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Prospect Brian Goodwin focusing on bunting in Arizona

Outfielder Brian Goodwin is leading off for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League and has gotten off to a fast start with a league-best nine extra-base hits. His outstanding play earned the 21-year-old an invitation to play in the AFL Rising Stars Game on Saturday night, alongside teammates Aaron Barrett and Anthony Rendon. Pitching coach Mark Grater has watched Goodwin since May

Brian Goodwin named Arizona Fall League Player of the Week

Nationals outfield prospect Brian Goodwin scorched the ball the last few games for the Salt River Rafters and was honored as the Arizona Fall League Player of the Week. Rafters and Nationals minor league rehab pitching coach Mark Grater said Goodwin was sent to Arizona in part to get better at bunting, and the multi-talented player now leads the league in slugging percentage (.667) with

Goodwin, Rendon and Barrett selected for AFL Rising Stars Game

According to a club source, third baseman Anthony Rendon, outfielder Brian Goodwin and pitcher Aaron Barrett have been selected to play in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game. The all-star game will be held Friday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Eastern time at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The game will be broadcast live on MLB Network. Rendon, who is hitting .250 with

Rendon making strides in AFL to look the part defensively

Nationals prospect Anthony Rendon continues to work on his defense at third base as the Arizona Fall League’s Salt River Rafters work through their schedule. At the plate, it is all about timing. “I am just trying to get my rhythm back while I am hitting,” Rendon said. “I am trying to get more efficient and getting started earlier to be ready to hit.” Defensively,

Rendon’s ankle at “full strength”

Nationals infield prospect Anthony Rendon checked in from the Arizona Fall League, where he is playing for the Salt River Rafters. He is batting .231 in 11 games so far for the Rafters, with four doubles and five RBIs. He has seven walks and eight strikeouts. Rendon has played third base exclusively for the Rafters and said that he feels 100 percent healthy following recovery

Prospect updates: Benincasa, Self, Miller, Kieboom

Several pitchers did very well at instructional league, including a couple of right-handed relievers who were noticed by Single-A Potomac pitching coach Chris Michalak over the last few weeks of fall camp in Viera, Fla. Right-handers Robert Benincasa and Derek Self, who spent the summer at short-season Single-A Auburn after their selections by the Nationals in the 2012 draft, made good progress. “Benincasa threw the

Cole Kimball “glad to be playing again”

Right-hander Cole Kimball is finally back to feeling completely healthy following shoulder surgery. He is making his second appearance in Arizona and is excited to be back on the bump. Even though he is one of the older guys in the Arizona Fall League, he said he excited to be pitching again, keeping quiet and working hard. Kimball had rotator cuff surgery in July 2011,

Southpaw Mooneyham showed stuff and potential at instructional league

One of the 2012 draft picks on the pitching side, left-hander Brett Mooneyham, showed well at instructional league the last few weeks. The Nationals’ third-round draft pick pitched in 10 games (nine starts) for short-season Single-A Auburn, going 2-2 with a 2.55 ERA, striking out 29 batters and walking 16. He allowed only three earned runs in his last three starts. That was a very

Matt Skole lighting it up for Salt River in AFL

High Single-A Potomac Nationals third baseman Matt Skole has played in six games so far for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League. He has had at least one hit in each game. Saturday was Skole’s third multi-hit game, and he went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. He is batting .500 (11-for-22) with three doubles, one homer and five RBIs.

Taylor Jordan hit 94 mph at instructional league

Right-hander Taylor Jordan completed his season with the low Single-A Hagerstown Suns and moved on to Florida for instructional league workouts that wrapped up last week. A ninth-round selection from the 2009 draft, Jordan recovered from 2011 Tommy John surgery to get back and pitch six games at short-season Single-A Auburn and then joined the Suns for nine starts. Potomac Nationals pitching coach Chris Michalak

Sammy Solis “on schedule” as throwing program begins following Tommy John surgery

Left-hander Sammy Solis, who underwent Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in March 2012, is well into his throwing program as he recovers from the injury. Solis was in Florida last month while the instructional league competition took place, according to a Nats source, who said Solis “threw the ball really well and is in good shape.” The rehab process is well under way for the

Rendon has big game as Salt River wins 12-9; Robbie Ray update

The Salt River Rafters outscored Peoria 12-9 in the Arizona Fall League on Wednesday, rallying from an early 7-1 deficit. A five-run sixth inning and a four-run ninth broke open an 8-7 game for the win. The Rafters are now 5-2. Good game for Anthony Rendon as designated hitter, going 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Rendon delivered a two-run double in the ninth.

Aaron Barrett showing “aggressive fastball” in AFL (plus Salt River update)

I have had a few requests for news about the Arizona Fall League and some of the Nationals’ prospects and how they are doing. The Rafters beat Phoenix 4-2 in 10 innings thanks to a two-run single by Matt Skole. Brian Goodwin went 2-for-5 with two runs and two doubles - one of the doubles would have scored a run had the runner not been

Amazing to consider ...

