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With Zimmerman out, can Morse move to third base?

Now that Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is going to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time, what can the team do to add some punch to an offense that continues to struggle to put runs on the board? I started to think of possible solutions available right now on the current 25-man roster. One possible avenue is more playing time

Bryce Harper hot streak continues in West Virginia

Single-A Hagerstown Suns outfielder Bryce Harper continues on a tear since the team left Maryland for road trip in West Virginia. Harper has hit .438 (14-for-32) with five doubles, four homers and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games. During that span, his slugging percentage has reached .969. Harper’s season average is up to .333 (22-for-66) with six doubles, five homers and 18 RBIs. With

Desmond remains hot since returning to team

This has been a pretty good week for Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond. As has been well documented, on Tuesday, his first child Grayson was born. In two games since returning to the ball club, Desmond is 5-for-7 with two doubles, one triple, one homer, three runs, one stolen base and one RBI. Friday, in the 3-0 win over the San Francisco Giants, Desmond went 3-for-3.

Lannan focused on not changing plan versus Giants

Nationals starting left-hander John Lannan takes on the Giants’ southpaw Jonathan Sanchez (2-1, 3.21 ERA) in Game 2 today at Nationals Park. The Nationals are seeking their third win in a row. The Giants have been shutout in two of their last three games. Lannan will look to keep the pitching momentum going for the Nats following Jason Marquis’ amazing complete game five-hit shutout Friday

Cancer scare behind him, Tyler Moore wielding big bat for Harrisburg

Double-A Harrisburg Senators first baseman Tyler Moore feels very fortunate to be back and healthy on the diamond this season. The Carolina League Player of the Year put together the most memorable season of his career in 2010, slugging 31 homers and 110 RBIs as the Single-A Potomac Nationals won the Mills Cup championship. But despite all the success on the field and at the

New dad Desmond delivers game-winner against Mets

Just two days after his wife gave birth to their new baby boy, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond returned to the lineup and ignited the offense in the Nationals’ 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Thursday night. Desmond slammed a triple in the fourth and later scored. In the fifth, Desmond blasted a solo home run over the fence in left-center for his third

Detwiler rolling through April in Syracuse; the hip a distant memory

Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs left-handed starter Ross Detwiler may not want April to end. It has been a month to remember. In four starts, Detwiler has gone at least six innings each time, allowed only six total runs, struck out 20 and walked only six. Detwiler has compiled a 2-0 record with a 2.22 ERA. Even more amazing has been his two no decisions. In those

Burnett gets roughed up in ninth, suffers first loss

The Nationals had worked their way into a chance to win it in the ninth inning on Wednesday. After scoring a run on a sacrifice fly by catcher Wilson Ramos, Washington led 3-2. Heading into the top of ninth inning, the Mets had hitters five, six and seven coming up next. The Nationals manager Jim Riggleman elected to give the ball to lefthander Sean Burnett

Minor league starting lineups 4/27/11

Here is a look around the Nationals system at the starting lineups put on the field of play for Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Harrisburg lineup Steve Lombardozzi 2B Josh Johnson SS Jesus Valdez LF Tyler Moore 1B Derek Norris C Bill Rhinehart RF Tim Pahuta 3B Jonathan Tucker CF Ryan Tatusko P Potomac lineup Game 1 Cutter Dykstra 3B Jeff Kobernus 2B Destin Hood RF

Gorzelanny feeling good about start against Mets

Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny looks to earn his first win as a Washington National Wednesday night when he takes to the hill against the New York Mets, who send knuckleball right-hander R.A. Dickey (1-3, 4.10) to the mound. Gorzelanny (0-2, 4.96) is coming off a tough loss last week in St. Louis in which he went five innings and allowed two runs. He surrendered only two

Ramos makes case to be regular catcher

The Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos provided most of the offense for the Nationals Tuesday against the New York Mets and continues to make a case to be the regular backstop for this team going forward. This case doesn’t have to go to an arbitrator. The numbers don’t lie. Ramos is now batting .378 which is 128 points better than the next offensive starter (Danny Espinosa

Shane McCatty off to solid start for Suns

Single-A Hagerstown Suns right-hander Shane McCatty is coming off his best outing of the season Saturday. He tossed 4 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits with no walks and a pair of strikeouts against the Hickory Crawdads. The 6-foot-3, 205-lb., McCatty now has a 3.27 ERA in four relief appearances with seven strikeouts, two walks and four earned runs allowed. Imagine being

