This and that

Orr Catching on...
Pete Orr will be adding to his versatility after the season when he joins the Nationals’ Florida Instructional League team in Viera. The infielder/outfielder will be working on becoming a catcher, too.

He spent some time with Nats bench coach and former big league catcher Pat Corrales in the tunnel in Philly, getting a crash course on catching when Wil Nieves came out of the game with a hamstring injury last week.

Pete told me he caught as a youngster in little league and was the Braves’ emergency catcher.

Although he has never caught in a major league game, he has caught a couple of bullpen sessions and he also got ready for Bobby Cox a few times. He told me he’s excited about the opportunity and he hopes it extends his playing career.

Journeyman Catcher Helps Out...
Veteran catcher Jamie Burke also appreciates the chance to play in September. The 37-year-old was home working in the yard when he got the call that he’d been traded from Seattle to Washington.

The former Oregon State college football kicker told me this weekend he definitely brings a football mentality to baseball. He’s usually got his game face on and he’s a fierce competitor.

Jim Riggleman, who knows Jamie from his days in Seattle, said Burke really understands the game and would make a great coach or manager some day. Jamie agreed that it is something he’d be interested in once he’s done playing.

J-Max Making Most of Opportunities...
University of Maryland product Justin Maxwell admits he appreciates the opportunity to play with the Nationals in September. The outfielder needs to prove to the team that he has the ability to play every day.

He is a great athlete and a solid defensive player, and the organization would like to see him hit more consistently. Hitting coach Rick Eckstein has tinkered with his mechanics and that has helped him this fall.

J-Max has enjoyed having the support of his family as he gains more big league experience. His wife Loren and son Jaidon are usually by his side. Also, his parents, Kathy and Austin, are often in attendance along with his grandmother Ann Carter.

If he wasn’t a professional ballplayer, Justin said he’d probably use his animal science degree from Maryland and pursue dentistry, a profession shared by both of his parents. That explains the outstanding smile on the promising Nats prospect.