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GCL Nats dominating competition early in Florida

The rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals are off to a league-best 28-6 (.824) record in the East division this summer. The Nats have won 11 of their last 12 games and are 11 games ahead of the GCL Cardinals in first place. The roster is a mixture of young talent from the U.S., Dominican Republic and elsewhere, college kids and players out of high school.

Mesa Solar Sox are Nationals’ entry in 2013 Arizona Fall League

The organization and staff assignments have been made for the 2013 Arizona Fall League. Nationals farmhands will play alongside prospects from the Cubs, Tigers, Angels and Athletics as the Mesa Solar Sox in the six-team league. Their home stadium will be Hohokam Stadium and the Solar Sox are in the East Division. Bill Richardson from the Angels is Mesa’s manager. Mike Maroth from the Tigers

In house, Brown one option for left-handed bat in Nationals search

Commentator and former Nationals general manager Jim Bowden tweeted on Sunday that the Nationals are looking for a left-handed bat off the bench, but that they wouldn’t be spending too much or trading big prospect chips to acquire one. Nationals continue search for LH Bench Bat....not expected to make a major deal— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 28, 2013 If the Nationals cannot find another left-handed

Jordan finally rewarded with first major league win

Although he didn’t get a game ball yet, right-hander Taylor Jordan pitched well enough in his sixth major league start to earn his first big league victory. Jordan was asked who he was going to give the game ball to after the Nationals crushed the Mets 14-1. He said he hadn’t procured a game ball yet. At least he didn’t think he had one, as

Rizzo: Jordan will get opportunity to compete for 2014 starting role

Right-hander Taylor Jordan deserves a win today. He has been solid in every start so far in the majors, but has an 0-3 record. This will be his sixth start of his major league career. Nationals general Mike Rizzo was asked if Jordan would be on the same 160-inning limit that Stephen Strasburg was in his recovery from Tommy John. “We have parameters in mind

Span on his first Nats homer: “Hopefully, it will happen more often than once a year”

Center fielder Denard Span finally did it: hit his first homer in a Nationals uniform, his first homer since October of last year while with the Twins. “Felt good to get the monkey off my back,” Span smiled. “It hasn’t taken this long to hit a home run in a while, probably since A ball. But it felt good. “It has been a long season

Updates on Cole, Garcia and Moore

Right-hander A.J. Cole had an outstanding Double-A debut Thursday for Harrisburg. Cole tossed seven innings in a 2-1 Senators win at Portland. Cole allowed three hits, one run, a solo homer, one walk and struck out six batters. After a one-out single in the first, Cole ran off 11 straight outs. A club source reported that Cole “threw the ball very well. He had above

McCatty details changes Nats want to see in Storen’s delivery

Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty gave some insight on what wants Triple-A Syracuse pitching coach Greg Booker and minor league pitching coordinator Spin Williams to work on with Drew Storen as the right-hander works on several mechanical issues in his attempt to get back to the nationals. Storen was optioned to Syracuse following Friday’s doubleheader against the Mets. McCatty spoke with Storen after he received

Zimmermann on the two pitches to Murphy that wound up home runs

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann thought he was pitching better than his line indicated. Zimmermann (12-6) lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with three walks, eight strikeouts and two home runs - his third straight loss. The two sliders that Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy unloaded upon were the ones remembered from this loss, at least early on, before it got real ugly

Nats face early deficit in opener against the Mets (Nationals lose 11-0)

Welcome to Nationals Park on a partly sunny Friday afternoon. The first game of the day/night doubleheader features right-hander Jordan Zimmermann against the Mets right-hander Jenrry Mejia. The first game was rescheduled from the June 6 rainout here at Nationals Park. Mejia comes off the 60-day disabled list to make his first appearance of the season. He is the 26th man on the Mets roster

Johnson on Knorr’s decision to pull Soriano in favor of Krol in ninth frame

Nationals manager Davey Johnson was able to speak to the media today for the first time since he was ejected from Thursday’s 9-7 win over the Pirates. Randy Knorr spoke postgame because Johnson was not available. Johnson was asked if he agreed with the decision by Knorr to pull closer Rafael Soriano in the ninth after he struggled to get outs, allowing two hits and

Storen not available today because of flu, Mattheus likely to pitch in both games (updated)