Nine games. Nine wins. That is how close the Nationals were to a World Series title. Twice they were down to one strike from dethroning the current world champions. The St. Louis Cardinals celebrated. The Nationals headed home. The Cardinals were sweating the Nationals, a team that eight years ago deployed a pretty much decimated minor league system. A team that was pretty much orphaned

With option decision looming, LaRoche’s teammates want him back in 2013

The Nationals’ season came to a quick end in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the National League Division Series. But if you look back at the past couple of seasons, there is no way this team would have had a chance to be one strike away from the National League Championship Series without the bat and glove of Adam LaRoche at first base.

Johnson on Harper’s struggles at plate: “He will be all right”

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has not been able to get on track in the National League Division Series against tough St. Louis pitching. He has gone 1-for-18 in four games with a double in Game 2. He has struck out six times. Harper is a perfectionist and focuses more and more when he struggles. Manager Davey Johnson said before Game 5 that may not be

Bullpen finally able to flex its muscle as Nationals survive Game 4

Through three games of the best-of-five National League Division Series, the Nationals’ bullpen was used early and taxed late. You got the feeling that the relief crew really didn’t get to show what it was really made of after 27 innings. But in Game 4, that all changed. Eight strikeouts in three innings effectively capped the St. Louis offense with the score tied. And it

Gonzalez ready if he gets Game 5 opportunity

The Nationals hope they get a chance to have Gio Gonzalez pitch here Friday. That would mean they won Game 4 of the best-of-five National League Division Series. And that would be just fine with the cool, calm and confident Gonzalez. He has been that way since he arrived in D.C., and he is certainly not going to change now. Always smiling, always giving credit

Detwiler ready to forget last start on must-win Thursday

Ross Detwiler chooses to forget his last outing. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits with five walks. It was a loss. Who was it against? The St. Louis Cardinals. “I try not to remember that one,” Detwiler said of his Sept. 30 start. “I am really going out there trying to throw strikes, trying to get

Jackson, starters struggling to keep runs off the board

The Nationals’ starting pitching has had trouble getting off to quick starts in this series. Following Wednesday’s 8-0 Game 3 win, the Cardinals have now scored nine runs in the second inning in three games and a total of 13 runs in the first four innings during the series. In that same span, the Nationals have tallied a total of two runs. Nationals starters have

After ceremonial first pitch, Robinson reflects on baseball’s return to D.C.

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 3 of the National League Division Series. Donning his trademark No. 20 jersey, Robinson threw a strike to Ian Desmond, much to delight of the soldout crowd at Nationals Park. “It was very delightful and quite an honor,” Robinson said. “I enjoyed doing it. I thank the Lerner family for asking me

Johnson believes Espinosa can get on track at home

Nationals manager Davey Johnson is not worried about second baseman Danny Espinosa and his slow start in the National League Division Series. Espinosa went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 1. In Game 2, he fared much better. Espinosa walked, had a groundout, hit a ball that could very easily have been extra bases if not for an amazing catch by Cardinals’ outfielder Jon Jay

Morse and Desmond ready for challenge of Cardinals back home

Nationals left fielder Michael Morse said the St. Louis Cardinals were very good, as expected, at Busch Stadium in the first two games of the National League Division Series. After the Nationals won Game 1, 3-2, the Cardinals rebounded to take Game 2, 12-4. “They are a tough team at home,” Morse said. “If you look at their numbers home and away, they are a

Matheny goes with rookie Shelby Miller to replace injured Garcia

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced Tuesday that right-hander Jaime Garcia has been removed from the postseason roster due to a right rotator cuff strain with some inflammation. The Cardinals and Nationals were in Washington on Tuesday and completed scheduled workouts at Nationals Park. The National League Division Series is even at one game apiece, with Game 3 scheduled to begin a 1:07 p.m.

Cardinals’ bold move in second inning pays off (updated)

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny took a huge gamble early in Game 2 of the series. Already down a game in the best-of-five National League Division Series and watching his game two starter Jaime Garcia struggle through the top of the second, Matheny opted to go to pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker and sit his starter down after just two innings. St. Louis scored four runs in that

Cardinals familiar with urgency to win Game 2

Winning Game 1 on the road Sunday was the best-case scenario for the playoff-infant Nationals. The 3-2 comeback victory set the tone in a short series. But these are the world champion St. Louis Cardinals, and they have been in this position before. Last season, the Cardinals lost Game 1 in both the National League Division Series and the Championship Series. A look back at

Werth’s catch at wall helps stave off Cardinals rally

Every postseason story has great plays that become the trademark for a team. A huge double play. A timely run-scoring hit. A game-saving catch. The Nationals had all three Sunday in their first postseason win, a 3-2 stunner at St. Louis in the National League Division Series opener. In the bottom of the sixth, with the Cardinals leading 2-1 and David Freese at first base,

The amazing two years of Tyler Moore

After winning Game 1 in St. Louis 3-2, the Nationals now have three of the next four games in the series at home. Of course, Game 4 and Game 5 are if necessary. Trailing 2-1 after five innings, the Nationals found a way to get to a bullpen that had allowed more than one earned run just once in the last 14 postseason games. Well,

Can Suzuki play the role of Cody Ross for Nationals in postseason?

