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Instructs Wrap-Up: Notes on infield and catching prospects

Here is an update on a few of the prospects that continue to improve as the offseason rolls along. All of these players were at the instructional league camp in Viera. Nationals hitting coordinator Rick Schu says the entire camp went very well and turned out to be an excellent teaching tool for the organization as several players refined their offensive and defensive skills before

Norris and Burgess making strides in Arizona

Nationals outfielder Michael Burgess and catcher Derek Norris are working hard to play well and improve in their time with the Scottsdale Scorpions this month in at the Arizona Fall League. Norris and Burgess are each batting above .300 with a combined three homers and 19 RBI through nine games. Burgess is hitting .303 (10-33) with four runs, two doubles, a triple and seven RBI

Maxwell undergoes Tommy John, eyes February return

Nationals outfielder Justin Maxwell underwent surgery to replace a ligament in his left elbow October 13. Maxwell says the famed Tommy John surgery will keep him out for four to six months. Maxwell injured his left elbow the last Saturday of the season in New York against the Mets when he dove for a catch in center field. He made the catch, but the next

Nationals bring back Riggleman for 2011

The Nationals have announced that Jim Riggleman will return as manager for the team in 2011 for his third year as skipper of the club. In 2010, the Nationals improved by 10 victories over their 2009 campaign, from 59 to 69 wins. Riggleman was very pleased with the announcement, saying "Mike (Rizzo) and I talked some during September, and I was given every indication that"

Coaches impressed with Harper's first week in Arizona

Nationals hitting coordinator Rick Schu was in Scottsdale this week to coach and monitor Harper and the rest of the Nationals' Arizona prospects, and he recently gave me an update on the number one draft pick's progress. Harper is batting .375, 3-for-8, with a double and 2 RBI in his first two games. His slugging percentage is .500 and his OPS is .875 with no

Lombardozzi happy season continues in Arizona

Harrisburg Senators' second baseman Steve Lombardozzi is enjoying his first week in the Arizona Fall league after fine tuning his game at instructs early in the month. Lombardozzi is batting .238 with four doubles and an RBI in five games, a .429 SLG and with a .789 OPS with no errors. "It was great," Lombardozzi said. "It was good to see the other coaches like

High school prospects make good progress at instructs

The Nationals pitching staff continues to be bolstered by the addition of guys with college experience like A.J. Morris and Sammy Solis, but there are also some high school prospects that were signed this year at the top of the draft that could make an impact sooner rather than later. A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray, a pair of high school pitchers at instructs, made very

Exclusive one-on-one with Bryce Harper

I had a chance to catch up again with the Nationals number one draft selection, Bryce Harper, as he embarks on his first game for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall league Wednesday. Harper said he is pretty excited to get the invite to play in the AFL. "I am really happy to be a part of the Arizona Fall league with the caliber

Could Solis follow Strasburg path to Nats?

Left-hander Sammy Solis put forth a quality debut Saturday in the Arizona Fall League as Scottsdale beat Peoria 6-4 with five runs in the seventh inning. Derek Norris caught for Solis and went 2-for-4 with a run and a two-out RBI. Stephen Lombardozzi went 1-for-3 with a double and two runs. Adam Carr pitched two innings of scoreless ball with a walk and a strikeout

Good start for Norris in AFL debut

After a full year of injuries and plate inconsistency, Nationals catcher Derek Norris made an emphatic debut in his first two games this week in the Arizona Fall League with a two-run homer, a couple of walks and another safety for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Norris hopes the minor adjustments he made to his swing at instructs will make the difference throughout the next month of

Flores makes strides with big plays at instructs

There's positive news on catcher Jesus Flores' progress in instructional league competition this month in Viera. Nationals hitting coordinator Rick Schu says it would be huge to have Flores back 100 percent after shoulder surgery. "Boy, I sure hope so. I remember watching Flo in 2007. He was a Diamondback killer. That guy can hit. He has an uncanny way of getting the barrel on

Harper "stoked" to play in Arizona Fall League

Nationals number one draft selection Bryce Harper has confirmed that he will play in the Arizona Fall League and will report to the Scottsdale Scorpions on Sunday night. Harper will be on the team's taxi squad and play in Wednesday and Saturday games. "I am stoked. I am so excited," Harper said. "It has been a goal of mine to be able play in the

Door still open for Harper to participate in AFL

Nationals No. 1 draft selection Bryce Harper played his final instructional league game today in Orlando and then will head back to his hometown of Las Vegas. If Harper has time in Las Vegas, he will likely workout with UNLV and his former college coach Tim Chambers on their first day of camp, which opens Wednesday. But that does not mean Harper is done playing

Scorpions begin Arizona Fall League play

Scottsdale Scorpions Manager: Randy Knorr, Harrisburg Senators Pitchers: RHP Adam Carr RHP Cole Kimball RHP Brad Peacock LHP Sammy Solis Catcher: Derek Norris Infielder: Steve Lombardozzi Outfielder: Michael Burgess It will be very interesting to see how all four of the Nats pitching prospects do against top flight competition, especially left-hander Sammy Solis, who has been signed for only two months and did very well

Nats building power pitchers at instructs

Nationals prospect left-hander Sammy Solis (pronounced soh-lease) is getting ready to start the Arizona Fall league season and head back home. He says his time in Viera with the instructional league squad has been all about getting in condition to pitch against the best in Arizona. It is even more impressive to see Solis excel in Florida and get ready for the AFL, after signing

Solis ready for Arizona

Left-hander Sammy Solis has adapted well to the instructional league in Viera and is now ready to take on the challenge of the Arizona Fall League. The Nationals' second round selection, 51st overall, grew up in Arizona and went to school in San Diego, so he is thrilled to get a chance to pitch in such a prestigious offseason league that is stocked with potential

Comeback winners give hope to Strasburg, Zimmermann

Major league baseball announced Tuesday that pitchers Tim Hudson and Francisco Liriano have each won the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Hudson won the National league honor and will start Game 3 of the NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants. Liriano helped guide the Minnesota Twins to the American League Central title with a 14-10 record and a 3.62 ERA.

Norris confident adjustments at plate will help in Arizona

Potomac Nationals catcher Derek Norris has one more day at instructional league before heading to the Land of the Sun and the Arizona Fall League. The first workout is scheduled for Thursday and the first game is October 12. Norris says he is excited to be able to catch Brad Peacock, Adam Carr and Cole Kimball. Norris caught Kimball for one game and has never

Morse primed to take the next step

Right fielder Michael Morse says he will spend the offseason working out with soon-to-be Hall of Famer and Nationals teammate catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Morse is hoping his .290, 15-home run season will translate into an every day starter job for the Nationals in 2011 and feels learning from one of the best will help him make that final step. "That will be kind of interesting.

Hitting update for guys not named Bryce Harper

A quick update on how some of the Nats' prospects are hitting in Viera after the first two weeks of instructional league competition. Rick Schu, Nationals hitting coordinator, broke down a few of the guys on the roster. For our update on Bryce Harper, check this capsule from earlier this week. OF Destin Hood, Hagerstown "He is swinging the bat really well. We want him

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