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A closer look at Span’s 2012 reveals consistent offense

Newly acquired Nationals center fielder Denard Span said he did not feel like he was back at 100 percent health-wise and was building his strength back from shoulder and concussion issues in 2012. Yet he still put up consistent and crucial offensive numbers in the Twins offense. His presence in D.C. will mark the first time in their history the Nationals have had a real

Span excited and emotional about move to the Nationals (updated)

Newly acquired Nationals outfielder Denard Span is excited to be coming to D.C. after hearing the news he had been traded to the Nationals from the Minnesota Twins. “Yeah, most definitely, most definitely, man,” Span said when reached by phone after the trade was announced. “My initial reaction as I talked to (Twins) general manager Terry Ryan. At first, when he told me it was

Now a starter, Ryan Perry has some unfinished business

Right-hander Ryan Perry was pleased with his season and the progress he made, moving from reliever to starter, trying to become a pitcher instead of just a thrower. He not only was able to find success at his new job with Double-A Harrisburg, but also received an invitation to pitch in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. His season wrapped up with the starting pitching spot

Rendon and Skole selected to AFL Top Prospects Team

The Arizona Fall League announced its Top Prospects Team and a pair of Nationals prospects made the list. Both are third basemen - Anthony Rendon and Matt Skole. The team was put together by AFL managers and coaches. The Top Prospects Team recognizes players who distinguished themselves throughout the league’s six-week 2012 schedule against other top prospects from every organization in Major League Baseball. Voters

More winter league updates for Nats prospects

Checking in on Erik Davis’ season, we saw the incredible numbers he is putting up for Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Winter League. One of his fellow members of the Nationals organization, left-hander Patrick McCoy has put together a nice run for Gigantes the last week and a half. McCoy has allowed just one run in the past 10 games, a span of seven

Davis’ turnaround year earns selection to Nationals’ 40-man roster

The Nationals announced this week that right-hander Erik Davis had been added to the 40-man roster. The move might have surprised a few baseball fans who have not heard that much about Davis, but it certainly was no surprise to those who saw him play or coached him, especially Double-A Harrisburg pitching coach Paul Menhart. “I was absolutely ecstatic,” Menhart said. “This kid had an

Barrett’s season to remember

Right-hander Aaron Barrett just wrapped up a spectacular year, both personally and professionally. The Nationals prospect had an outstanding season as a reliever, moving up from low Single-A Hagerstown to high Single-A Potomac. As the season came to a close, there were more surprises in store for Barrett. He knew he was going to get married to his fiancé, Kendyl, but the Nationals also rewarded

Remembering Gail Harris

The Nationals family lost a cherished former major league player and valued mentor this week. Boyd Gail Harris Jr., a left-handed hitting first baseman with the New York Giants and the Detroit Tigers from 1955-60, and father of Hagerstown Suns hitting coach Mark Harris, passed away in Gainesville, Va., on Nov. 14. He was 81. Gail Harris played in 437 games for the Giants and

Perry gets roughed up early in finals, Salt River comeback falls short in 4-3 loss

Nationals right-hander Ryan Perry allowed four runs in three innings, and Peoria held off Salt River 4-3 to win the Arizona Fall League championship at Scottsdale Stadium. Perry surrendered eight hits and two walks to suffer the loss (0-1). He gave up a leadoff triple from Billy Hamilton and two RBI singles by Mike Zunino. Peoria built a 4-1 lead before Salt River rallied in

How close is Ryan Perry to fifth starter material?

On Saturday afternoon, the Salt River Rafters face Peoria in the championship game of the Arizona Fall League. Converted Nationals reliever Ryan Perry gets the start and could go five innings. The right-hander has a 4.98 ERA in the AFL, but is 2-0 and has allowed a .213 batting average against. With all the talk of Edwin Jackson, John Lannan or others as the fifth

Martinson pinch-hit HR highlights Salt River’s 7-3 victory in finale

Taxi squad member Jason Martinson hit a ball so hard and so far in his first game in Arizona last month that pitching coach Mark Grater said the umpires did not know how to rule it and called it foul. But it definitely was close to being fair. There was no doubt Thursday for Martinson, who crushed a two-run shot in the eighth as a

Salt River advances to AFL championship game; Ryan Perry will start

The Salt River Rafters downed Billy Hamilton and the Peoria Javelinas, 6-4 Wednesday afternoon at Salt River Fields in Arizona Fall League competition. Salt River improves to 16-13, guaranteeing a winning regular season record, and with one game left to play Thursday. Scottsdale (15-15) will be unable to catch them because the Scorpions would have played one more game, and they lost that game. First

Nats tab Gary Thurman as new minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator

The Nationals have announced Gary Thurman has been named the new minor league outfield/baserunning coordinator. Thurman comes over from the Miami Marlins, where he served as first base coach in 2012. He was also the Marlins’ outfield and baserunning coach. Thurman has been a manager, coach or instructor for 14 years in professional baseball. From 2008-2011, Thurman was in the Cleveland Indians’ organization as minor