The postseason can sometimes be the coming-out party for a player who had a pretty good regular season but then turns it up a notch in the playoffs. Sometimes it is a player who wasn’t even with the postseason team when the season began. Take the amazing run of right fielder Cody Ross, who arrived in San Francisco on August 10, 2010 and played just

By the numbers: 2012 Nationals set high marks

“It was a pretty good season, all things considered,” said outfielder Jayson Werth after the Nationals’ 5-1 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday. “We had a lot of injuries and things to overcome. The fact that we ended up here, it really came down to the last game for the best record. We showed up again today. “I like where we are sitting heading into the

Zimmerman on postseason: “This is where the good teams are”

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit his 25th homer of the season Wednesday in a 5-1 win over the Phillies, marking third time in his career he has it 25 or more homers in a season. He also hit 24 homers in 2007. He is a part of a Nationals team that has the most wins in major league baseball and has won its division.

Incredibly, Teddy finally wins, shattering longest losing streak in majors

It has happened. No, not the Nationals winning the division. No, not the first playoff game in D.C. since 1933. It is the larger-than-life fourth-inning hero, the legendary former president, represented with oversized clothing from his bygone era and a huge melon head, steel-wire rope spectacles and neon green running shoes. Teddy Roosevelt has won the race he had lost 525 times in a row.

Johnson believes Nats’ inexperience won’t hamper them in postseason

Manager Davey Johnson is not thrilled about the playoff setup in 2012 and that is why he was adamant all year long about winning the division so his team would not have its whole season riding on a one-game wild card so early in the playoffs. “I hate it,” Johnson said. “I am old school.” Of course, Johnson knows that whether it is a Game

DeRosa relished opportunity to play shortstop one more time in Nationals’ win

Mark DeRosa did not remember the last time he started at shortstop. He thought it was 2005. When told it was Sept. 2, 2006, DeRosa nodded his head and said, “OK, that sounds about right.” So for the first time as a starter at shortstop in six seasons, DeRosa went 2-for-4 with a single, double and run scored in the Nationals’ 4-2 victory over the

Johnson updates Rodriguez, Ramos, Stammen, Jackson and more

Reliever Henry Rodriguez and catcher Wilson Ramos will not play winter ball, according to manager Davey Johnson. Rodriguez is recovering well from surgery to remove a bone spur in his throwing elbow. “Henry is doing great,” Johnson said. “He was on the bench last night and I shook hands with him and he reached out with that iron fist. He is getting full extension already.”

Bryce Harper named NL Rookie of the Month for second time

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that outfielder Bryce Harper has been named National Rookie of the Month for the month of September. It was the second time Harper has won the honor this season, also taking home the distinction in May. Harper hits .330 (35-for-106) in 28 games in September, with seven homers, 26 runs, 69 total bases, a .651 slugging percentage, seven doubles, three

Harper, Clippard, Stammen and Morse react to NL East clinching Monday

“We were at the bottom of the barrel when I came over to this organization, it was in shambles,” Tyler Clippard said. “A lot of great things have happened since then. We have worked our tails off to get to this point, and it is extra special because of that. “That is what has been great about this team. Guys have went down. Injuries have

Strasburg, Rizzo and Detwiler reflect on clinching night at Nats Park

“It has been a long three years, and everybody in here has had their ups and downs. We all pushed on and kept trying to get better and, you know what, now we are NL East champs,” right-hander Stephen Strasburg said, speaking on how this team was built and on what the Nationals went through to get to this point. “I don’t think this is

Remembering 2010: Nationals have chance to turn tables on Phillies

The Phillies defeated the Nationals 8-0 on September 27, 2010, before 14,309 at Nationals Park, to clinch the NL East crown. The Nationals managed just two hits that day, as Roy Halladay tossed a complete game for his 21st win. A look back at the starting lineups that day: Phillies Victorino CF Polanco 3B Utley 2B Howard 1B Werth RF Ibanez LF Ruiz C Valdez

Lannan gets the call to clinch division for Nationals on Monday

It is with a bit more than just a little irony that the Nationals have three chances to clinch their first NL East title, at home, against the Phillies, and with none other than left-hander John Lannan getting the call. Lannan gets the start because it is his turn in the rotation in a season where he has made only five starts with the Nationals.

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