Right-handed reliever Drew Storen has been hit by the flu bug, and is not available for the doubleheader today against the Mets, according to Nationals manager Davey Johnson. Johnson said Storen is being “sequestered in the back” of the clubhouse. Johnson said Storen’s ailment appeared similar to the flu-like symptoms suffered by first baseman Adam LaRoche that forced him to miss two games early in

Updated Mets-Nats lineups for day game (Mattheus returns)

Here are the lineups for the first game of today’s day/night doubleheader against the New York Mets at Nationals Park: For the Nationals: Bryce Harper LF Steve Lombardozzi 2B Ryan Zimmerman 3B Adam LaRoche 1B Jayson Werth RF Ian Desmond SS Denard Span CF Kurt Suzuki C Jordan Zimmermann P For the Mets: Eric Young, Jr. LF Daniel Murphy 2B David Wright 3B Marlon Byrd

Nationals watch lead vanish, then win it with dramatic bottom of ninth on Harper walk-off

The ninth inning had a little bit of everything for the Nationals on Thursday in a thrilling 9-7 victory over the Pirates. In a game the Nationals led throughout, they watched as the Pirates went right at their closer, Rafael Soriano, and scored four runs to tie the game in the top of the ninth. Reliever Ian Krol, in a rare move, replaced the Nationals

Strasburg: “Six innings isn’t cool anymore for me “

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg put together one of his most complete outings Wednesday yet, because of the Nationals’ anemic offense, walked out with the loss, 4-2 to the Pirates. Strasburg (5-8) went eight innings and struck out a season-high 12 hitters. He allowed two hits, one run on a homer by Pedro Alvarez, and no walks. His career-high in strikeouts in a game was 13 at

Johnson believes Taylor Jordan a good fit for 2014

Right-hander Taylor Jordan continues to be consistent on the mound, and although his record doesn’t show it, he has made progress fine-tuning a pair of his best pitches. Jordan is 0-3 with a 3.68 ERA in five starts for the Nationals. He was 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 15 minor league games. Coming off Tommy John surgery, Jordan will only have a handful of

Skole’s rehab is “on track,” top prospect could play fall or winter ball

The Nationals’ 2012 minor league Player of the Year, third baseman Matt Skole, is making good progress as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery back in April. While with Double-A Harrisburg, Skole’s elbow was injured early in the season on a collision at first base while attempting to field a throw. It is unlikely, however, that Skole will return to play for Harrisburg during the

Despite tough loss to Pirates, Jordan believes he is making progress

He is getting closer. Right-hander Taylor Jordan had allowed only two earned runs through seven innings Tuesday. But again the Nationals could not score runs, and he trailed, 3-1. Manager Davey Johnson liked what he was seeing from Jordan and with a low pitch count, and wanted to give the youngster a shot in the eighth inning to earn his first major league victory. “He

Source: A.J. Cole to make Double-A debut Thursday night at Portland

Right-hander A.J. Cole, promoted from high Single-A Potomac to Double-A Harrisburg Tuesday, will make his Double-A debut Thursday at Portland against the Sea Dogs, according to a club source. Cole was 6-3 with a 4.25 ERA in 18 starts for Potomac. He has 102 strikeouts and 23 walks. In his last start July 20 against Lynchburg, Cole went six innings, allowed two hits, two runs,

Schu on becoming hitting coach: “Glad I got an opportunity”

The Nationals welcomed Rick Schu as their new hitting coach Tuesday, looking to turn around a team that has struggled with inconsistent hitting all season. The Nationals are 13th in the National League in batting average (.240) and 14th in runs scored (367). Schu spent the last four seasons as the Nationals’ minor league hitting coordinator. He has watched and coached six teams in the

Storen’s costly wild pitch allows eventual winning run in loss to Pirates

The Nationals’ rally fell short in the ninth because they needed to score three runs instead of just two. Jayson Werth’s second two-run shot of the game pulled the Nationals within one at 6-5. The reason they needed three to tie was a costly run scored by the Pirates because of a wild pitch. Looking back at the eighth inning, a wild pitch by Drew

Hairston says Rick Schu brings the right balance to the art of hitting

Outfielder Scott Hairston remembered working with new hitting coach Rick Schu when he was battling back and forth between Triple-A Tucson and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004 and 2005. Hairston remembered a hitting coach that communicated well with the players and knew his craft. “It was good with Rick,” Hairston said. “I think he is good at communication. From what I remember, he really didn’t