Harper wants to steal more bases in 2013, loves RGIII and weightlifting

Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper, appearing on 106.7 the Fan’s “Holden and Danny Show” on Tuesday morning, was happy to win the coveted award for top rookie in the National League, but reiterated his top desire is to win a championship for the nation’s capital. “I am really excited about it,” the 20-year old Harper said. “The biggest thing for me is, seriously, I like

Rendon doubles twice, Perry grabs win in Salt River’s 8-4 dispatch of Mesa

Anthony Rendon and Matt Skole each had two hits and Ryan Perry allowed just one run as Salt River cruised past Mesa 8-4. Rendon smacked two doubles and Skole had two RBIs, while both players scored two runs. Skole is hitting .321 and Rendon .319. The Rafters managed at least one run in six different innings. Perry (2-0, 4.98 ERA) allowed a solo homer, but

Goodwin pleased with progress in first season in system

Nationals prospect Brian Goodwin has been pleased with his progress in the Arizona Fall League, especially in bunting and increasing his aggressiveness on the basepaths. “I think it is coming along well,” Goodwin said. “It is something that I always looked at it as a weapon, being a speed guy and a top-of-the-order guy. You have to take your time with it. You can’t get

Goodwin, Martinson, Barrett shine in Salt River’s 11-5 victory

Brian Goodwin scored two runs and Jason Martinson added two RBIs as Salt River dropped Phoenix, 11-5. Goodwin, leading off and playing center field, went 1-for-4, but had two walks, the two tuns and a double. He had a stolen base but was also picked off first base in the first inning after reaching on a fielding error. Goodwin’s batting average is .239. Martinson, playing

Goodwin and Skole have RBI doubles, but Mesa drops Salt River 7-5

Brian Goodwin and Matt Skole smacked RBI doubles, but a four-run second inning set the tone as Mesa edged Salt River 7-5 in Arizona Fall League competition Friday afternoon. Batting leadoff as the designated hitter, Goodwin went 1-for-5, with a RBI double, a run scored and two strikeouts. His average is at .239. Skole, at first base, went 1-for-3 with a run-scoring double and a

Goodwin, Skole get day off; Surprise edges Salt River 5-4

Surprise returned the favor Thursday with a 5-4 win at Salt River, despite a furious ninth-inning rally that came up short. Down 5-1 heading into their last at-bat, the Rafters scored three runs, but Chris Owings struck out to end the game. Matt Davidson’s solo shot and Jake Marisnick’s two-run homer had cut the deficit to one. The Rafters did not have that many opportunities

Skole blasts two-run shot in Salt River’s 8-3 victory

Nationals prospect Matt Skole picked up where he left off, going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBIs in Salt River’s 8-3 win over Surprise on Wednesday night in the Arizona Fall League. Skole crushed the two-run shot in the fifth inning, walked in the first and smacked a two-run single in the third. He grounded out and flew out in his final two

Rendon with two doubles as Salt River wins slugfest, 14-12

Nationals prospect Anthony Rendon went 3-for-3 with two doubles and four RBIs as Salt River outscored Scottsdale 14-12 in the Arizona Fall League on Tuesday night. Rendon also had a single, two runs, sac fly and a stolen base, raising his average to .317. He has hit .382 (13-for-34) with five doubles, a triple and seven RBIs in his last 10 games. The third baseman

Brad Meyers on return to Nationals: “I feel like I am coming back home”

Right-hander Brad Meyers would just as soon forget 2012. It started off well with a new opportunity with the New York Yankees following his selection from the Nationals in the Rule 5 draft at last year’s Winter Meetings. But a shoulder injury and just one appearance altered that momentum quickly. Eleven months later, the Santa Ana, Calif., native has been returned to the Nationals and

Offense from Nats prospects helping Salt River pursue AFL crown

Some of the Nationals’ best position player prospects are on display in the Arizona Fall League with the Salt River Rafters. Brian Goodwin, Jason Martinson, Anthony Rendon and Matt Skole have combined to provide a good measure of the offense for the Rafters as they pursue the AFL crown. The Rafters are 11-9 with about two weeks remaining in the season. Salt River had hit

Goodwin shines as East beats West 9-4 in AFL Rising Stars game

Nationals outfield prospect Brian Goodwin smacked a home run and went 2-for-5 as the East All-Stars beat the West All-Stars 9-4 in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game at Talking Stick Saturday night. Trailing 2-0 in the first frame, Goodwin, a left fielder, crushed a solo homer to start the offense, cutting the deficit in half. Down 4-3 in the fifth, the East scored

Matt Skole playing first base exclusively in Arizona

Nationals prospect Matt Skole is enjoying his opportunity to play for Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League and is anxious to get back on the field after “tweaking” his hamstring last Saturday. “I just tweaked it a little bit,” Skole said. “They gave me this week off. I am going to play (today). I think they are being overcautious. It wasn’t that big

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