Bryce Harper hits another homer; Daubach compares him to Chipper Jones

Single-A Hagerstown Suns right fielder Bryce Harper had a night to remember - likely not his last - Friday night in a 17-1 thumping of the Hickory Crawdads at Municipal Stadium. Harper went 3-for-3 with a double, two walks and a two-run homer. It was his third home run of the season and first time he has hit a homer in the professional ranks in

Chiefs’ Stammen wins, Milone falls in doubleheader split

Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs righthander Craig Stammen earned his first win of the season Saturday with a 2-0 complete-game shutout of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at PNC Field in the nightcap of an afternoon doubleheader. The Chiefs lost the opener 4-2. Stammen threw 94 pitches with 66 for strikes, going seven innings and scattering four hits. He walked none and struck out seven to improve to 1-0

Oduber flying for the Suns in April

If Randolph Oduber can make it to the big leagues, he will truly be that diamond-in-the-rough that all scouts are looking for every time they sit down to watch a prospect. Hailing from the island of Aruba, Oduber was a 32nd-round selection by the Washington Nationals in the 2010 amateur draft. “It was a great draft,” Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said. “Our

Harper hits first homer at home and later crashes into outfield wall, is unhurt

Hagerstown Suns right fielder Bryce Harper crushed his first home run of the season at Municipal Stadium Thursday. It is his second home run of the year after hitting one on a road trip at Lexington last week. Harper is batting .261 (12-for-46) in 14 games with two home runs and eight RBI. He is tied for the team lead in RBI with Blake Kelso.

Prospect Souza grateful for second chance, taking full advantage

Single-A Potomac Nationals third baseman Steven Souza feels like he has a new lease on his baseball life and he is taking full advantage of it. In July 2010, Souza made a mistake. Souza was feeling tired and worn down after a long road trip, so he took a pill to get himself up for an early doubleheader. That day he was tested for performance-enhancing

Offense catching up to pitching boosts Nats’ confidence

The Nationals begin their second road trip of the season tonight in St. Louis against the Cardinals, looking for their first four-game win streak of the campaign and their first back-to-back series triumphs. It will be a difficult task at Busch Stadium, where the Nats haven’t won a game since 2007. First baseman Adam LaRoche said a major reason for their modest win streak is

Prospect Norris activated from DL

The Double-A Harrisburg Senators announced that catcher Derek Norris has been activated from the seven-day disabled list and has returned to the roster. The Senators roster now stands at 24 active and one on the disabled list. Catcher Brian Peacock has been returned to the Single-A Potomac Nationals. Jeremy Mayo heads back to the Gulf Coast League. A Nationals source reports Norris is “ready to

McCatty: Balester “has grown up”

The Nationals recalled 24-year-old right-hander Collin Balester from Triple-A Syracuse to replace Todd Coffey. Coffey has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain. Balester has thrown five scoreless innings of relief for Syracuse this season. In his most recent outing last Monday at Lehigh Valley (Phillies), Balester allowed one hit over two innings with three strikeouts. Last year he was

Injury updates on Hague and Norris

A quick update on Potomac Nationals shortstop Rick Hague, who was injured last week sliding into second base. Hague suffered a slight labrum tear in his right shoulder and had been placed on the seven-day disabled list. A team official expects it to be a 10-day recovery period for Hague. After recovery, he would most likely head to Florida to get some at-bats at the

Hairston example of bench importance to Nats’ run

Nationals third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. had just one hit in 23 at-bats to start the season before breaking out with a 3-for-3 performance in Game Two of Washington’s 5-1 doubleheader sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers. Hairston got the offense going for the Nationals with a solo home run against Brewers right hander and former Nationals pitcher Marco Estrada. His round-tripper, only the 60th of

Potomac will move next series with Keys to Frederick

The Potomac Nationals will have to move their next home series to Frederick because of inadequate and unsafe field conditions at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Va. Minor league baseball officials inspected the field Friday and deemed it unplayable. In the offseason, a new drainage system was installed in the outfield, and grass has not completely grown around the area where the drainage system was placed.

