Sorry for the recent lack of postings; I was traveling all day, so I'm just now catching up with several newsworthy items that developed over the course of the afternoon and evening.
Let's run through them all in quick-fire fashion...
-- Jim Riggleman has been hired by the Giants as a special assignment scout. The former Nationals manager has long been close friends with San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy -- Bochy was Riggleman's third base coach in San Diego 20 years ago and succeeded him as manager -- so it seemed a logical landing spot. Riggleman was in San Diego this evening to meet with Bochy and Giants GM Brian Sabean and the three settled on this position in rather quick fashion. "I look forward to sitting down with Riggs and Brian and talking," Bochy told reporters before the hiring was made official. "It could be doing some scouting, it could be looking at our minor leagues, basically some consulting."
-- The Nationals granted J.C. Romero his unconditional release, ending any possibility of the veteran lefty joining their bullpen. The former Phillies reliever signed a minor-league contract with the Nats on June 29 and reported to Class AAA Syracuse. Romero posted a 1.29 ERA in five appearances, allowing one run and three hits with five strikeouts and a walk in seven innings, but his contract included an "out" clause if he wasn't promoted to the big leagues by now. Once the Nationals decided not to call him up, Romero asked for and was granted his release. He immediately signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees and will report to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
-- The club announced the signings of four draft picks: right-handers Taylor Hill (sixth round), Greg Holt (eighth round) and Dixon Anderson (ninth round), plus left-hander Nicholas Lee (18th round). The Nationals have now signed all of their draft picks from rounds 5-12, though they've yet to sign anyone drafted in the first four rounds. Most of those players are expected to wait until the Aug. 15 deadline before coming to terms.
-- Got back to town this evening and thought to myself: Man, what great weather. Not great enough, however, for Class A Potomac to play its doubleheader against Kinston. After getting washed out last night from a thunderstorm, the two teams were unable to play the makeup doubleheader tonight because of the continuing drainage problems at Pfitzner Stadium. That's 12 P-Nats home games now that have been postponed this season, and it's gotten to the point where Nationals GM Mike Rizzo felt the need to issue a statement. "The Washington Nationals would never consider asking our players, or those of our opponents, to play on a field that we believe represents a safety threat," Rizzo said. "The Nationals have repeatedly requested that dangerous field conditions be addressed under the supervision of Major League Baseball. Recent unsupervised work has resulted in a field that is even more dangerous. We regret any inconvenience this may cause to fans of the Potomac Nationals, but we know they join us in wanting only the best for our players."
-- Pitching probables for this weekend's series in Atlanta were announced. Livan Hernandez will face Tim Hudson in tomorrow night's opener. John Lannan, who was knocked out of his last outing after taking a line drive to his face, will start on schedule Saturday night against Tommy Hanson. Tom Gorzelanny faces All-Star Jair Jurrjens in Sunday's finale. That means Jason Marquis and Jordan Zimmmermann will start the first two games in Houston next week, though the order hasn't been announced yet.