Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who's back in Washington after a 10-day trip scouting players for next week's First-Year Player Draft, met with reporters this morning to talk about the draft and the team. I'll have more on the draft in the coming days, but here are the highlights of what Rizzo had to say about the state of the team:
* Rizzo said it was hard being away from the team during much of the last two weeks, when the Nationals are 3-10. "You can be in contact with your staff via phone as much as you want, but you're not there. You're not in the trenches with the guys, especially when they need you," Rizzo said. "They need me there more when they're struggling than when they're doing well. It was difficult. ... When things are going well, it's easy for me not to be around. But when they're struggling, when they're frustrated, that's when they need leadership. It was frustrating for me not to be there to be hands-on."
* He echoed what manager Jim Riggleman has said several times this season, that the team's level of play is much better than its results. "Guys are going to reach their career norms. That's a big statement that I always make," Rizzo said. "We get Ryan (Zimmerman) back and hopefully (Adam) LaRoche back in the future. I think that's only going to improve us. We hit on a lot of goals. I like the way we're playing the games. I just don't like a lot of the outcomes, and I think that's been frustrating to the team."
* Asked if he had any issue with what Jayson Werth said at the end of last week's series in Milwaukee, when the right fielder called for some changes to the team without elaborating on what he meant, Rizzo said, "I wasn't there to hear it, and I just read what I read. So until I have a conversation with him, I don't have any comment."
* Rizzo said he wasn't worried yet that Adam LaRoche will have to have season-ending surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder. "I won't worry until I have to worry," Rizzo said. "Right now, he's on a two-week shutdown and a two-week ramp-up, so in three more weeks, I'll either worry or be happy. We'll see where he's at."
* The GM said he likes the setup Bryce Harper has at Single-A Hagerstown, "but I don't see him staying there for the entire season. He'll be moved at some time. We're just not at the point where he's ready to move yet."