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Hearing from Gonzalez, Suzuki and LaRoche

NEW YORK - The roller-coaster season continues. A big win Friday, a downer of a game Saturday in which the Nationals scored just one run and a dominating showing in a 13-2 victory today. The Nats' pitching has been pretty consistent the last couple months, but the offense sure hasn't. Today, the Nats exploded offensively, to the point that the Mets ended up sending catcher

Johnson recaps Nats' 13-2 blowout win

NEW YORK - If the Nationals' win Friday was their "biggest win of the year," was today's victory the most enjoyable one this season? The Nationals pounded out 13 runs on 13 hits this afternoon. They connected on four home runs (one each by Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth, Kurt Suzuki and Ian Desmond) and six doubles, and had every position player in the starting lineup

Getting the wheels turning in the second (Nats crush Mets 13-2)

NEW YORK - Making his third major league start, Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler retired the Nationals in order in dominating fashion in the first inning, striking out two. Things went a little differently in the second. The Nats scored four runs on Wheeler in the second inning, putting five runners on base, three via extra-base hits. Adam LaRoche demolished the first pitch Wheeler threw in

Detwiler thinks he'll make his next start (plus Haren update and lineups)

NEW YORK - The stiffness that Ross Detwiler felt in the left side of his lower back following his start Friday is all but gone, manager Davey Johnson said today. Johnson reported that Detwiler felt much better today than he did yesterday, and the left-hander thinks he'll be able to make his scheduled start Wednesday against the Brewers. Detwiler played catch in the outfield at

Dissecting the defensive issues

NEW YORK - If the Nationals were putting up six runs a game to go along with their strong pitching, their defensive woes this season would be easier to stomach. After all, if you have double-digit run totals on the board a couple of times a week or are in the process of coasting to another victory, it's easier to put up with a defensive

Hearing from Johnson, Jordan, Zimmerman and Desmond after 5-1 loss

NEW YORK - Last night, the Nationals picked up what manager Davey Johnson and a couple players called their "biggest win of the year." They came back from three runs down, scored five runs in the final two innings and earned a hard-fought road victory in a game in which they faced arguably the toughest starter in the league. Today, the Nats scored just a

An all-around stinker (Nats lose 5-1)

NEW YORK - The Nationals have committed three errors and made a few other poor defensive plays. They put up just one run against Mets starter Dillon Gee, who has a 0.96 ERA in 18 2/3 innings against the Nats this season and a 5.55 ERA against everyone else. They've allowed eight Mets hits through six innings, and didn't get Craig Stammen's best stuff in

Jordan's off and running (Nats don't give Jordan much help)

NEW YORK - Two innings into his big league career, Taylor Jordan has put up two zeros. Making his major league debut today against the Mets, Jordan understandably looked a little shaky in his first inning of work, but settled down in the second, locating better down in the zone and setting the Mets down in order. Jordan's first career big league pitch was a

Our first look at Taylor Jordan

NEW YORK - Taylor Jordan arrived to Citi Field this morning with the crowd of Nationals players and staffers that were on the second bus departing the team hotel. The tall, baby-faced right-hander walked into the visitors' clubhouse with a smile stretching from ear-to-ear, dropped off his bags and tossed on a brand new, red Nationals warm-up shirt. He shook the hands of a few

Detwiler dealing with back stiffness, could miss next start (with lineups)

NEW YORK - Another day, another injury issue for the Nationals. Ross Detwiler is dealing with a stiff lower back, manager Davey Johnson said this morning, an injury that could cause the left-hander to miss his next start in the Nats' rotation. Detwiler went five innings in last night's 6-4 win over the Mets, throwing 98 pitches in that time. He had landed on the

Taylor Jordan, Erik Davis up; Kobernus, Marrero optioned

NEW YORK - The Nationals made two roster moves this morning. We knew one was coming. One is a little bit of a surprise. The Nats have selected the contract of right-hander Taylor Jordan from Double-A Harrisburg and also recalled right-handed reliever Erik Davis. To make room for those two, first baseman Chris Marrero and outfielder Jeff Kobernus were both optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. We

Zimmerman on the comeback: "It's not easy, but good teams do that"

NEW YORK - The first 14 Nationals hitters that Matt Harvey faced Friday night all took the disappointing walk back to the visitors' dugout along the third base line. Seven of those 14 were set down on strikes by the Mets flame-throwing right-hander. At that point, when Harvey was cruising through the first 4 2/3 innings and had yet to allow a baserunner, did the

Johnson on Nats' 6-4 comeback win (Marrero optioned)

NEW YORK - Over the seven innings that Mets ace Matt Harvey was in tonight's game, the Nationals managed one run on three hits. Harvey overpowered the Nats, as he'd overpowered pretty much every other team he's faced this season. But the Nats kept the game close, and trailed 4-1 when the mediocre Mets bullpen was called upon in the eighth. Then they pounced. Ryan

Having trouble getting to Harvey (Nats come back to win 6-4)

NEW YORK - The hits might be few and far between for the Nationals tonight. That is, if they come at all. Mets right-hander Matt Harvey has been perfect through four innings so far, striking out six and making Nats hitters look pretty silly in the process. Five of Harvey's strikeouts have been of the swinging variety. He got Denard Span and Anthony Rendon swinging

What Johnson wants to see from Detwiler

NEW YORK - It's been a bit of an ongoing back and forth. Davey Johnson talks about wanting to see Ross Detwiler mix his pitches a bit more, and Detwiler goes out and has success throwing nearly almost entirely two- and four-seam fastballs. Lately, however, Detwiler hasn't had as much success. He has an 8.59 ERA in three starts since coming off the DL, and

Harper staying with Harrisburg, Ramos close to returning, Taylor Jordan notes

NEW YORK - Speaking following yesterday's game, Davey Johnson left the door open to the possibility that Bryce Harper would cut short his rehab assignment by a few days and join the Nationals in New York this weekend. That won't be happening. Harper is remaining with Double-A Harrisburg for the time being. Harper will get a day off today, but he'll still hit indoors and

Nats, Mets lineups for series opener

NEW YORK - Greetings from Citi Field on a slightly muggy but otherwise nice day. Looks like we'll avoid the storm clouds that apparently are hovering around those of you back in the mid-Atlantic region. There was a point where I wasn't sure whether I'd make it here at all. The cab driver I had take me to my hotel was quite possibly the worst

Talking Strasburg and the lack of streaks

Here's the good news: The Nationals are looking like they've got three top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers right now. Jordan Zimmermann is tied for the major league lead with 11 wins and has a 2.28 ERA. Gio Gonzalez has bounced back from a rocky April and owns a 2.32 ERA over his last 10 starts. And after yesterday's outing, Stephen Strasburg has a 2.41 ERA on the

Johnson discusses Nats' 3-2 loss to D-backs and Harper's status

As he sat down for his postgame press conference after tonight's 3-2, 11-inning loss to the Diamondbacks, Davey Johnson looked at reporters and slowly shook his head. The offensive production and clutch hitting that had been present in the Nationals' first two games of this series disappeared in today's series finale, and the Nats will hop on a flight up to New York tonight again

Desmond gets the Nats going (Nats lose 3-2 in 11 innings)

