Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Sealed with a kiss
PHOENIX -- Some thoughts to share on this Tuesday morning as you contemplate how the Nationals managed to blow last night's game in San Francisco and as I contemplate my upcoming flight home to D.C...
-- Turns out Bryce Harper's leg injury wasn't serious at all. After taking a fastball off his lower right leg in the first inning Sunday afternoon at Hagerstown, the kid was back in the lineup last night against Greensboro. And he promptly crushed his 14th homer of the season. And then as he was about to cross the plate, he blew a kiss to Greensboro pitcher Zachary Neal. Yes, he blew a kiss to the opposing pitcher. Don't believe me? Click on the above video from Comcast SportsNet and leave your comments below.
-- Speaking of big-name players in the minor leagues, Ryan Zimmerman took his rehab stint show to Potomac last night and went 2-for-3 with a double. So if you're keeping track of such things, Zim is now 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and a walk in two rehab games. It would appear his bat is perfectly ready to come off the DL. But that doesn't mean he's ready to return quite yet. Zimmerman's bigger issue right now is in the field. He admits he's still a little sore making
throws or reaching for balls hit well to his side. Look for him to continue the rehab tour for the rest of the week, then coming off the DL when the Nationals open a homestand next Tuesday.
-- A thought about Antony Rendon, who was passed over by the Pirates, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Orioles and Royals before the Nationals selected him sixth in last night's draft: Clearly there were some significant doubts about his shoulder injury. There's no way all five of those teams let him pass by unless they were seriously concerned. That said, I don't think it's such a big risk for the Nats to take him. Worst-case scenario, Rendon needs surgery. So he has the procedure and returns healthy to play next year, just like he would have anyway. Unless this is some career-threatening injury -- and I really doubt it is -- what's the harm?
-- A thought about all three of the Nats' first-day draft picks: All are represented by Scott Boras, who already represents Harper, Jayson Werth, Stephen Strasburg, Danny Espinosa, Ivan Rodriguez and several other Nationals players. Clearly, Mike Rizzo isn't scared off by the uber-agent. And clearly ownership is willing to fork over whatever it's going to cost to sign all three draftees. Is it healthy for one team to have so many of the sport's most powerful agent's clients? Probably not. But in the end, no one ever accused Boras of representing bad ballplayers. Just about all of his guys are big-time players.
-- The second round of the draft begins today, and if my sources are correct -- and they usually are -- the Nationals are giving strong consideration to using their next pick on Scott Boras. I mean, might as well put him in a uniform at this point, right?
-- Strange factoid: In the last week, the Nationals have scored at least four runs off Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum. They've also been shut out by Josh Collmenter and Joe Saunders.
-- All-Star rosters will be announced in 26 days, and there's no telling which National will be selected to represent the club here in Phoenix. Drew Storen looked like a strong candidate until the last week. Jason Marquis leads the team with six wins, but he really hasn't been the Nats' best starter. Jayson Werth is quietly starting to produce near his career norms, but he hasn't exactly lit the world on fire, either. Michael Morse has certainly played like an All-Star for the last three weeks or so, but he'd have to beat out a bunch of well-known first basemen to get the nod. So here's a crazy thought: What about Tyler Clippard? He's been pretty doggone good for most of the season, and he still makes batters swing and miss more than any other reliever in the majors. It would be an unconventional pick, but if the idea is to try to win the game, Bruce Bochy would have to like the idea of summoning Clippard from the bullpen to record some key outs late.
Posted by Mark Zuckerman at 7:00 AM