Harper’s debut cause for celebration in Hagerstown

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Bryce Harper, last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick by the Washington Nationals, made his home debut for the Single-A Hagerstown Suns on Friday night, going 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout in an 8-4 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws, the Phillies’ South Atlantic League affiliate. The game, the home crowd’s first chance to get a peek at the slugging catcher-turned-right

Bryce Harper goes hitless in home debut

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Hagerstown Suns right fielder Bryce Harper went 0-for-3 with a walk in his home debut, a Lakewood BlueClaws 8-4 victory before a sold-out 6,017 at Municipal Stadium. The 2010 No. 1 draft pick, Harper said he was concerned more about the loss than not getting a hit in four at-bats. “Not really frustrated about anything, actually,” Harper said. “I am more frustrated

Harper walks in the seventh inning

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - In the bottom of the seventh inning, Bryce Harper walked with two outs and a man on second base. Facing Lakewood pitcher Tyler Knigge, Harper worked the count to 2-2, then 3-2. Harper then fouled off a pitch and forced the walk. The 2010 No. 1 overall pick is now 0-for-3 with a walk on the game. Lakewood continues to lead the

Bryce Harper grounds out in sixth

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Lakewood led the Suns 8-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Bryce Harper, who was 0-for-2 with a groundout and a strikeout, led off the inning with a sharp grounder to the Lakewood first baseman, who gloved it cleanly and threw to the pitcher for a 3-1 putout. Harper now 0-3 on the night.

Bryce Harper strikes out swinging in second at-bat

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Lakewood led 5-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth. Bryce Harper was due up second in the inning. Adrian Sanchez led off with a clean base hit, the first of the game for the Suns. Harper then worked the count to 2-2 before striking out swinging on a changeup from BlueClaws starter David Buchanan. Harper is now 0-2 in his home

Lakewood takes big lead early in Hagerstown

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The Lakewood BlueClaws lead the Suns 5-0 in the bottom of the third. The BlueClaws scored three runs on four hits off Hagerstown starter Chris McKenzie in the second. Then in the third, Torre Langley smacked a two-run double down the right field line that Bryce Harper got to, but then he air-mailed the cutoff man at first base. Harper is 0-1

Bryce Harper grounds out in first at-bat

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The Hagerstown Suns (6-2) are hosting the Lakewood Blueclaws on Friday night in their home debut from Municipal Stadium. Lakewood did not score in the top of the first. In the bottom of the first inning, designated hitter Randolph Oduber led off with a walk, but second baseman Adrian Sanchez followed by grounding into 5-4-3 double play. Bryce Harper, batting third, took

Hagerstown skipper: “No question Harper is a ball player”

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Nationals No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper makes his home debut tonight at Municipal Stadium. There were seats available two hours before first pitch and fans filed in wearing “Harperstown” t-shirts. Harper comes home hitting .250 with one homer early on in his first professional season. The Suns arrived home by sleeper bus at 8 a.m. from Lexington, Ky. The players had

Hagerstown lineup for Bryce Harper’s home debut

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The Hagerstown Suns have posted their lineup for tonight’s Bryce Harper home debut at Municipal Stadium versus the Lakewood BlueClaws. The team arrived home by sleeper bus from Lexington, Ky., at 8 a.m. The team was required to be back at the stadium by 2:30 p.m. Here is the lineup for the Suns (6-2): Randolph Oduber DH Adrian Sanchez 2B Bryce Harper

Shoulder problem sends P-Nats’ Hague to disabled list

The Potomac Nationals have placed shortstop Rick Hague on the seven-day disabled list with a right shoulder injury. Hague injured his shoulder Wednesday night making a headfirst slide into second base. An MRI on Thursday came back negative. Jose Lozada has been promoted from Single-A Hagerstown to take Hague’s place on the P-Nats’ roster.

Coffey ready to make impact in Nats’ pen

There is a new reliever in town. If you have missed him, you haven’t really been paying attention. Remember the big redhead barreling in from the bullpen in Florida? That’s him. He is right-hander Todd Coffey, who has been a groundout inducing machine with the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds since 2005. He is known for being a workhorse. Three times in that span he

LaRoche sees “challenge,” not difficulty in facing Lee

The starting pitching the Nationals face this week against the Phillies has been a focal point of the series. Jayson Werth said it after game one: “It was good to get a win off Joe Blanton, because it will not get any easier facing Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.” After all, the Nationals avoided Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt in this series. It is a

Hague injured during P-Nats game

Single-A Potomac Nationals shortstop Rick Hague suffered a right shoulder injury Wednesday night against the Winston-Salem Dash. Hague hurt his shoulder on a headfirst slide into second base. No details as to the extent of the injury, but as soon as I know, I will pass along to you. Hague is batting .357 in four games with one homer and four RBIs. The P-Nats split

Harper hits first homer for Hagerstown

Nationals No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper crushed his first home run of the season in the South Atlantic League on Wednesday night. Harper hit a two-run homer in the top of the third inning, giving the Single-A Hagerstown Suns a 4-0 lead at Lexington, Ky. Lexington eventually rallied to win 6-4 in the second game of a doubleheader. A source at the game reported,