Ian Desmond's first half continues to get more impressive. The Nationals shortstop cranked a two-run homer in the fourth inning today, his 13th of the season, that gave the Nats a 2-0 lead over the Diamondbacks. Desmond took a massive swing at an 0-1 slider from Arizona starter Patrick Corbin and came up empty. I think I felt the gust of wind from Desmond's hack

Perry outrighted, clearing spot for starter (Moore notes; we're under way)

The Nationals have outrighted right-hander Ryan Perry to Double-A Harrisburg, a move that drops Perry from the 40-man roster and clears a spot for the Nats to add a starter for Saturday's game against the Mets. Perry had already been pitching for Harrisburg, so this was strictly a procedural move. And while the Nats aren't officially willing to announce who will get the start on

Harper joins Harrisburg, likely to return to Nats Monday

After kicking off his rehab assignment at high Single-A Potomac and playing two games with the P-Nats, Bryce Harper has moved on to Double-A Harrisburg. Harper has joined the Senators for their four-game series against Bowie, allowing him to jump up a level while also staying local. Harper, who is rehabbing from left knee bursitis, is scheduled to play 8-9 innings tonight, according to Nationals

Solano behind the plate in series finale vs. Diamondbacks

Davey Johnson is running out pretty much the same lineup today that he used in yesterday's 3-2 Nationals win over the Diamondbacks. Tyler Moore will get the start again in left field, this time against Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin. The only change to yesterday's lineup is that Jhonatan Solano will be behind the plate, catching right-hander Stephen Strasburg. This should be a heck of a

On Zimmermann, Rendon, Espinosa and Owings

After three long days, my jury duty is complete, this following more than 7 1/2 hours of deliberation last night that caused me to miss another Nationals game. I'm all done now, however, and am ready to get back into the flow this afternoon as the Nats wrap up their three-game series with the Diamondbacks and then head up to New York for three against

Some of this, some of that

It had been 51 days since Gio Gonzalez last picked up a win. Fifty-one days, despite an eight-start stretch in which Gonzalez pitched to a 2.15 ERA and held opponents to a .174 batting average and .532 OPS. That can happen when your offense is ineffective and your team has a number of key position players dealing with injuries. Last night, Gonzalez's lengthy winless streak

A look at Taylor Jordan and the open rotation spot

Before I dive into things this morning, some brief housekeeping notes. I spent nearly 10 hours at jury selection yesterday (what a fun process that was!) and was eventually chosen to serve for a trial starting today. The trial is scheduled to last two days, so I might be out of action through Wednesday, although I'm hoping things move swiftly and I'm able to make

Harper to begin rehab assignment tonight (updated)

The original plan was for Bryce Harper to start his rehab assignment Tuesday at high Single-A Potomac. Harper then said he'd prefer to wait another day or two, and the plan was altered to have Harper likely starting his rehab assignment Wednesday. Now we're back to Tuesday again. A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed that Harper will head to Woodbridge, Va., on

Still treading water nearly three months in

If you look at the standings as of this morning, you'll get a clear picture of how the Washington Nationals' 2013 season is going. The team considered by many around the game to be the World Series favorites coming into the season has a 37-38 record after yesterday's loss to the Rockies. The Nats are six games back of the Braves in the National League

Werth discusses his groin injury, Haren discusses landing on the DL

The last time Jayson Werth had to leave a game due to an injury, he said that he didn't think it was too serious and hoped he wouldn't need to land on the disabled list. The tightness that had popped up in Werth's right hamstring hung around for a while, and he eventually needed to miss 28 games while rehabbing the hamstring on the DL.

Johnson on Detwiler, Haren, Werth and Harper after 7-6 Nats loss

The Nationals put up six straight runs this afternoon to make this game respectable and give themselves a shot late, but they couldn't overcome the seven-run deficit they were handed by Ross Detwiler. A 7-6 loss to the Rockies was the result, a loss that dropped the Nats back to a game under .500. Detwiler allowed seven runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings.

The fourth-inning blues (Werth leaves game, Nats lose 7-6)

For the second straight day, a Nationals starter didn't made it out of the fourth inning. Yesterday, it was Dan Haren getting pulled after 3 1/3 innings, having allowed six runs on seven hits. Today, it's Ross Detwiler handing the ball to Davey Johnson after 3 2/3 innings. Detwiler allowed seven runs on nine hits (including two homers) with one walk and three strikeouts. Haren

Haren heading to DL (Harper puts on a show in batting practice)

Turns out the Nationals won't wait until after Dan Haren's side session before deciding what to do with the veteran right-hander. Haren will be heading to the disabled list, a team source confirmed this afternoon. The ailment has not yet been specified. Haren has gone 4-9 this season and has a major league-worst 6.15 ERA. He went just 3 1/3 innings yesterday against the Rockies,

Werth in Nats lineup, LaRoche and Span aren't (Rockies lineup)

Jayson Werth is back in the Nationals lineup today after being scratched from yesterday's lineup due to what manager Davey Johnson called flu-like symptoms. Two other Nats regulars will not start today's series finale against the Rockies. Adam LaRoche and Denard Span - two left-handed hitters - are both sitting today against Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rossa. Johnson also had LaRoche and Span out

What comes next for Haren?

The Nationals aren't sure what they'll do with Dan Haren at this point. Haren might make his next start. He might get his next start skipped while getting a chance to work on things during bullpen sessions. He might land on the disabled list. One thing the Nationals do know is they can't keep getting this type of result from Haren every fifth day. The

Dan Haren: "I'd probably boo myself, too"

After this afternoon's 7-1 Nationals loss, in which he went just 3 1/3 innings, allowed six runs and was booed off the mound, Dan Haren was seated at his locker waiting for reporters. When about a dozen media members approached, Haren stood up, spun his chair around to create some room for the cameras, and calmly answered questions about yet another disappointing outing for 3

Johnson on Haren's future after Nats' 7-1 loss (with Werth update)

It would probably be fair to say that Nationals fans have been concerned about Dan Haren's effectiveness for some time now. After Haren's performance in today's 7-1 loss to the Rockies, Davey Johnson admitted he's now in that boat, as well. Haren went just 3 1/3 innings this afternoon at Nats Park, allowing six runs on seven hits. The veteran right-hander struck out five and

Haren's tough 2013 season hits a new low (Nats lose 7-1)

The Nationals have insisted that they have confidence in Dan Haren, despite his bloated numbers this season. You wonder how much longer that confidence will last. Haren was pulled after just 3 1/3 innings today, capping his worst start of what has already been a really rough 2013 campaign. The 32-year-old allowed six runs on seven hits. He hit a batter, threw two wild pitches,

Johnson feels Storen is back in 2011 form (Haren hit hard early)

The start of the 2013 season has been a bit of a rocky one for Drew Storen. Storen, who saved 43 games for the Nationals in 2011 and then came back from elbow surgery last season to post a 2.37 ERA in 37 games, went through a stretch this season where he either allowed an earned run or an inherited runner to score in five

Bernadina, Solano a part of Nats lineup (Werth scratched)

We're back at Nats Park bright and early this morning, thanks to a 12:05 p.m. scheduled first pitch. The Nationals are having their annual Dream Gala tonight, an event that benefits the Dream Foundation. Players, coaches and staff will need to toss on their tuxes and make their way over to Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall after today's game, making for a long day,

