Some Sunday morning news and notes before the Nationals and Rockies wrap up their four-game series ...
* It didn’t lead to any actual runs scored for the Nationals, but there’s no denying Max Scherzer’s fifth-inning single Saturday served as something of a wakeup call for a slumbering offense and fired up the entire dugout.
The Nationals trailed the Rockies 2-1 and hadn’t found any way to escape the doldrums that had been present throughout the series. Then Scherzer lined a 1-2 pitch from Jon Gray to right field for a two-out single. And when Carlos Gonzalez unsuccessfully tried to throw him out at first base and skipped the ball all the way to the backstop, Scherzer hustled his way into second as the crowd and dugout went wild.
“Definitely, it’s funny to watch him out there,” center fielder Michael A. Taylor said. “He plays the game hard. We don’t want to see him get hurt, so maybe he shouldn’t be sliding and things like that. But he definitely takes pride in his offense and baserunning and things like that. He wants to win ballgames, so he plays both sides of the ball.”
Scherzer, who made headlines earlier in the week when he stole the first base of his career, was fired up after this particular play. After racing into second base, he looked back at Gonzalez in right field several times with something of a scowl on his face.
“I played with CarGo in Double-A,” said Scherzer, who along with Gonzalez came up in the Diamondbacks farm system. “I know he’s got a cannon out there. I stung a ball and I was kind of thinking: ‘Man, I know you’ve got a cannon. I’m running hard out of the box. Don’t throw me out at first.’ I know how good of an arm he has. I wasn’t taking that one for granted.”
Scherzer, by the way, is now batting .300 (3-for-10) with an RBI on the young season.
“In the National League, your at-bats matter,” he said. “Because any time you can get on base, it just turns that lineup over. The top of the lineup, that’s your best hitters. Get everybody kind of going. So anything I can do to help make the team go, you’ve got to do it. Whether it’s at the plate, bases, anything. Anytime you get on base, you have an opportunity to score. Anybody. Even though I don’t have the best speed in the world, hey, you can go out there and do some stuff.”
* The Nationals will find out this morning whether Brian Goodwin is ready to return to action four days after banging up his wrist making a diving attempt in left field. Goodwin initially was in Saturday’s lineup but was scratched about an hour before first pitch when the wrist acted up on him.
“We took him out of the lineup because he said he got sore taking swings in the cage,” manager Davey Martinez said. “I don’t want to chance it if he says he’s sore then. We’ll re-evaluate him tomorrow. He said after the game he felt better, so we’ll see where we’re at tomorrow.”
Goodwin hasn’t played since Wednesday against the Braves, leaving the Nationals short-handed in the outfield.
* Enny Romero’s tenure with the Nationals officially came to an end Saturday when the reliever was claimed off waivers by the Pirates.
Romero had been designated for assignment by the Nats on April 7 after a couple of ragged appearances to begin his season, that coming after a poor spring. The left-hander, who was out of options, will get a chance to right himself in the Pirates bullpen, joining another former Nats lefty who has blossomed into a star since moving to Pittsburgh: Felipe Vazquez.
Who’s Felipe Vazquez, you ask? You probably remember him as Felipe Rivero, who was dealt to the Pirates in July 2016 for Mark Melancon. Rivero, who saved 21 games and posted a 1.67 ERA in 73 games last season, changed his name last week at the advice of his sister.
* With Miguel Montero now limbo after being designated for assignment and Jhonatan Solano on the disabled list with bone spurs in his elbow, the Nationals were short on catching depth. They addressed that by signing journeyman Tuffy Gosewisch to a minor league contract.
Gosewisch, 34, has appeared in 137 big league games with the Diamondbacks and Mariners over the last five seasons and also has spent time in the Phillies and Blue Jays organizations. He’ll report to Triple-A Syracuse and join Spencer Kieboom and Alex Dunlap as the Chiefs catchers.
Gosewisch’s biggest claim to fame (besides his outstanding name)? He’s the second-most-famous alum of Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Ariz. The most-famous alum? You’re reading his work right now ... OK, maybe Tuffy’s a little more famous.