Veteran players’ reactions to firing of hitting coach Rick Eckstein

A trio of Nationals veterans - third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, first baseman Chad Tracy and shortstop Ian Desmond - reacted for the first time to the news that hitting coach Rick Eckstein was relieved of his duties and replaced by the Nationals roving hitting instructor Rick Schu. Zimmerman reacted to Eckstein’s release, saying it was not Eckstein’s fault for the team’s paltry hitting numbers and

Ohlendorf’s long outing prepares him well for Friday’s start

As a relief pitcher, it is never easy to come into a game with your team already down 7-1. But your job is always to attempt to keep the score where it is to give your guys a chance to come back. Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf was able to do that Sunday in the Nationals’ 9-2 loss to the Dodgers. In a game that was decided

Stammen on 10th inning: “I made some really bad mistakes”

Right-hander Craig Stammen was one of the most consistent relievers early on this season. In April and May, Stammen allowed a combined eight earned runs in 27 2/3 innings. In June, he allowed a total of seven earned runs in 15 innings. Since June 27, however, Stammen has surrendered 10 earned runs in the past 10 games. On Saturday, it was two earned runs following

LaRoche still out with flu, plus Johnson’s plan at first base

The promise of first baseman Adam LaRoche making a quick turnaround and returning to the field tonight is not going to happen. LaRoche is recovering from flu that will keep the veteran out of the starting lineup tonight for a second consecutive game. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said LaRoche might be available only to deke Dodgers manager Don Mattingly into using another pitcher in the

Bases loaded, no-out opportunity one of few scoring chances for Nationals in loss

In the Nationals 3-2 loss to the Dodgers on Friday night, the fourth inning bases loaded no-out opportunity in which the Nationals failed to score proved to be costly in the end. Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper led off with back-to-back singles against Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco. Jayson Werth earned a walk. Suddenly the bases were loaded for one of the most consistent hitters in

Top prospect Giolito doing well, but no promotion yet (plus minor league notes)

The Nationals’ top prospect, right-hander Lucas Giolito, has now made three starts for the rookie level Gulf Coast Nationals, and with each start he makes improvements. On July 15, Giolito made his longest start, going three innings, allowing three hits, no runs, one walk and striking out three batters. The 19-year old is 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three games, totaling just 5 1/3

Potomac’s Michael Taylor makes adjustment, on best hitting surge of season

Right fielder Michael Taylor has worked very hard the past year to improve his plate discipline, his approach and his swing control. This season, the high Single-A Potomac outfielder keeps building on that knowledge with experience to get into the best groove of his career. Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said Taylor “made an adjustment in his approach right around the break that

Updates on Giolito, Johansen and Ray

Here is a quick glance at three minor league starting pitchers and their progress the last couple of days: Right-hander Lucas Giolito pitched for three innings on Monday for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals, his longest outing of the season, scattering three hits but not allowing a run, with one walk and three strikeouts. Giolito has not allowed a run since his first outing of

Rendon and Jordan up, who else in minors could be headed to Nationals?

As the Nationals rest and refocus for the second half run, here’s a quick look around the minor league system reveals a few names that you could see playing time for the Nationals by the end of the season. Already we have seen what Anthony Rendon and Ian Krol can do, plus the additions of Taylor Jordan, Fernando Abad, Nathan Karns and Ross Ohlendorf have

Solis “looked sharp” in return to Potomac as P-Nats beat Salem 9-4

Left-hander Sammy Solis returned from the disabled list to throw four shutout innings in the Potomac Nationals’ 9-4 win at Salem on Monday night. Richie Mirowski (8-3) pitched two solid innings for the victory. He allowed one hit and struck out three batters. Solis allowed just an infield single, no runs, one walk and struck out two. In his eight innings against Salem this season,

A.J. Cole earns save as U.S. defeats World 4-2 at All-Stars Futures Game

Right-hander A.J. Cole pitched got the final two outs to earn the save as Team U.S.A. defeated Team World 4-2 at the All-Star Futures Game from Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y., on Sunday. With one out in the top of the ninth, Cole got a called third strike versus Ji-Man Choi. Then, Jesus Galindo grounded out to second base to end the game. Team U.S.A.

