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So long, Bert

Bert Sugar passed away over the weekend. He would have been 75 in June. Bert was better known as a boxing guy, largely because he was editor and publisher of both Boxing Illustrated and The Ring magazines. He was frequently seen as a ringside commentator at big-time bouts or as a talking head on documentaries about the sport. He played himself in the film "Rocky

A left-hander's name you should know

Mel Parnell passed away this week at the age of 89. Parnell didn't pitch for the Senators - he was a Red Sox left-hander from 1947-56 - but he absolutely dominated Washington in head-to-head matchups. In 33 career starts against the original Nats, he went 23-5, with a 2.92 ERA, his best numbers against any other American League club. Parnell pitched for Boston when Fenway

Harper must have seen it coming

When Bryce Harper arrived at the park last week and saw the No. 8 next to his name in the starting lineup, the thought may have crossed his mind that getting an opportunity to play center field halfway through the exhibition season was a tad unusual. Earlier reports that Jayson Werth would play center with Harper in right sounded reasonable. Werth had played the position

Bench battle

VIERA, Fla. - When Davey Johnson assumed the helm of the Nationals last June, one of the first things he asked for was a right-handed hitter "with hair on his chest." He wanted a guy off the bench who was a threat to go deep. What he got was Jonny Gomes, a power-hitting veteran who managed three home runs and 12 RBIs in 93 at-bats.

Lombardozzi's challenge

VIERA, Fla. - Steve Lombardozzi has his eyes on the prize. "I'm completely focused on breaking camp with this club," he said. "I'll do whatever they ask me to do." Lombardozzi, a true local product out of Atholton High School in Columbia, got a taste of the big leagues last September, getting into 13 games. A 19th-round pick in 2008, Lombardozzi had a steady climb

The hyphenated hurler

VIERA, Fla. - It was cutdown day at Space Coast Stadium today, as the Nationals cut down to 45 players in big league camp. As opposed to NFL camps, there was no playbook to turn in, just a gear bag to pack and carry down the street to the minor league clubhouse. For most, maybe all, of those given the word today, it was not

Nats lead Cardinals 5-4 (Nationals win 8-4)

VIERA, Fla. - Matt Purke entered the game in the fourth inning after right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was taken out by manager Davey Johnson. Zimmermann allowed four runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. The Nationals' offense brought their sticks against the Cardinals today, though. The Nationals lead the Cardinals 5-4 after an Ian Desmond single to right that scored Roger Bernadina. Jesus Flores provided

Don Mincher, Joe Sparma and the importance of headgear

Don Mincher passed away this week at his home in Huntsville, Ala., after a long illness. He was 73. Mincher was one of a handful of players to perform for both the original Senators and the expansion club, playing first base during the final year of both franchises in D.C. He came to Washington as part of the late 1960 spring training trade with the

An eye for a rule change? Not likely

In case you missed it, pitcher A.J. Burnett - recently traded from the Yankees to the Prates - injured himself in batting practice this past week. Burnett was practicing bunting - a skill required of National Lague pitchers - and fouled a ball into his face, fracturing the orbital bone around his right eye. Surgery was necessary, and Burnett will be out for 8-10 weeks.

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