Desmond shakes off two errors in loss to Phils

The Phillies topped the Nationals 3-2 Wednesday night behind a complete game from one of their aces, Roy Halladay. John Lannan was hanging with Halladay through three innings before getting into some trouble in the fourth. In that frame, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond committed two errors. The first miscue allowed Jimmy Rollins to reach base when Desmond bobbled the ball. Later, Rollins was awarded third

Nationals devise prescription for facing “Doc” Halladay

Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay is the opposing starter tonight as the Nationals go for the series win against Philadelphia at Nationals Park. Halladay (1-0, 0.69 ERA) has started the season off, well, like a reigning National League Cy Young Award winner should. In his first two starts, Halladay has allowed only one run on 11 hits in 13 innings while walking one and striking out

Espinosa and Cora plate key insurance run

The Phillies had just scored two big runs to cut the deficit to 6-3, and even though it was the eighth inning, the Nationals knew the defending division champions were not going to go away. In the bottom of the eighth, Danny Espinosa went to work, drawing a walk from Phillies reliever Danys Baez. After a groundout by Jerry Hairston Jr. got him to second

Norris suffers sprained ankle, placed on DL

Double-A Harrisburg Senators catcher Derek Norris suffered a sprained ankle Monday running to first base. The reports are it was his right ankle. Norris stepped on first base awkwardly trying to beat out a ground ball versus New Britain. A team spokesman says Norris’ ankle is “just sore and stiff” and he has been placed on the 7-day disabled list.

Werth excited to take on Phillies

Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth knew this day would arrive. The day he would take the field against his former teammates with the Phillies after four seasons in Philadelphia. “I am looking forward to it,” Werth said. “I really am. It is good to see those guys. The last time I saw all these guys was after the last game we played last year. I

Milone’s wicked curveball leads to sterling season debut

Syracuse Chiefs left-handed starter Tom Milone had a very impressive 2011 debut with seven innings of shutout ball in a 2-0 win over Lehigh Valley on Sunday. Milone allowed just five singles with no walks and four strikeouts. Milone says he was able to throw strikes early on, but the biggest thing is his mistake pitches weren’t over the upper half of the plate. “I

Prospect Hague shortens swing to success

Potomac Nationals shortstop Rick Hague crushed a 10th-inning, walk-off double to lift the P-Nats to a dramatic, 7-6 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats Sunday. It marked the first win of the season for the defending Mills Cup champions and involved big plays from Eury Perez, Destin Hood, Cutter Dykstra Stephen King, Brian Peacock, Jeff Kobernus and Steven Souza. The Rice University product from Spring, Texas,

Bowie at Harrisburg starting lineups for Sunday

Here arethe starting lineups for today’s Double-A Bowie-Harrisburg game: Bowie Xavier Avery CF Greg Miclat 2B Jeff Fiorentino LF Brandon Waring 3B Robbie Widlansky DH Caleb Joseph C Ronnie Welty RF Billy Rowell 1B Carlos Rojas SS Rick Zagone LHP Harrisburg Josh Johnson SS Jonathan Tucker CF Steve Lombardozzi 2B Tyler Moore 1B Devin Ivany C R Buck Coats DH Jesus Valdez LF Adam Fox

Harper still No. 1 in position-by-position rankings

Baseball America has released their position-by-position rankings for the top prospects in the game. To see the list you will need a subscription, but I wanted to share with you how it looks from a Nationals perspective. The Nats’ No. 1 prospect, Bryce Harper, is still at the top of the list, and the organization can take pride in seeing some other familiar names in

Senators’ Meyers pumped to notch opening win, get 9 Ks

The Double-A Harrisburg Senators could not have asked for a better way to start the campaign than a season-opening 5-0 shutout of rival Bowie before 4,042 at Metro Bank Park on Thursday. Right-hander Brad Meyers tossed five innings of scoreless ball, scattering four hits with no walks and nine strikeouts. He twice struck out the side for his first win of the season. “My fastball

Harper with two base hits in professional debut

2010 No. 1 pick Bryce Harper posted a solid professional debut Thursday night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a strikeout. Harper’s Hagerstown Suns held off Rome, 3-2, in Rome, Ga. in Harper’s first regular season game as a pro. Harper, playing right field and batting third in the order, had an RBI single and stole a base in the top of the first inning.