Plenty of strong pitching performances

Multiple times within the last few weeks, the Nationals have earned a big win, and the topic of conversation has turned to whether that victory could be a momentum-starter, something to give the Nats a jolt and get them on an extended run. Each time, the Nats have followed that up with a loss, or a string of a few losses. I'm not going there

Johnson recaps Nats' 2-1 win

It was clear to all watching that Stephen Strasburg wanted no part of pitching coach Steve McCatty or assistant trainer Steve Gober coming out to the mound to check on him in the seventh inning of tonight's 2-1 Nationals win. Two starts removed from a stint on the disabled list due to a lat strain, Strasburg had stretched his side a bit after allowing a

Strasburg has become the new Zimmermann (Nats win 2-1)

Last season, Jordan Zimmermann went out start after start and delivered. He put up a 2.94 ERA over his 32 starts and got just 12 wins all season. The Nationals struggled mightily to score runs in Zimmermann's starts, and his win total suffered. This season, Stephen Strasburg has gotten the Jordan Zimmermann treatment. Strasburg came into tonight's outing getting the second-lowest run support of any

Harper on track to begin rehab assignment Tuesday at Potomac

Bryce Harper continues to progress as he rehabs the bursitis in his left knee, and if all goes well over the next few days, Harper should be able to head out on a rehab assignment on Tuesday. Harper did some running in the outfield and took some full swings in the indoor batting cage yesterday, and he was set to do the same today. The

Strasburg on mound for Game 2 vs. Rockies

The Nationals are sending Stephen Strasburg to the mound tonight, as he looks to match Jordan Zimmermann's dominant outing last night and lead the Nats to their third straight win. Over 13 starts this season, Strasburg has pitched to a 2.50 ERA despite having just three wins to show for his effort. The Nats will face Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who is 4-1 with a

More on Zimmermann's growth and All-Star chances (draft pick note)

Ian Desmond said last night that if he was picking the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team, Jordan Zimmermann would be his guy. What are the chances of that happening? Well, Zimmermann is now tied for the major league lead in wins with 10. He has a miniscule 2.26 ERA, fifth-best in the NL behind Clayton Kershaw, Jeff Locke, Shelby Miller and Matt

Zimmermann on Zimmermann, plus other postgame quotes

The All-Star Game is just a few weeks away now. And if Jordan Zimmermann's 10-3 record and 2.26 ERA aren't doing enough to convince people that the 27-year-old right-hander belongs in the Midsummer Classic, his teammates are sure going to lend him some vocal support. "Oh absolutely. Yeah, no question," Adam LaRoche said, when asked whether Zimmermann deserves his first All-Star Game selection. "He's had,

Johnson discusses Nats' 5-1 win

The first thing Davey Johnson said as he approached the podium for his postgame press conference after tonight's 5-1 win over the Rockies wasn't related to Jordan Zimmermann's stellar eight-inning outing or Adam LaRoche's three-hit, two-RBI night. It related to Anthony Rendon's eighth-inning error that put the potential game-tying run in the on-deck circle and brought Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez up with two runners on

Yet another gem from Zimmermann (Nats win 5-1)

In his eight innings of work tonight, Jordan Zimmermann got into very little trouble. He allowed just two runners to get into scoring positing through the seventh and set down 16 straight hitters at one point. Zimmermann was cruising, pounding the strike zone and setting down the Rockies with relative ease. In the eighth, the right-hander finally needed to work his way out of a

Desmond does it again (Wheels LaRoche strikes again)

Two of Ian Desmond's last three swings have resulted in home runs. Last night, Desmond led the Nationals to a 6-2 win with an 11th-inning grand slam. Tonight, Desmond launched a 1-1 changeup from Roy Oswalt into the left field seats in the second inning to give the Nats a 1-0 lead over the Rockies. Desmond now has 11 homers on the season, third-most among

Johnson: Harper "close" to getting into rehab games

Barring any setbacks with his injured left knee, Bryce Harper should be back playing rehab games sometime in the near future. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said today that Harper, who is dealing with bursitis in his knee, did some running in the outfield at Nats Park today and will do some hitting in the cages. As long as Harper's knee doesn't swell up tomorrow, Johnson

Nats, Rockies lineups for tonight's series opener

The Nationals will go with the same lineup in today's series opener against the Rockies that they ran out last night against the Phillies. With Roger Bernadina still dealing with some type of issue with his left eye, Steve Lombardozzi will play left field again tonight. Bernadina was scratched from last night's game due to the eye, which Bernadina said was bothering him when he

Bench composition still a work in progress

If you've followed the Nationals with any type of regularity this season, you've probably read quotes from Davey Johnson where he discusses how tough he thinks it is for young players to occupy bench roles on a major league team. Johnson knows that Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi haven't produced much from an offensive perspective at the big league level this season. Moore's level of

Injury updates on Tracy and Bernadina

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals played 11 innings tonight, and they did so with a short bench. Outfielder Roger Bernadina was scratched from the Nats' lineup before the game due to a left eye infection, and infielder Chad Tracy spent the game getting treatment on a tight back that held him out of batting practice before the game. Neither injury is thought to be too serious

Plenty of postgame notes and quotes after Nats' 6-2, 11-inning win

PHILADELPHIA - Had the Nationals not rallied from a run down in the top of the ninth inning, had Jayson Werth not tied the game against Jonathan Papelbon with two outs, the bus ride from Philly back to D.C. would've been a quiet and long one. With a loss tonight, the Nats would have fallen three games below .500 for the first time this season.

More of the same (Desmond's grand slam lifts Nats to 11-inning win)

PHILADELPHIA - Kyle Kendrick has faced 16 Nationals hitters tonight. One of those 16 has reached base. The other 15 have all gone quietly. The Nats trail the Phillies 2-0 as we go to the sixth inning of tonight's series finale at Citizens Bank Park. They've put one runner on base so far and have made things pretty easy on Kendrick, who has needed just

Harper close to doing baseball activities, Espinosa re-working his swing (updated)

PHILADELPHIA - General manager Mike Rizzo said today that outfielder Bryce Harper is "a couple days" away from starting baseball activities as he works his way back from bursitis in his left knee, a condition that has held Harper out of the Nationals' lineup for the last 20 games. Harper got a cortisone shot in his knee last Monday and was told by Dr. James

Johnson, Rizzo say Eckstein doesn't deserve blame for Nats' offensive woes

PHILADELPHIA - We've gone over the Nationals' sub-par offensive numbers countless times to this point. They've scored 3.47 runs per game, the second-fewest of any team in the majors. They have the second-lowest on-base percentage in the big leagues at .291. Their team OPS is .666, fourth-worst in Major League Baseball. This team continues to struggle putting runs on the board, leading some to question

Nats, Phillies lineups for series finale (Bernadina scratched due to eye issue)

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals will look to snap a three-game losing streak and salvage a game out of this three-game set in Philly tonight. If they aren't able to do so, the Nats will fall to a season-worst three games under .500 and drop back into third place in the National League East behind the Braves and Phillies. Davey Johnson has Adam LaRoche back in

Espinosa reinstated from DL, optioned to Triple-A

PHILADELPHIA - The Nationals today officially made a move that has been expected for the last couple of weeks: They optioned second baseman Danny Espinosa to Triple-A Syracuse. Espinosa was placed on the disabled list back on June 4 with a fractured right wrist. He got a cortisone shot in the wrist in order to relieve some of the inflammation in there and had played

