Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday workout wrap-up

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
2011 draft pick Matt Purke throws during his bullpen session today.
VIERA, Fla. -- Day 2 of formal workouts featured a host of prominent pitchers in the bullpen: Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler, Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Clippard and Brad Lidge chief among them.

A less-prominent name, though, who caught manager Davey Johnson's eye was reliever Ryan Mattheus, who was dialing things up a notch during his throwing session.

"One of the guys who was very impressive today, and I like him a lot, is Mattheus," Johnson said. "Mattheus was flat-out throwing the heck out of the ball. I had to tell him, I said: 'Take it easy.'"

Johnson asked Mattheus when he started throwing this winter, figuring the answer would be January. Mattheus replied: "No, December."

Perhaps the 28-year-old right-hander, sensing the competition he faces this spring to crack the Nationals' bullpen, is a bit extra motivated to put on a show here.

Mattheus pitched quite well as a rookie, posting a 2.81 ERA in 35 games. But he faces long odds to make the Opening Day roster, especially after the Nationals signed Brad Lidge to a one-year contract.

"They read the newspapers, too," Johnson said.

Another guy who drew attention in the bullpen today was Matt Purke, the third-round pick from TCU who has no realistic shot to make the club but is in camp because he signed a big-league contract last summer. The left-hander battled some shoulder issues last season and had an up-and-down month in the Arizona Fall League, but the Nationals like what they're seeing from him so far this spring.

"I liked his delivery," Johnson said. "I liked the way the ball came out of his hand. He looks good."

Purke won't see a lot of action in games this spring. Johnson said he might have him pitch in the March 2 exhibition opener against Georgetown University (stats from that game don't count as official spring training numbers) and perhaps an inning or two out of the bullpen once Grapefruit League play begins.

"I've got 10 starters ahead of him that I need to stretch out," Johnson said. "He'll get stretched out when he goes down [to the minors]."

Purke is one of 24 healthy pitchers in camp this spring, all but one who has already reported. Reliever Henry Rodriguez has yet to appear at the complex, though he was due to arrive from Venezuela today after tending to a personal matter at home.

With utilityman Mark DeRosa reporting this morning, only one position player has yet to arrive in Viera: outfielder Xavier Paul. Tomorrow is the official reporting date for position players.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Konichiwa, b******.

Waddu eye no said...

Timing is everything

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the rude intro. It was fun to type out, though. So about Matheus starting to throw in December, isnt there an issue of burning out in August? Otherwise, why not just start in Nov or Oct, or heck just keep pitching through from the end of last season. I guess someone like Matheus will worry about Aug-Sept later - he's more interested in making a good first impression.

Positively Half St. said...

Xavier Paul can stick out only by not showing up. Whoever he is, he has had his name mentioned a couple of days in a row.

+1/2St.

Gonat said...

We have never seen a team like this in NatsTown. 2005 was an older veteran squad. This is a younger squad with some young veterans.

Love the updates, please pass the cherry Kool-Aid.

natsfan1a said...

Exsqueeze me? Konichiwho, now?

Anonymous8 said...

"We love Ryan Zimmerman. He is a terrific player for us," Rizzo said. "We'd love for him to end his career here and to get him locked up long term. We are working hard on it and we have been working on it for a long time. ... When two people want something, we think we can get something done. But these are long, complicated deals that are worth a lot of money. You have to do what's right for the player and the franchise."

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Looks like it might be fun to delete, too.

And he tells me to spend more time in church?? Sheesh.

sm13 said...

Too many starters, too many relievers, too many middle infielders! Oh, have we got problems! I'm going back for another glass of MLB network Koolade.

NatsLady said...

Here is a story about Xavier Paul, for the curious.

http://www.nola.com/zephyrs/index.ssf/2012/02/slidell_graduate_xavier_paul_i.html

Anonymous8 said...

MLB.com: You were not able to acquire the center fielder. Are you satisfied with what you have now, or will you still go out and make a trade for a center fielder?

Rizzo: We are always open to make a trade in order to improve our ballclub for the long term. We feel we have good in-house options to play center field. We are going to be a vastly improved ballclub -- offensive and defensively. We feel comfortable that we are going to put a good product on the field.

NatsLady said...

MLB.com: Obvious question.
Rizzo: Stock answer.

I could have done that, without looking at my notes.

MicheleS said...

NatsLady..

Do you have access to the ESPN Insider? If so, is it worth it? I like Olney, but not sure what else you get

Anonymous said...

Ten starters to stretch out? Roster adjustments have to be coming.

