First the Prez... Now the Pope

Good Vibes in the Clubhouse!
Pope Benedict XVI blessed the Nats clubhouse on Thursday before leaving Nationals Park after saying mass in front of a sold out crowd. The Pope used Manny Acta’s office as a dressing room and the Bishops used both the home and visiting clubhouses to change in. Again, a little Divine Intervention might be just what this Nationals team needs...

Nationals Clubhouse

Closed Door Meeting...
The Nationals held a brief closed door players only meeting on Thursday at Shea. Ryan Zimmerman told me it lasted only 5 or 10 minutes. The reason for the meeting was to remind the players that they are much better than the way they’ve been playing. “Everyone cares and we need to step it up,” Zimmerman explained. He also said the team finished last season with a lot of fire and they need to recapture that intensity. He said the chemistry of the club is good but individually everyone needs to show more of a sense of urgency.

Wil Catching On...
Wil Nieves did an outstanding job working overtime on Thursday against the Mets. He caught 14 innings and caught John Lannan’s best game of his career. He did a great job of sticking to Randy St. Claire’s game plan and it showed in the box score. He also proved he has a good arm throwing out Endy Chavez in the 11th inning. Nieves adds a nice spark behind the plate. He’s got a lot of energy and as Manny Acta noted he plays like a shortstop.

Long Island Lefty Lannan is Alright!
23-year-old John Lannan had more than 100 family and friends in the crowd watching him pitch for the first time at Shea Stadium. His mom and dad, Flo and Ed Lannan watched their son from behind home plate and charted every out. Before the game his parents noted how proud they are of their son. Not only is he in the big leagues but he earned a degree in marketing and management at Siena College before turning pro. The southpaw showed, too that he can keep his composure after being in the spotlight in one of baseball’s toughest baseball towns. Ironically, a former Met Southpaw, Paul Gibson, has helped John in the off-season with his pitching and conditioning program. This is one pitcher who had not reached his potential and has a lot of promise for the future of the Nats pitching rotation.