Potomac’s Solis returns from DL, to start Monday at Salem

Left-hander Sammy Solis has recovered from shoulder soreness and will start Monday night for the high Single-A Potomac Nationals at Salem, confirmed director of player development Doug Harris. Solis has been out since the middle of June. He returned July 5 and pitched two shutout innings for the rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals. He had three strikeouts, no walks and has allowed just one hit. He

Krol, Cole and Treinen working out well as return on Morse trade

The three-team trade that sent outfielder Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners and brought three players to the Nationals, including the return of right-hander A.J. Cole, has provided a very positive addition to the strength of the pitching in the Nationals’ minor leagues that has reached all the way up to the big club. Cole, left-handed reliever Ian Krol and starter Blake Treinen were sent

Who’s the Nationals’ top prospect right now?

When the Nationals promoted second baseman Anthony Rendon to the majors, it meant the next edition of their top prospect list will change a bit at the top. Rendon was the No. 1 prospect, so his promotion elevated right-hander Lucas Giolito and outfielder Brian Goodwin on the list. Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis believed that Giolito and Goodwin were definitely at the top of

Senators’ Goodwin, Barrett and Souza part of Western All-Stars’ 5-0 win

The Western Division easily defeated the Eastern Division 5-0 in the Eastern League All-Star Game at New Britain, Conn., on Wednesday night. Double-A Harrisburg’s Brian Goodwin, Steven Souza and Aaron Barrett all played in the win. Goodwin walked and scored a run in a three-run first inning for the West. They tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning. The Western Division was 4-for-5

Notes on Cole, Solis, Espinosa and more

More accolades for high Single-A Potomac Nationals right-hander A.J. Cole, who has been selected to compete for the United States in the 2013 All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y. on Sunday, July 14. Cole has gone 5-3 with a 4.47 ERA in 17 starts this season. He already has 99 strikeouts to only 22 walks. He started Wednesday night. Cole went three

Top prospect Giolito fares well in second GCL start, Solis update

In his second professional start this season, top prospect right-hander Lucas Giolito fared very well for the Gulf Coast League Nationals in their 11-3 win over the GCL Cardinals today. The GCL Nats are now 12-4 and in first place in the East division. Giolito went two innings, allowing one hit, no runs, no walks and striking out three. In the first inning, the 18-year-old

Prospect Purke roughed up in second start for P-Nats

Left-hander Matt Purke did not have a good outing in his second start for high Single-A Potomac on Monday night, a 12-9 loss at Winston-Salem. Purke (0-1) allowed two home runs to shortstop Chris Curley in three 2/3 innings, totaling 11 hits, nine runs, one walk, two wild pitches and three strikeouts. His ERA jumped from 1.80 to 10.38 in the loss. Purke had allowed

Top prospect Giolito on schedule for second start Tuesday

Right-hander Lucas Giolito, the top prospect in the Nationals system, will make his next start for the Gulf Coast Nationals on Tuesday afternoon against the GCL Cardinals, according to Nationals director of player development Doug Harris. In his season debut last week, Giolito was pulled after only 1/3 of an inning in which he allowed two hits, two runs, one earned, two walks and one

Pitching for GCL Nationals, Brad Meyers fares well in first pro start since early 2012

The Rookie-level Gulf Coast Nationals have started off well, going 11-3 in their first 14 games, including winning seven of their first eight contests. Right-hander Brad Meyers made the start Saturday, going two innings, allowing one hit and no runs with one strikeout and no walks. He faced six batters and induced three groundouts. To put it in perspective, it was his longest outing since

All-Star Souza playing for today in Harrisburg

Outfielder Steven Souza is having an outstanding first half for Double-A Harrisburg, and his play has been rewarded with an invitation to the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 10. “It is an honor,” Souza said recently. “It is going to be a fun experience. I just thank the lord for blessing me with such a good season and some good teammates to help me

Goodwin making strides as All-Star appearance approaches

Double-A Harrisburg Senators outfielder Brian Goodwin has been named to the Eastern League All-Star team. He will play for the Western Division on July 10 in New Britain, Conn. It also comes at a time when Goodwin is starting to get into a nice rhythm at the plate. He has cut down on his strikeouts, with only five in his last 38 at-bats. He has