A case of identity theft

PHILADELPHIA - The good news for Jayson Werth - and the bad news for everyone else in the Philadelphia area - is that Werth's team slump-busting strategy of showing up today ready to "eat somebody's face" jives with his gluten-free eating habits. If you're planning on attending tonight's game at Citizens Bank Park, be alert. A man with an incredibly long beard is talking about

Johnson, Detwiler, Kobernus and Werth discuss Nats' 4-2 loss

PHILADELPHIA - The list of starting pitchers to shut down the Nationals' offense this season is pretty lengthy. We can now add Cliff Lee to that group. Lee held the Nats to just two runs (on solo home runs by Jayson Werth and Jeff Kobernus) on five hits over eight innings, leading the Phillies to a 4-2 win that knocked the Nats back to two

A big-time defensive play (Nats lose 4-2)

PHILADELPHIA - Denard Span's offensive numbers this season certainly aren't where he'd like them. Span's .256/.312/.349 slash line entering tonight's game is well below his career line of .281/.353/.385 across the board. But even though he's had his issues offensively and has battled a bruised foot for much of the last six weeks, Span hasn't let his defense suffer. The Nationals center fielder again showed

Two dealing southpaws (another instant update)

PHILADELPHIA - That headline sounds like a movie title. Maybe something set in the old west. Don't anyone steal that idea. I might have a stop in Hollywood in my future. Not only have Ross Detwiler and Cliff Lee each thrown three scoreless innings and allowed just two hits between them so far tonight, but they've been incredibly efficient in the process. Detwiler has needed

Desmond feels Nats not playing loose enough (we're under way)

PHILADELPHIA - The radar for the Philly area doesn't look great for the next couple hours, but it sounds like the teams are hoping that things might clear up around 8 p.m., allowing us to get this game in. It does appear clear, however, that we're going to start in a delay. After yesterday's tough 5-4 walk-off loss, the Nationals have no interest in having

Span returns to Nats lineup

PHILADELPHIA - It absolutely poured here in Philly a couple of hours ago, and as I was trying to get off an exit ramp near Citizens Bank Park, I had to drive my Mazda3 through a two-foot-high puddle that felt more like a river. I made it through just fine, and avoided having to roll down the window and swim to the ballpark. I guess

Haren continues to search for answers

PHILADELPHIA - The first two pitches Henry Rodriguez threw as a member of the Cubs looked very similar to what we saw from Rodriguez when he was with the Nationals. Rodriguez, who was traded by the Nats to the Cubs last week after being designated for assignment, made his Cubs debut last night, and the early results weren't too surprising. Making this clip even more

Hearing from Tracy and Abad after Nats' loss

PHILADELPHIA - Regardless of whether you're watching a baseball game from your couch, the press box or the dugout, when a team hits a game-tying home run with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning, you expect that team to go on to win. Maybe it's the number of highlight reels we've seen, where the clip of the game-tying homer is quickly followed

Johnson discusses Nats' 5-4 walk-off loss

Tonight, for just the second time this season, the Nationals entered the ninth inning trailing and were able to tie the score or take the lead. Chad Tracy's solo homer off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth turned what looked like another frustrating loss into a big momentum booster. Then, it became a frustrating loss

A rocky start for Haren (Phillies pick up a 5-4 walk-off win)

PHILADELPHIA - Dan Haren had a 1-2-3 first inning, retiring Ben Revere, Michael Young and Jimmy Rollins in order to get his night started on a positive note. Over his next two innings of work, Haren allowed seven of the 12 hitters he faced to reach base. The right-hander served up five hits (three of which were for extra bases) and two walks, and three

Span trying to battle through foot pain, offensive struggles

PHILADELPHIA - Nationals manager Davey Johnson had a chat with his Phillies counterpart, Charlie Manuel, during the early stages of batting practice today. The two oldest managers in Major League Baseball had something in common that they could discuss. "We cried on each other's shoulders about our offenses," Johnson quipped. Asked who did more crying, Johnson said that he did because he's the older of

Harper improving, to begin "ground-based activities"

PHILADELPHIA - A week ago today, Dr. James Andrews saw Bryce Harper and confirmed that Harper has bursitis in his injured left knee. Dr. Andrews gave Harper cortisone and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) shots in the knee to try and get rid of the swelling and inflammation that had plagued him for weeks, and told the Nationals outfielder to rest for a week. Today, Harper was

Span, LaRoche out of Nats lineup vs. Lannan

PHILADELPHIA - Both Denard Span and Adam LaRoche are out of the Nationals lineup for tonight's series opener against the Phillies. Span fouled yet another ball off his right foot yesterday (something he's done quite a bit over the last couple of months) and will get today off. So will LaRoche, who is mired in an 0-for-15 slump, with six strikeouts in his last four

Nats sign 22 draft picks, plus updates on Espinosa, Moore

The Nationals announced that they've signed 22 of the 39 players they selected in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, including eight of their first nine draft picks. Among those to have agreed to terms so far are right-hander Jacob Johansen (second round), third baseman Drew Ward (third), right-hander Austin Voth (fifth), third baseman Cody Gunter (sixth), first baseman Jimmy Yezzo (seventh), left-hander David Napoli (eighth),

Hoping things will start to turn, Nats get a look at Lannan

Looks like things didn't change all that much while I was away for the last few days. The Nationals picked up a dramatic win over the Indians on Saturday, plating seven runs and getting a huge ninth-inning, game-winning homer from the red-hot Anthony Rendon. You think maybe things will start to turn for the Nats, that they'll be able to ride a little momentum and

Desmond doing it big of late

Maybe the Nationals should start using Ross Ohlendorf and Ross Detwiler as some kind of new tag-team when they start slumping or get in trouble. You drop below .500 and need a couple wins? Call on the Rosses. Detwiler might not have picked up a win yesterday in the Nationals' series finale in Colorado, but he did his job in his first start back off

Ryan Zimmerman loves Coors Field (Nats win 5-4)

Most hitters love playing at Coors Field. That's no secret. The ball travels further at altitude. Breaking pitches have less spin, leaving more balls hanging up in the zone. Ryan Zimmerman really, really loves playing at Coors Field. Zimmerman smoked a two-run homer to left with two outs in the third inning, giving the Nationals a 2-1 lead and further inflating Zimmerman's career numbers in

Detwiler returns, Davis optioned, Kobernus in left again (with All-Star note)

Ross Detwiler's last start in a Nationals uniform came all the way back on May 15, when he left his start against the Dodgers after just three innings with a strained muscle in his lower back. Nearly a month later, after a painstakingly slow rehab process, the left-hander will finally return to the rubber in a big league game. Detwiler will get the ball for

New group of call-ups generating a spark

Last season, when the Nationals had players go down due to injuries, their call-ups and reserves stepped up in a big way and played a major factor in the team's overall success. Bryce Harper and Tyler Moore got called up from Triple-A Syracuse and Steve Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina came off the bench to help the Nats overcome injuries to Michael Morse and Jayson Werth.

