Davey Johnson sat down in the visitor’s dugout at Camden Yards and cracked a big smile.
“This looks familiar,” Johnson said. “Little different angle from here.”
The Nationals’ skipper seemed legitimately happy to be back in Baltimore, shaking hands with Jim Palmer and Rick Dempsey and soaking in the atmosphere at the park he once managed in.
Johnson will also be happy to know that the Nats have signed Stanford left-hander Brett Mooneyham, their third-round pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft.
Mooneyham, a 6-foot-5 hurler, is a Scott Boras client. The Nats also signed 30th-round left-hander Robert Orlan out of the University of North Carolina.
Mooneyham’s signing leaves two right-handed pitchers - first-round pick Lucas Giolito (Harvard-Westlake HS, Calif.) and seventh-rounder Robert Benincasa (Florida State) - as the only guys among the Nats’ top 14 picks that remain unsigned.
Based on Benincasa’s slot level and the bonus the Nats gave Mooneyham (which reportedly was for slot money), the Nationals could give Giolito somewhere just north of $3 million in bonus money without needing to forfeit a draft pick due to the new collective bargaining agreement rules. They have expressed a willingness to pay a fine but not forfeit a future pick, a penalty which comes for overspending the bonus pool limit by five percent.
Drew Storen threw to hitters today for the first time since elbow surgery, and he came out happy with the results.
Storen threw only fastballs, but had good sink on the ball, and felt good. His first pitch came way up and in to Rick Ankiel, he said, but he had good command after that. He threw 15 pitches overall.
He’ll throw a couple more live BP sessions, and then the Nats will evaluate where he’s at from there.
Johnson said that Chien-Ming Wang will be available out of the bullpen Sunday. He’ll throw some in the bullpen before he enters the game to stretch out his pitch count.
Mark DeRosa, meanwhile, could be ready to return to the Nationals within the next couple days. DeRosa began a rehab assignment at Single-A Potomac last night.
“He just needs to get back in the flow of things,” Johnson said. “He’s been out, I think, six weeks or more. But with his experience or his know-how, I don’t look for him to take maybe two or three more games.”
It’ll also likely be just two or three more appearances before Henry Rodriguez is ready to return to the Nationals, Johnson said. Rodriguez went an inning last night for Triple-A Syracuse - his second minor league rehab outing.
Update: This might have officially been the weakest rain delay ever. We got maybe a minute’s worth of a light sprinkle, and that was it, yet the game will be postponed for nearly an hour.
They’ve announced an anticipated first-pitch time of 8 p.m. Hopefully we can get there without a slight breeze pushing this thing back any further.