Rendon making strides at second base on tough night for Nats

Second baseman Anthony Rendon is responsible for the only run the Nationals have scored in an 18-inning span of two losses to Milwaukee. His solo homer off of winning pitcher Kyle Lohse cut the Brewers lead to 4-1, which turned out to be the final score. Rendon said he finally got a good look at a curveball after struggling against Lohse in earlier at-bats. “I

Giolito and Purke updates on their new team debuts

Right-hander Lucas Giolito faced only five batters in his GCL Nationals debut in Florida. It was his first professional game since recovering from Tommy John surgery. Giolito went 1/3 of an inning, allowed one hit, two runs, one earned run, two walks and one strikeout. He walked the first two batters he faced, the Cardinals’ Eliezer Alvarez and Jhohan Acevedo. Giolito was replaced by Ryan

Johnson on Espinosa’s struggles at the plate: “He will get it”

Danny Espinosa has continued to struggle at the plate for Triple-A Syracuse as he rehabs from wrist and shoulder injuries. He is batting .094 (6-for-64) in 19 games, with 33 strikeouts in 64 at-bats. Recently he has improved his strikeouts per game, down to four in the last five contests. Manager Davey Johnson has kept up on Espinosa in the team reports and has been

Zach Walters named to International League All-Star Game

The Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs have announced that shortstop Zach Walters has been named to the International League All-Star Game to be played in Reno, Nev., on July 17. Walters has hit a career-high 18 home runs and 44 RBIs in his first 77 games this season for the Chiefs. The 23-year-old Walters has collected 40 extra-base hits, 20 of those doubles and two triples. He

Storen will focus on holding runners, controlling pitches after loss

A lot happened to Nationals reliever Drew Storen to make everything unravel in Tuesday’s four-run eighth inning for Milwaukee. On paper, it was a pair of doubles, and a pair of singles that did him in, as Milwaukee turned a tight pitchers’ duel into a 4-0 victory. But it was how quickly it all changed for Storen and how Milwaukee attacked his delivery to the

Johnson would place no restrictions on Harper in All-Star game

Despite missing 31 games with a knee injury, outfielder Bryce Harper continues to be in the top four in National League outfield voting for the All-Star Game, which is July 16 at Citi Field. Harper returned to the lineup Monday for the first time since late May, cranking a solo homer in his first at-bat in a 10-5 Nationals victory over Milwaukee. Major League Baseball

Top 2012 pick Giolito to make season debut Wednesday for GCL Nats

Right-hander Lucas Giolito will make his season debut for the rookie league Gulf Coast League Nationals on Wednesday, according to Nationals director of player development Doug Harris. The 2012 first-round selection, who is 12 days short of his 19th birthday, has recovered from Tommy John surgery and has looked good in workouts at the Nationals’ training facility in Viera, Fla. The 6-foot-6, 225 lb., Giolito

Zimmermann earns 12th win in all-around fashion

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will remember this one for a while. He tied a career-high with 12 wins. It took him a whole season, and 32 starts, to reach 12 victories in 2012. He set a career-high with three hits in a game, scoring two runs, in a 3-for-3 performance at the plate. The Nationals held off the Brewers 10-5 behind Zimmermann’s pitching and hitting. Handed

With Harper returning, lineup comes together nicely for Johnson

For the first time it what seems like April, manager Davey Johnson got to put together a lineup that would make his counterpart in the other dugout pause. With the return of left fielder Bryce Harper from the disabled list, Johnson was able to put together one of the better power and contact combinations in quite a while to open the month of July. Denard

Left-handed prospect Purke promoted to Potomac

The low Single-A Hagerstown Suns announced that left-hander Matt Purke has been promoted to high Single-A Potomac. Purke made six starts at Hagerstown, going 1-1 with a 2.48 ERA. He had 41 strikeouts to just seven walks, and allowed a total of eight earned runs in 29 innings. His last two starts, in which he went five and six innings, respectively, have been the longest

The Bryce Harper effect

He did it last season when he burst onto the scene in Los Angeles. Now, 14 months later, coming off an injury to his knee this season, which also ironically happened at Dodger Stadium, he is ready to make his “re-debut” with the Nationals back in D.C. tonight. And similar to that April 28, 2012 moment, Bryce Harper will instantly provide a spark for the

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