Nats win 5-1 in Ohlendorf's dazzling debut

Even if you had faith that Ross Ohlendorf was going to follow up his last three starts at Triple-A Syracuse - in which he allowed just three earned runs and struck out 27 over 17 1/3 innings - and pitch pretty well tonight, you probably couldn't have imagined this. Pitching in Coors Field against a Rockies team with the third-highest batting average in the majors

Ohlendorf off to a good start (a heck of an outing)

I had seen Ross Ohlendorf messing with an old-school wind-up when he threw back in spring, but forgot just how awesome it was until he fired his first pitch to Dexter Fowler tonight. I love the arms rocking back and forth and the slow turn on the rubber. Feels like I'm watching a game in the early 1900s. Ohlendorf is off to a fantastic start

Ramos suffers setback in return from hamstring injury (with Espinosa note)

Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, who has already landed on the disabled list twice this season due to a hamstring strain, suffered a setback in his rehab and likely won't be returning before the All-Star break, according to MASN's Julie Alexandria, who is with the team in Colorado. Manager Davey Johnson told reporters that Ramos pulled up doing first-to-third drills while at the Nationals' minor league

Ohlendorf making Nats debut at Coors Field

The Nationals send right-hander Ross Ohlendorf to the mound at Coors Field tonight, hoping the veteran can square the series at a game apiece in his Washington debut. In three career starts in the Mile High City, Ohlendorf is 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA, having only lasted a combined 11 2/3 innings and yielding four homers in the thin Denver air. Maybe Ohlendorf can use

Ohlendorf coming up, Garcia transfered to 60-day DL

The Nationals have announced they've officially selected the contract of right-hander Ross Ohlendorf from Triple-A Syracuse, and they'll hand the ball to the 30-year-old tonight out in Colorado. To make room for Ohlendorf on the 25-man roster, the Nats optioned right-hander Nathan Karns to Double-A Harrisburg. Karns went 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in three starts with the Nats. To make room for Ohlendorf on

Unable to go streaking

You ready for something remarkable? The Nationals, a team loaded with talent and built up by expectations of a deep playoff run, have not won more than two consecutive games in over a month. It's pretty tough for a team not to run off a simple three-game winning streak at some point over an extended stretch. The lowly Marlins put together three wins in a

Nats acquire RHP Ian Dickson from Cubs for Henry Rodriguez (Karns optioned)

A week after designating right-hander Henry Rodriguez for assignment, the Nationals have traded the flame-throwing but inconsistent 26-year-old to the Cubs for minor league right-hander Ian Dickson. Dickson's numbers are far from impressive; the 22-year-old has posted a 6.88 ERA in 11 games (35 1/3 innings) for high Single-A Kane County this season. A 35th-round pick of the Cubs back in the 2011 First-Year Player

Haren and Span doing the job early (Nats lose 8-3)

Dan Haren got smacked around pretty good his last time out, allowing five runs on seven hits in just four innings of work in a loss to the Mets. Haren was left incredibly frustrated with himself after the game, saying he felt like he was letting his team down. Tonight, Haren's the one frustrating the Rockies. The veteran right-hander has pitched four scoreless innings thus

Harper to rest a week after getting cortisone, PRP shots in knee

Bryce Harper will miss at least another week due to bursitis in his left knee, a diagnosis that was confirmed by Dr. James Andrews upon Harper's visit to the renowned orthopedic surgeon on Monday. According to MASN's Julie Alexandria, who is with the Nationals out in Colorado, Harper was given a cortisone shot in the inflamed bursa sac in his left knee yesterday, and was

Nats sign veteran righty Mark Lowe to minor league deal (with lineups)

The Nationals added some bullpen depth today, signing veteran right-handed reliever Mark Lowe to a minor league deal. The team announced that Lowe has been assigned to Triple-A Syracuse. Lowe started this season with the Angels, posting a 9.26 ERA in 11 2/3 innings. He allowed 11 hits, walked 11 and struck out seven in his 11 appearances with the Angels. Over his eight-year big

Looking at the impact of the two new lefties

Asked recently whether he's more comfortable with the current makeup of the Nationals bullpen than he was earlier in the season, manager Davey Johnson responded with a fairly resounding, "Yeah." A large part of that is due to the presence of two guys who many Nats fans had never heard of coming into this season - Fernando Abad and Ian Krol. The two left-handers haven't

Waiting to hear on Harper

A day after Bryce Harper went to Florida to get a second opinion on his swollen left knee from Dr. James Andrews, we're still waiting on the details of Andrews' findings. The Nationals have been pretty quiet on the Harper front so far, choosing not to release much information to this point, but we should know more today on what lies ahead as far as

More on Moore

I'll say this: Tyler Moore took the news of his demotion like a pro last night. It's probably pretty easy for a guy who has just gotten sent down to the minor leagues to wallow in self-pity or make up excuses for his poor performance. Moore could've cited his inconsistent playing time as a reason for his .149 average and .464 OPS. He could've snuck

Some leftovers from a long day of ball

I almost didn't recognize my own house when I finally returned to the front doorstep last night. After spending nearly 15 straight hours at Nationals Park yesterday, I was starting to believe I'd need to eventually curl up and grab some shut-eye in the press box. I'm not sure the stadium employees would've enjoyed that too much. After a rough, deflating, extra-inning loss to the

Johnson discusses Nats' doubleheader sweep

Nationals players and coaches showed up to the ballpark before 10 a.m. today. So did reporters, but that's neither here nor there. About 14 hours later, the Nats will file out of the home clubhouse at Nats Park exhausted and a bit physically worn down, but they'll at least have two more wins in the standings than they did when they arrived this morning. They'll

Nats option Tyler Moore to Syracuse

The Nationals were allowed to have 26 players on their active roster today because of the doubleheader, but now that the two games today are over and done with, a cut needed to be made. The guy to go down will be Tyler Moore. After calling up first baseman Chris Marrero earlier today, the Nats decided to option Moore to Triple-A Syracuse after tonight's 5-4

Karns smacked around in the nightcap (Nats win 5-4, sweep doubleheader)

In what very well could be his last start with the Nationals for a little while, Nathan Karns got hit pretty hard in just three innings of work. Karns allowed four runs on five hits over his three frames. He walked three, hit a batter, allowed a home run and struck out two. He needed 74 pitches to get through three innings and retired just

Span, Bernadina and Solano part of Nats' Game 2 lineup

After sitting out the first half of today's doubleheader with a sore ankle, Denard Span returns to the Nationals' lineup for the nightcap. Span will be back in center field and atop the batting order as the Nats look to sweep the doubleheader and take 2-of-3 from the Twins, Span's former team. Also in the Nats' lineup for Game 2 of the doubleheader are Roger

Johnson, Rendon, Zimmermann and Kobernus talk after Nats' 7-0 win

Not liking the overall mindset and offensive approach he was seeing from his team lately, Davey Johnson did something before today's game that he hates doing: He held a team meeting. According to those in the room for the chat, it wasn't anything too serious. The meeting lasted just a few minutes, Johnson was upbeat throughout and he gave the team a simple message. "It

Nats throttle Twins 7-0 in Game 1 of doubleheader

Boy, did they need this. The Nationals' bats exploded in a five-run fifth inning, they got seven scoreless innings from Jordan Zimmermann, and they beat the Twins 7-0 in the first game of today's split doubleheader. Led by Ian Desmond, who had three hits and two RBIs, the Nationals pounded out 14 hits and turned a scoreless game after three innings into a seven-run game

