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Seen and heard at the P-Nats' Hot Stove Banquet

New Potomac manager Matt LeCroy was introduced and Washington Nationals assistant general manager Bryan Minniti served as the keynote speaker at the 16th annual Potomac Nationals Hot Stove Banquet at the Hilton in Springfield, Va., on Sunday night. LeCroy was promoted in the offseason after guiding Single-A Hagerstown last year. A lot of those prospects will again be under his tutelage now at Single-A Potomac

Mock's extra rest means he's extra ready for Viera

Nationals right-hander Garrett Mock is excited to get started with the 2011 season after an injury-filled 2010 campaign that included neck surgery. Mock has been working out and throwing in his hometown of Houston and plans to report to Viera, Fla., the Nationals' spring training home, next Friday so he can find an apartment and get an early start. "I just got done with a

Lannan pleased with new deal, ready for spring training

Nationals left-handed starter John Lannan avoided arbitration last week, signing a one-year contract reportedly worth $2.75 million. This was a significant step for Lannan after last year's odyssey from an arm injury to Double-A demotion, then back to D.C. and a powerful 6-3 finish. Lannan was very pleased to avoid an arbitration hearing and get a deal completed well before spring training. "I think overall

Nats' Stammen confident as starter or reliever

Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen has spent most of his time this offseason working out in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, or here in Washington as he gets ready for spring training next month. The right-hander feels very good after a successful transition to the bullpen in the second half of 2010. "I have been in D.C. more than in the past," Stammen said. "I have

Nats need LaRoche to buck trend again, get off to hot start

Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche has been known as a very consistent hitter and a solid defensive performer who had trouble at the plate early on each season. That was the trend until last season when he had an unusually strong start with the Arizona Diamondbacks. So what did he change last year to get off on the right foot? "Absolutely nothing," LaRoche said last

Espinosa impressed with young talent in Nats system

The Nationals farm system helped general manager Mike Rizzo make a trade this week for Tom Gorzelanny. Two minor league pitchers, Graham Hicks and A.J. Morris, were sent to the Chicago Cubs along with outfield prospect Michael Burgess. The team still has prospects that have impressed. making it easier for Rizzo to make such moves because there is finally some organizational depth to work from

How much will Ivan Rodriguez play in 2011?

With all the talk this week about starting pitching, it would be a very good thing if the Nationals' depth at catcher could be bolstered by a healthy return of Jesus Flores, who missed last season with a shoulder injury. From all indications, general manager Mike Rizzo believes Flores will be back to "100 percent" for spring training. Flores has been limited to 29 games

Riggleman: Starters Nationals have can be successful

General manager Mike Rizzo used the word "disappointed" when describing the Nationals' efforts to obtain a top of the rotation starter during the winter. Although there is still a chance a starting pitcher could be brought on from the free agent market or by trade prior to spring training, manager Jim Riggleman still feels pretty good about the 2011 starting rotation with the guys that

LaRoche: Nats Park should be tough place to play for opponents

Brand-new Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was introduced Friday at Nationals Park and talked about how he wants to make his new home as difficult a place to play as any in the National League. In years past as a visiting ball player, that was not the case. LaRoche arrived as a Pirate, Brave and even a Diamondback at Nats Park and those teams

Detwiler says hip is healthy, ready for Viera

Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler has had a productive offseason as he recovers from a nagging hip injury that slowed down his 2010 season. Due to the injury, Detwiler was limited to five starts in 2010, appearing in eight games with a 1-3 record and finishing with a 4.25 ERA in 29 2/3 innings. Detwiler has been working out in his native Missouri in the offseason

Riggleman pencils in 2011 starting lineup

Now that the Nationals have Adam LaRoche in the fold and patrolling first base, the 2011 starting nine is taking shape. So without Adam Dunn in the cleanup spot, does that mean that Jayson Werth will instantly slide into that role? Manager Jim Riggleman says Werth can go there sometimes. So could Ryan Zimmerman or LaRoche, depending on pitching matchups. With left-handed hitters Nyjer Morgan,

Espinosa regaining hand strength, will be 100 percent for Viera

Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa told me on 106.7 The Fan in D.C. that his hand is healing well from hamate surgery and he will be good to go for next month's spring training. He says injured players are expected to report to Viera, Fla., on Feb.13. "I am working out," Espinosa said. "It has gone really well. I have progressed very quickly. I really

Bryce Harper is Baseball America's top prospect in Nats' system

It is always fun when you can complete a top 10 list and your No. 1 prospect in the organization is considered arguably the best amateur hitting prospect of all time. Bryce Harper was picked No. 1 overall by the Nationals in the June draft, signed in mid-August, played in the instructional league and then rode the taxi squad in Scottsdale to the Arizona Fall

Nats' top prospects - No. 2: Derek Norris

What a season it was for catcher Derek Norris. After fighting through a hand injury and getting hit in the head with a pitched ball, Norris rebounded with championships in the Carolina League and the Arizona Fall League. Baseball America ranks Derek Norris as the No.2 overall prospect in the Nationals organization. Aaron Fitt of Baseball America says Norris has the potential to be as

Riggleman: "Subtle" move will pay dividends for years to come

Manager Jim Riggleman is excited about how the 2011 Nationals shape up with a new right fielder - and now a new first baseman in Adam LaRoche. "I think the acquisitions that Mike Rizzo has made and that the Lerners were supportive of throughout this off season have been outstanding," Riggleman said. "They are going to pay dividends in (2011) and the future." Riggleman points

Arizona writer: LaRoche "so natural and so smooth" at first base

Nick Piecoro covers the Diamondbacks for the Arizona Republic and saw first-hand last season what kind of player Adam LaRoche is and how he set the bar very high at first base for his team. Piecoro witnessed a transition in Arizona at first base that the Nationals are embarking on today. He says Nats fans will see a big difference defensively between Adam Dunn and

Nats' top prospects - No. 3: Danny Espinosa

Making a big splash for the Nationals in September 2010 was shortstop/second baseman Danny Espinosa. The Long Beach State product smacked three homers and had 10 RBIs in his first five games, including a dramatic grand slam, getting the home crowd pumped for the future of an Ian Desmond/Espinosa double-play combination in the middle of the Nationals' infield. Espinosa followed up his September debut with

Nats' top prospects - No. 4: A.J. Cole

One of the other big signings coming out of the 2010 draft is Oviedo, Fla., right-handed pitcher A.J. Cole. The Nationals gave the 18-year-old (he turns 19 Wednesday) a $2 million signing bonus, reportedly the highest ever given a fourth-round selection. The 6-foot-5 Cole pitched one inning for Single-A Vermont last summer, and then spent a great deal of time honing his skills at fall

Nats' top prospects - No. 5: Wilson Ramos

Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos did quite well for himself after being acquired from the Minnesota Twins organization last season in the Matt Capps trade. Ramos batted .278 in 22 games with 79 at-bats, seven doubles, one homer and five RBI. Even with such a short amount of time in D.C. with his new team, Baseball America rates Ramos as the No. 5 prospect in the

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