Prospect Solis doing just fine, still pitching in Viera

With the rosters at Single-A Hagerstown, Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg all announced as of this week, conspicuously not listed was the Nationals’ 2010 second-round pick, pitcher Sammy Solis. But not to worry, there is nothing wrong with Solis, and he has pitched well in spring training. The Nats’ left-handed pitching prospect says he expects to remain in Viera, Florida, for about two more weeks

VanAllen comfortable with transition to reliever

Harrisburg Senators left-hander Cory VanAllen worked hard in the offseason to get ready, and his diligence paid off with a very good spring training. Now, VanAllen is ready to make that next step with the Senators as a relief pitcher. “In the offseason, I trained back home in Houston with a lot of other big leaguers,” VanAllen said. “I worked with left-hander Jaime Garcia of

Marquis confident as he makes season debut tonight against Fish

Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis won his last start at Sun Life Stadium on Aug. 30, 2010, but he has a 7.07 career ERA in South Florida. Marquis hopes to repeat the most recent past as he takes the mound in his season debut tonight against the Florida Marlins. Marquis was very disappointed at the start he had to the 2010 season, and was determined in

Hagerstown releases 2011 roster

The Single-A Hagerstown Suns have announced their 2011 roster, with the biggest name being outfielder and No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper. The roster also includes Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty’s son, Shane McCatty, and catcher David Freitas. The outfield appears to be extremely talented with Harper joining Wade Moore, Michael Taylor and Randolph Oduber. Here is the full roster: Pitchers: LHP Paul Applebee RHP

Prospect Solano ready for second shot in Syracuse

Catcher Jhonatan Solano is ready to begin his 2011 campaign with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs after spending last season at Double-A Hagerstown. The Colombian-born Solano is making his second appearance with the Chiefs. Solano hit .252 with six homers and 42 RBI in 90 games with the Senators after playing 63 games with Syracuse in 2008. He was a great find for the Nationals in

Potomac Nationals reveal 2011 roster

The defending Single-A Carolina League champion Potomac Nationals announced their 2011 roster today. A lot of people within the organization have talked about how talented the roster looks to begin defense of the Mills Cup, with players like Rick Hague, Destin Hood, Sandy Leon, Trevor Holder and Danny Rosenbaum. Pat Lehman is a George Washington product. Also of interest is Lenny Dysktra’s son, Cutter Dykstra,

Broderick learns from rocky debut

This was not the debut that Nationals right-handed reliever Brian Broderick was looking for in his first chance on the mound. Broderick allowed four runs in just two-thirds of an inning on two hits, a walk and a balk. The Braves ended up scoring six runs in the inning to blow the game open, and eventually won, 11-2. But a debut is just that: A

Without inning, pitch restrictions, Zimmermann ready for 2011 debut

Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann makes his 2011 debut Sunday at Nationals Park as Washington wraps up its three-game set with the Atlanta Braves. Zimmermann was 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA last season. He will be opposed by Braves right-hander Tim Hudson (17-9, 2.83 ERA). Zimmermann’s first career start was a win against the Braves on April 20, 2009. After successfully rehabbing from ligament replacement surgery,

Clippard rally-killing performance helps lift Nats to win

The Nationals won their first game of the season Saturday 6-3 over the Atlanta Braves, keyed by a big rally-killing effort from the bullpen with Tyler Clippard leading the charge. The Braves threatened a big rally in the sixth inning when Dan Uggla led off the inning with a solo homer off of Chad Gaudin’s first pitch that made it 4-2 Nationals. Following a walk

Desmond won’t change approach as leadoff man

The Nationals are not concerned about Ian Desmond’s first start as a leadoff man. Desmond went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Derek Lowe and Braves relievers in Thursday’s season opener at Nationals Park. Desmond batted .290 with an on-base percentage of .364 in spring training, getting most of his leadoff starts after the team traded Nyjer Morgan to Milwaukee. Last year, Desmond batted .269 with

Lannan ready for first start against the Braves

The Nationals look for their first runs and initial win of 2011 Saturday with a 1:05 p.m. start at Nats Park against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2. The Braves send right-hander Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.33 ERA) to the hill, opposed by the Nationals’ 2010 opening day starter, left-hander John Lannan (8-8, 4.65). Lannan said he got what he needed out of spring training in

Converted starter Mandel ready to relieve in Harrisburg

Harrisburg Senators right-hander Jeff Mandel is winding down camp in Viera, Fla., and excited to get started in Double-A next week. The 6-foot-3 200-lb., Houston, Texas, native said his transition from starter to reliever has gone well. He is seeing positive results in spring training from the time he spent playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. The former Baylor Bear was in the bullpen for

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