More miscues, but a lead nonetheless (Zimmermann delivers another gem)

Through 4 1/2 innings, the Nationals have had two runners thrown out on the bases, including one that was cut down at home. They've made two more errors, as Anthony Rendon dropped a pop-up that would have been the third out of the third inning and Ryan Zimmerman unleashed his 11th error - 10 of which have been of the throwing variety - in the

Rizzo on Marrero call-up, Harper's knee, Espinosa's health

Having called up Chris Marrero from Triple-A Syracuse to fill the temporary 26th spot on their roster for today's doubleheader, the Nationals will need to drop a player by tomorrow to get back down to the 25-man roster limit. They're not giving any indication yet of who will be sent down, however. "We'll make that decision after the two games today, but the rules allow

Span out for Game 1, Kobernus gets first big league start

With his right foot still bothering him after he fouled a ball off it in the 10th inning of yesterday's loss to the Twins, Denard Span will not play in the first game of today's doubleheader. Span will get his foot checked out by team medical personnel, and manager Davey Johnson told his center fielder that he'll need him for Game 2 of the doubleheader.

Chris Marrero joins Nats as team's 26th guy

The Nationals have taken advantage of a rule that allows teams to bring up a 26th player for doubleheaders, recalling first baseman Chris Marrero from Triple-A Syracuse. General manager Mike Rizzo said the Nats will decide after today who will be sent down in order to get the roster back to 25. Marrero last appeared with the Nationals in 2011, when he hit .248 with

Johnson and LaRoche recap Nats' 4-3 11-inning loss

Another frustrating loss, another postgame press conference where Davey Johnson tries to sum up what's going wrong with his team. The Nationals fell to the Twins 4-3 in 11 innings today, dropping Johnson's team two games under .500 for the first time this season. The Nats had 10 hits but went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and didn't draw a single walk. Over their

Werth brings the pop, LaRoche's errors adding up (Nats lose 4-3 in 11)

The Nationals have been lacking any real offensive production out of the No. 2 spot in their lineup for much of the last five weeks. Jayson Werth is now back after missing nearly all of May with a hamstring injury, and he's brought the pop back to the No. 2 hole. Werth crushed a two-run homer to left with two outs in the third inning,

Ohlendorf to start for Nats on Wednesday, Garcia will remain a reliever

The two rainouts over the last two days gave the Nationals a chance to rest some banged-up players and get a bit of a breather after a 10-1 whipping at the hands of the Mets on Wednesday. It also allowed them to not need to call up a starter to pitch today against the Twins, but that was only a temporary fix. Tomorrow's doubleheader will

Strasburg on track to start next Sunday, Harper improving (and Espinosa update)

After throwing a bullpen session today and reporting no discomfort in or around his strained lat muscle, Stephen Strasburg has been put on a track to return to the Nationals rotation next Sunday, June 16, the first day that he's eligible to come off the disabled list. Assuming he doesn't report any issues in the coming days, Strasburg will throw a simulated game Tuesday in

Rendon at second base again (plus Twins lineup)

Anthony Rendon is back at second base for the Nationals in the delayed opener of a three-game interleague series against the Minnesota Twins. Here are the lineups for today's 4:05 p.m. game at Nationals Park. For the Twins: 3B Jamey Carroll C Joe Mauer RF Ryan Doumit LF Josh Willingham 1B Justin Morneau CD Aaron Hicks 2B Brian Dozier SS Pedro Florimon RHP Kevin Correia

More on Johansen and the Day 2 picks

When Nationals second-round pick Jake Johansen went to D.C. to work out for the Nats leading up to the draft, general manager Mike Rizzo and scouting director Kris Kline told him that they viewed him as a starter, which went contrary to what Johansen was hearing from other scouts, who projected him as a reliever at the pro level. That was something that immediately stood

Jake Johansen discusses signing early, his future and his college numbers

Just about 15 minutes after the Nationals announced that they had signed right-hander Jake Johansen, their top overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, Johansen hopped on a conference call with reporters to discuss officially being added to the Nats' system, his future plans and his performance at Dallas Baptist University in his three years there. The 22-year-old right-hander, who the Nats took with

Nats sign their top 2013 pick, Jake Johansen (with draft update)

Well, this didn't take long. The Nationals have announced that they've agreed to terms with their top pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, right-hander Jake Johansen out of Dallas Baptist University. Johansen was selected in the second round, with the No. 68 overall pick, just before midnight last night. About 18 hours later, Johansen is under contract with the Nationals. This comes in

Nats claim left-hander Tyler Robertson off waivers from Twins (Chien-Ming Wang note)

The Nationals have claimed left-handed reliever Tyler Robertson off waivers from the Twins and optioned him to Triple-A Syracuse, the team announced this afternoon. Robertson, 25, is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in 42 career big league relief appearances. Drafted by the Twins in the third round of the 2006 draft, Robertson made his big league debut last season and appeared in just two games

Tonight's Twins-Nationals game postponed (with pitching alignment for Sunday)

Davey Johnson was hoping last night's game would get postponed to allow his team to rest and his starting rotation to get aligned in a favorable way. The Nationals skipper was also hoping tonight's game would get rained out, giving his banged-up team another day to rest. Johnson's gotten what he hoped for. Tonight's Twins-Nationals game has been postponed due to inclement weather. No make-up

On the rain and the pick

Last night's rainout pushed Gio Gonzalez's start back to today and eliminated the need for the Nationals to call up a starter from Triple-A Syracuse to get the ball Saturday. Now it looks like we might have another rainout tonight that could bump Gonzalez back another day and possibly give us a doubleheader over the weekend. If you don't happen to live in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia

Nats select right-hander Jake Johansen with 68th overall pick (updated with quotes)

It took quite a while for the Nationals to make their first pick of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. Once they were on the clock, they took a kid with a big-time power arm. The Nationals have selected Jake Johansen, a right-handed pitcher out of Dallas Baptist University, with the No. 68 overall selection. The 22-year-old righty, who checks in at 6-foot-6, 235 lbs., struck

Strasburg set to throw bullpen session on Tuesday

Stephen Strasburg landed on the disabled list yesterday with a strained lat muscle, but he's already making strides in his recovery. The Nationals ace played catch today and has a simulated game on the docket for next week. Manager Davey Johnson said that Strasburg is scheduled to throw a sim game this upcoming Tuesday, the Nats' first day in Colorado. This comes after Strasburg did

Tonight's Nationals-Mets game postponed (updated with makeup information)

The Nationals have just announced that tonight's game between the Nats and Mets has been postponed due to inclement weather. No makeup date has been announced as of yet. The Mets make two more trips to D.C. this season - July 26-28 and August 30-September 1 - so there are plenty of options when it comes to makeup dates. The Nats could choose to push

Espinosa to be shut down for 4-5 days

The Nationals tried one five-game shutdown period with Danny Espinosa a couple weeks ago in an attempt to allow the second baseman's fractured right wrist to heal and his offensive performance to improve. That period of rest didn't seem to help too much, at least based on the numbers that Espinosa put up after his return to the Nats' lineup (2-for-17 over five games with

