Pedro Severino to play winter ball; Vladimir Guerrero tips cap to the Nationals

Salt River edged Surprise 2-1 on Monday in a pitchers’ duel between left-hander Ian Clarkin, a Yankees prospect, and right-hander Jeremy Gabryszwski, a Blue Jays farmhand. Clarkin allowed one run in four innings and Gabryszwski gave up one run in three frames. Nationals prospect Spencer Kieboom caught for four pitchers, who allowed only one run. The Rafters relievers combined for six innings of shutout ball, allowing only three hits, striking out four and walking one. Kieboom also went 1-for-4. Chris Bostick played second base and went 0-for-3.

Surprise returned the favor Tuesday in a 3-1 defeat of the Rafters. Drew Ward was the designated hitter, going 1-for-2 with a double and drawing one walk. He got caught off first base late in the game. Dakota Bacus pitched two shutout innings, allowing two hits, striking out one and walking one. Bacus threw 37 pitches and 20 for strikes, inducing three flyouts.

Salt River (3-2) returns to play tonight at Glendale.

As I mentioned earlier, right-hander Wirkin Estevez was added to the roster as a taxi squad pitcher. He will throw minimal innings, but it is important as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2012. Estevez did not pitch in the Nationals system in 2015.

* Chris Young, who twice went to spring training with the Nationals, went 4 2/3 innings in the Royals’ 14-2 shellacking of the Blue Jays yesterday. Young allowed two runs on three hits, striking out four and walking two. He tossed 78 pitches, 50 for strikes. He began the game emphatically, striking out Ben Revere, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the first inning. Kansas City now leads the American League Championship Series 3-1.

Nats Park day game.jpg* I have been told that catcher Pedro Severino will play winter league ball with Aguilas in the Dominican Republic. Severino was up with the Nationals for a month, but played in only two games. Nevertheless, his time with the Nationals catchers Wilson Ramos and Jose Lobaton, and working with the pitchers in the Nationals clubhouse, have been extremely valuable. His locker was also right next to Ramos’, so he was able to work closely with the veteran Venezuelan backstop for 35 days in the big leagues.

Severino hit .246 in 91 games for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators this season. He has caught baserunners at least 36 times each season since 2013.

Also, I will have a complete list of Nationals prospects who are playing winter ball and which teams they will play for coming up very soon, most likely by the end of the week, so stay tuned.

* Although the Franchise Four was released in July, former Expos power-hitting star Vladimir Guerrero thanked the Expos and the Nationals on his Twitter account recently.

Guerrero, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines were also voted to that list for the Expos/Nationals franchise. Ryan Zimmerman (the only current Nationals player), Dennis Martinez, Steve Rogers and Rusty Staub were on the original ballot

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