plate, the Nationals went 7-5 (.583).

Perez was hitting .228 in 24 games with Syracuse.

The Road Warriors Return

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As we hit the home stretch of the regular season, there will be much use of the “C” word, as people refer to the various opportunities the Nationals could clinch: a potential playoff spot, possibly a division title, even home-field advantage. But on Wednesday, August 15, the Nationals already clinched something significant. By winning their 41st road game, they broke the previous franchise mark for victories away from Washington D.C. (40 in 2005), thereby guaranteeing themselves a winning road record in the 2012 season.

The return of Ian Desmond gives the Nats the healthiest lineup they’ve had all season.

To really appreciate how good the Nationals have been on the road this season, consider the following: at 41-23, their .640 road winning percentage is not simply the best in the league, it’s better than any other team’s home winning percentage. In other words, at this juncture in the season, Washington statistically stands a better chance to win on the road than any team that hosts them.

For some perspective, imagine this: the last team to accomplish this feat for a full season was the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who went an otherworldly 59-22 (.728) away from Safeco Field on their way to a 116-win season. Not even the 1998 Yankees, who went an astounding 52-29 (.642) away from New York in a 114-win campaign, finished the season with a better road record than the rest of baseball’s home marks. All three National League division winners (Braves: 56-25, Astros: 55-26, Padres: 54-27) were better at home that year.

All of this is even more encouraging knowing that they will see Ian Desmond – who has been sidelined with an oblique injury since shortly after the All-Star break – activated for Friday night’s series opener against the Mets. After he took his first full workout on Tuesday in San Francisco, Desmond decided to have a little fun with his manager, giving him a scare about the timetable for his return.

“I’m hurting,” he told Davey Johnson following his first session of hitting again at full strength. “My ears are hurting from the loud sounds coming off my bat.”

Steve Lombardozzi has stepped up in a big way, and earned himself a spot on the roster despite Desmond’s return.

And while Washington will not get catcher Wilson Ramos back until next season, with Desmond’s return they will field the healthiest version of their projected everyday lineup so far this season. Nationals fans have yet to see Desmond, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse all on the same field at the same time. It is conceivable that in spite of the club’s unprecedented success thus far in 2012, that the Nationals best baseball is yet to come.

If so, there is no better time for it than this week in Washington, where they will face the division rival Mets and Braves. While the Mets have dropped off the pace in the NL East race, they remain a dangerous club with tough pitching, including former Cy Young Award-winner Johan Santana, who throws in the series opener on Friday. And we hardly need to tell you the importance of the Braves series, which will see two of the top three teams in the National League dueling it out for NL East supremacy and postseason positioning. As others have noted, it may be the most important series played in our Nation’s Capital in several generations. So it is comforting to know that the Nationals are not only playing some of their best baseball yet, but there are reinforcements on the way as well.