Harper to see Dr. James Andrews for second opinion on knee (we're in a delay)

The swelling in Bryce Harper's left knee has not subsided since he was placed on the disabled list on Saturday, and in search of a second opinion on what's ailing the 20-year-old outfielder, the Nationals are sending Harper to renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews. Harper has been diagnosed with bursitis in his left knee, but he hasn't played since May 26, and the knee

Strasburg officially to DL, Cedeno called up from Triple-A (with lineups)

The Nationals have officially placed Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list this afternoon, retroactive to June 1, because of a strained right lat. That puts both of the Nats' star No. 1 picks, Bryce Harper and Strasburg, on the DL at the same time. To take Strasburg's place on the roster, the Nats have recalled left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno from Triple-A Syracuse. This will

A quick draft note, plus some background on Krol

Tonight marks the first night of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, and while this is one of Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo's favorite days of the year, he'll have to wait a little while to get in on the drafting action tonight. The Nationals forfeited their first-round pick in this year's draft by signing free agent closer Rafael Soriano this offseason after Soriano

A deeper look into the offensive offense

The Nationals have certainly faced their share of tough pitchers this season. They got beat by Johnny Cueto, who had a 2.17 ERA prior to landing on the DL. They suffered losses at the hands of Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller, two insanely talented Cardinals hurlers. Mets righty Matt Harvey pushed the Nats around in New York, and they got dominated by Clayton Kershaw out

Hearing from Johnson and Span after Nats' 10-1 loss

What can you really say after being on the receiving end of a 10-1 spanking at the hands of the Mets, who are 10 games under .500 after tonight's game? "We'll just turn the page on this one," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "We swung the bats better, but we didn't hit with runners in scoring position." No, they didn't. The Nats put up 10

Dan Haren: "I'm just not getting the job done"

Regardless of how he performs, whether he's thrown seven scoreless innings or gotten lit up by the opposition, Dan Haren will always stand up after a game and give a brutally honest assessment of his start. Unfortunately for Haren, he's had as many rough outings to assess this season as he's had stellar ones. Haren went just four innings in tonight's 10-1 Nationals loss to

Home run derby off Haren (Nats fall into third place with 10-1 loss)

Dan Haren entered tonight having allowed 12 home runs this season, tying him for the seventh-most surrendered by any pitcher in the majors. After three innings of work, Haren now finds himself tied for the big league lead in homers allowed. The veteran right-hander has served up three longballs in as many innings tonight, including two to former National Marlon Byrd, and the Nats trail

Updates on Ramos and Mattheus, plus reactions to latest in Biogenesis case

Amid all the negative injury news coming out involving Nationals players lately, there are some positive updates to pass along, as well. Wilson Ramos told me today he will head down to the Nats' minor league complex in Viera, Fla., tonight to continue his rehab as he works back from a left hamstring strain. Ramos will spend around a week in Viera, where he'll take

Nats to place Strasburg on DL, Detwiler progressing (updated)

The list of Nationals to hit the disabled list is growing. Stephen Strasburg will be placed on the DL with a strained lat muscle, Nats manager Davey Johnson said today. Strasburg had originally been scheduled to throw a bullpen session today, but those plans were scrapped. Strasburg merely played catch, but he didn't feel completely right, so the Nats will shut him down for now

Rendon makes first major league start at second base

The Nationals don't have to decide between playing Anthony Rendon or Steve Lombardozzi for tonight's game against the Mets. Both are in the lineup. Rendon, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse in yesterday's wave of roster shuffling, makes his first major league start at second base and bats sixth. Lombardozzi, who played second base and delivered a walk-off sac fly last night, shifts to left field and

Getting on the root of the problem

Want to see something funny? Take a look at the strike zone plot from Steve Lombardozzi's ninth-inning at-bat against Mets closer Bobby Parnell last night that resulted in the walk-off sac fly that gave the Nationals a 3-2 win. Of the nine pitches Lombardozzi saw, exactly one was in the strike zone. Lombardozzi - a guy who is one of the most disciplined hitters on

A rough start to the day, but an uplifting finish

All season, the Nationals have been searching for a spark, a big play, a dramatic win to turn the momentum and get things rolling downhill. Tonight, hours after they learned that three members of their opening day roster - Danny Espinosa, Henry Rodriguez and Zach Duke - had been shipped either to the disabled list or the waiver wire, the Nats rallied in the bottom

Nats come to life late, pick up 3-2 walk-off win

The Nationals made some changes to their roster earlier today. Their offense then changed its M.O. tonight, putting up two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and turning what could've been another frustrating loss into an uplifting 3-2 walk-off win. Trailing 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Nats got three straight hits to open the inning and set up Steve

Report: Suspension unlikely for Gonzalez in Biogenesis scandal (game update)

Dating back to the very early stages of spring training this year, the Nationals have said - both on and off the record - that they had confidence that Gio Gonzalez wasn't going to be disciplined by Major League Baseball for his involvement with Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in the Miami area that allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs to players. ESPN is reporting tonight that MLB

Strasburg could start Saturday, Detwiler progressing (and more)

It's fair to wonder whether all the roster moves the Nationals made today were made with the intention of shaking things up and giving the team a spark after a mediocre start to the season. According to general manager Mike Rizzo, that wasn't the case. "Well it wasn't for the jolt scenario, more so than getting guys here that gives us the best chance to

Notes and quotes on Rodriguez and Duke being designated, Krol coming up

We've discussed Danny Espinosa landing on the DL and Anthony Rendon getting called up and getting a shot at earning significant playing time at second base. Now let's talk about the other roster moves the Nationals made today - their decision to designate right-hander Henry Rodriguez and left-hander Zach Duke for assignment and call up left-handed reliever Ian Krol from Double-A Harrisburg. Rodriguez was originally

Discussing Espinosa's move to the DL and Rendon's opportunity at second base

Just a quiet little Tuesday at Nationals Park. Six players involved in roster moves, including three members of the Nats' opening day roster being shipped out, either to the disabled list or to the waiver wire. Jayson Werth has been activated off the DL today after missing the last 28 games with a strained right hamstring, but he's the least surprising part of all the

Espinosa, Rodriguez, Duke gone as part of shakeup (Nats lineup)

Davey Johnson promised changes, and change has come. Lots of change. Let's start with what we know for sure. Jayson Werth has been activated from the disabled list and is in tonight's lineup for the first of three games against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Anthony Rendon is also listed on the lineup card, meaning he's been recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, where he's

Harper third in National League All-Star voting

The first National League All-Star balloting figures have been released by Major League Baseball, and Bryce Harper is the Nationals' lone representative on the leaderboard to this point. Harper ranks third in the overall voting among NL players, and second among outfielders. The 20-year-old, who is currently on the disabled list with bursitis in his left knee, trails only Giants catcher Buster Posey and Braves

On Romero's departure and Storen's turnaround

When the Nationals show up to work this afternoon, they'll find themselves in a deeper hole in the division than when they left Atlanta on Sunday night. The Braves' win over the Pirates last night means the Nationals are now a full seven games back of Atlanta in the National League East. The deficit continues to grow and it's again found the deepest it's been