NatsBrat said...

MLB Hot Stove, with Al Leiter & Co. tossed some wood into the cooker with the idea that SS should be stretched out over the season, 160 innings or otherwise, so he can be ready for possible post-season stuff.

All of them essentially made fun of the 160 inning concoction, as so they should.

Pleasac offered that if SS is shut down after the ersatz 160 innings, and and the team is poised to go into the playoffs, there will be a team rebellion, led by SS, to keep him pitching.

MLB.com said...

NatsLady, the Nationals certainly bolstered their young rotation, but questions still remain about the tablesetters, the guys at the top of the lineup. Do you have faith that Ian Desmond can do the job? And do you have any other options in case he can't.

Anonymous said...

Pleasac offered that if SS is shut down after the ersatz 160 innings, and and the team is poised to go into the playoffs, there will be a team rebellion, led by SS, to keep him pitching.

That's not going to happen. And its one major reason why Gio Gonzalez AND Edward Jackson were signed to contracts. If Detwiler does what he did last spring and last September they'll at least have 4 solid starters, 2 left-handed going into August and September. And there's others that might appear on the horizon for a call-up.

Anonymous said...

MLB.com said...

Do you have faith that Ian Desmond can do the job? And do you have any other options in case he can't.

Yes, Richard Justice we do and his name is Stephen Lombardozzi. You might have heard Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson throwing his name out this spring? The guy conservative Sickel's ranks as a B grade prospect? Yeah that guy. You can stop asking the redundant and ridiculous any time now.
Gerardo Parra he of the zero bat. Sheesh Phil, back to Frank Howard remembrances you and Antonen have no clue.

N. Cognito said...

Never heard of Pleasac?

Unkyd said...

@10:13.........: pay attention, and try not to step on the other kids jokes....

Anonymous8 said...

Lindsay Murphy on Fox 5 quoting Mike Rizzo "Signing Ryan Zimmerman is our top priority"

NatsLady said...

MicheleS--no, I don't have ESPN Insider. Would be curious if others here have invested, and if they think it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

Exsqueeze me? Konichiwho, now?

Konichiwa, buckaroo banzai.

Anonymous said...

MicheleS--no, I don't have ESPN Insider. Would be curious if others here have invested, and if they think it's worth it.

Mostly for Law, some Olney ... and Bowden (ugh but yes he does have useful info to impart from time-to-time), Stark, plus Karabell and then
they have rumors which aren't' any better than the mlbtraderumors.

Okay, I think it should be free ... ;)

Anonymous said...

@10:13.........: pay attention, and try not to step on the other kids jokes....

And I was thinking the joke was you Unkyd?

Anonymous said...

Mattheus is more the closer than Clipp and H-Rod. He's already proven that in Syracuse. Can't see him not making the 25 going north as the backup closer to Storen.

Gonat said...

For stats geeks

http://www.masnsports.com/phil_wood/2012/02/a-scoring-change.html

Whatsanattau said...

My take on Espn insider is that if you have disposable income you may find it useful, but it is not unique content. You do get the magazine with it but it's not great. My favorites are Olney and Bowden. Law is not a favorite and most of his outlandish comments get quoted elsewhere. I used hat money to help pay for BP Prospectus this year. Free high quality stuff at fan graphs, mlbtraderumors, and prosportsdaily.

sjm308 said...

Pretty much agree with others. I get "insider" because my spousal equivalent got me the magazine and it comes with that. Not sure I would spend extra. I like Jason Stark, Olney writes almost every day and while I am not a fan, I learn lots of names from Keith Law. I also think Bowden is a much better writer then GM but that is not saying much.

I really liked Mattheus last year and I guess with options he will be sent down but its such a good problem to have. The other key is Davey likes him.

Rabbit said...

If Zimmerman and the Nationals have been working "hard on it" for such a long time, you know it's about MONEY and not about the love they have for each other. If Zim signs, that will mean everyone will be satisfied with the cash and then you'll hear all about the "love" again. It is all just a business now. Period. GO NATIONALS!!!

Anonymous said...

It's frequently about money with me and the wife too. We tend to love the other a little more right after pay day. Just sayin ....

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Who was that lady I saw you with last payday?

Scooter said...

That was no lady, that was his wife!

(The classics must be respected.)

Scooter said...

((And yes, I'm disappointed in each and every one of you for leaving a straight line dangling for so long. What are we, savages?))

natsfan1a said...

(I was working, then I was out to lunch. And no, I'm not out to lunch all the time. But I can understand why you might think that. :-))

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