No more waiting on Werth

The weather fortunately didn't factor into yesterday's series finale between the Nationals and Braves, despite the ridiculously dark clouds that hung over top of Turner Field for much of the afternoon. It did factor into my attempts to get home last night, however. I didn't get in until after 2 a.m., thanks to a lengthy delay and issues at BWI upon our landing there, but

Karns on his second outing, Davis on his debut, Espinosa on his offense

ATLANTA - In both of the major league starts he's made to this point in his career, Nathan Karns has allowed three earned runs in just less than five innings. Last time out, pitching against the Orioles in his big league debut, Karns surrendered five hits, two home runs and two walks, and he struck out three over 4 1/3 innings. In today's 6-3 loss

LaRoche: "We deserve to be where we're at right now"

ATLANTA - With today's 6-3 loss to the Braves, the Nationals' record stands at 28-29. On June 2, the team many people picked to win the World Series has a sub-.500 record and sits a season-high 6 1/2 games back of the Braves in the National League East. "We deserve to be where we're at right now," Adam LaRoche said after today's loss. "We've played

Duke struggles, Davis doesn't (Nats lose 6-3)

ATLANTA - Zach Duke faced eight batters in relief of Nathan Karns this afternoon. Here's how those eight batters fared: RBI single, walk, fielder's choice, walk, walk, sacrifice bunt, intentional walk, two-run double. The Nationals trail 6-3 after six innings, after the Braves put up a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to open this game up a bit. The first run

Karns hanging in, Werth seeming ready, Espinosa not happy (Karns done)

ATLANTA - Nathan Karns has allowed six hits through his three innings of work thus far this afternoon and he's been working out of the stretch for the vast majority of his time on the mound. He's still managed to allow just three runs through three frames, however, and one of those runs was unearned. Karns, making just his second big league start, got Andrelton

Karns adjusting to big league life on and off the mound

ATLANTA - There are a lot of differences between life at Double-A and here in the majors. You stay at plush hotels in the big leagues, compared to Holiday Inns and motels at stops on minor league road trips. You have to pack and carry your bags in the minors, while your baseball bags are packed for you and your luggage is delivered to your

Harper admits he should have landed on DL more than a month ago

ATLANTA - Sitting on the bench watching his team play without him is an unfamiliar position for Bryce Harper. Harper is used to being on the field, sprinting around the bases, diving for balls and doing everything he can to help his team win. Now Harper finds himself on the 15-day disabled list after the bursitis in his left knee failed to clear up in

Espinosa at second, Moore in right vs. Braves

ATLANTA - Danny Espinosa, who is just 2-for-15 (.133) since returning to action Wednesday, is in the Nationals lineup this afternoon to face the pitcher who broke his wrist. Espinosa suffered the injury when he was hit by a Paul Maholm pitch earlier this season, and now the Nats second baseman faces the Braves veteran left-hander for the first time since. Tyler Moore is in

More reactions to the walk-off

ATLANTA - You can pass a share of the blame a number of different ways for last night's 2-1 Nationals loss to the Braves, if you're the blaming type. You can blame the Nationals hitters for scratching out just five hits and going 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. You can blame Ian Desmond, Roger Bernadina and Danny Espinosa for failing to get the go-ahead

Henry Rodriguez on his outing, plus a late Strasburg update

ATLANTA - The description of Stephen Strasburg's injury that Davey Johnson provided earlier today was a little vague, so we got an update on Strasburg's condition following tonight's game from Nationals head trainer Lee Kuntz. Kuntz clarified that an MRI earlier today revealed that Strasburg has a Grade 1 strain to his right lat, down low, near where the muscle meets the oblique. According to

Johnson discusses Nats' missed opportunities in 2-1, 10-inning loss

ATLANTA - Still wearing the baggy throwback Negro League jersey he and the Nationals donned during tonight's game, Davey Johnson looked like a man who was running out of answers while meeting with reporters after tonight's 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Braves. With the game tied in the top of the ninth inning, Johnson's Nats put two runners in scoring position with none out against

A golden opportunity blown, extras coming (Nats lose 2-1)

ATLANTA - It's not often you can get to put up a crooked number on Craig Kimbrel. The flame-throwing Braves closer has a career 1.54 ERA and makes some of the best hitters in baseball look like children in the batter's box. The Nats had a chance to take the lead off Kimbrel in the top of the ninth tonight, however, but they failed to

Gonzalez, Hudson locked in a duel (updated)

ATLANTA - Two of the National League East's top starters are duking it out here at Turner Field tonight, as Gio Gonzalez and Tim Hudson have both allowed just a single run and two hits through five innings. The Nationals and Braves are knotted 1-1 as we go to the top of the sixth. Gonzalez has five strikeouts to Hudson's two thus far, but Hudson

Johnson on Rendon at second base, Davis on his call-up (and more)

ATLANTA - Jayson Werth finds himself in Woodbridge, Va., again tonight, as he'll suit up for high Single-A Potomac for the third straight night as part of his rehab assignment. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said the plan is for Werth to play a full nine innings tonight, and if everything goes well, Werth would then rest tomorrow and be ready to return to the Nationals

Johnson discusses Strasburg's injury, Harper landing on DL

ATLANTA - A day after Stephen Strasburg left his outing against the Braves just two innings in, the Nationals have a bit more clarity on his injury, but the timetable surrounding when he'd be able to return is still uncertain. Manager Davey Johnson said that Strasburg underwent an MRI back in D.C. today, which revealed a slight strain in his back/side. The Nationals have not

Tonight's Nats, Braves lineups

ATLANTA - Davey Johnson is going with the same lineup from 1-8 in the batting order tonight, leaving Steve Lombardozzi in the No. 2 spot, Roger Bernadina in the No. 6 spot and Danny Espinosa hitting seventh. Lombardozzi will play left field for the second straight game while Bernadina will play right. Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.90 ERA) starts tonight for the Nats. Gonzalez is coming

Harper "likely" headed to DL, Davis coming up (roster move official)

ATLANTA - The list of Nationals players on the disabled list will probably be growing shortly, as Bryce Harper is "likely" heading to the DL with bursitis in his left knee, a team source confirmed. The Nationals will be bringing up right-handed reliever Erik Davis from Triple-A Syracuse to fill Harper's spot on the active roster and provide support to a bullpen that will likely

Leftovers from last night, plus roster and rotation speculation

ATLANTA - For those who might've been out enjoying their Friday night and didn't catch yesterday's series opener between the Nationals and Braves, you missed quite a bit of action at Turner Field. As we await the details of a roster move that will bring right-handed reliever Erik Davis to the big leagues for the first time in his career and likely force either Bryce

Right-hander Erik Davis joining Nationals

ATLANTA - This incredibly eventful night in Nationals land just won't end. Right-handed reliever Erik Davis, who has spent this season at Triple-A Syracuse, just tweeted that he's getting called up to the big leagues. At this late hour, I'm not confident that I'll be able to get confirmation on the particulars of the roster move, but I can tell you there were rumblings that

Hearing from Johnson, Stammen and Suzuki after Nats' thrilling 3-2 win

ATLANTA - This is why sports are so great. You look at the line score from tonight's game and see that the Nationals won 3-2 and might assume that it was a nice, quiet, uneventful ballgame. Uh, not exactly. The Nationals lost their ace to an injury after two innings; they had a reliever retire all 12 batters he faced; they had their leadoff hitter

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