Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Today's non-Strasburg items

VIERA, Fla. -- Hard as it is to believe, there were developments today that did not involve Stephen Strasburg. Shocking, I know.

Anyways, here's a rundown of some other items of note...

In a camp full of struggling relievers, Walker tops the list. After getting pounded for five runs and six hits in his first appearance Saturday against the Mets, he was even worse today: six runs and eight hits allowed in 1 2/3 innings. His ERA is now 37.13 and he's allowed an unfathomable 47.25 hits per nine innings.

Rest assured, the veteran right-hander is not pleased with his performance.

"It's frustrating," he said. "It's easy to write the first one off. But when it's the second time out there and you get shellacked again, it's time to make adjustments and do them quickly."

Walker believes he may have a mechanical glitch that's causing him to leave the ball up in the zone. Basically, he tends to move his head to the left before letting go of the ball, and that forced his whole upper body to fly open too soon and throw off his release point. He's talked to pitching coach Steve McCatty about it and hopes to make some tweaks before it's too late.

"Obviously, it's ugly so far," he said. "It can't get worse than this. Gotta keep moving to get better."

In addition to hitting the ball well -- he's now 7-for-14 with nine RBI, three doubles, a homer and two stolen bases -- he's also looked surprisingly comfortable in the outfield. He made a nice catch in center field yesterday and today didn't appear to have any troubles in right field.

There's still a major question looming for Mike Rizzo: Keep Desmond on the roster as a utilityman, make him the starting shortstop over Cristian Guzman or send him to Syracuse to play every day? It's a fascinating question, and one that probably won't be determined until the final week of camp.

The left-hander hasn't gotten much press, but he's pitched well enough to deserve some positive ink. With two scoreless innings today, he's now thrown four scoreless this spring. The player Washington got from the Marlins in exchange for Nick Johnson isn't going to make the Opening Day rotation because there's too many other guys with more experience in the mix. But Thompson is making a nice impression and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the majors sometime later in 2010.


MurrayTheI said...

Great news Desmond and Thompson!

What's the deal with experience? Isn't the point of spring training to decide who is better. And the better players should make the team.

Unknown said...

Murray- I agree with you, but Riggleman likes players who have "paid their dues." This is what he said last year when he was playing Pete Orr instead of Desmond, and offered the same rhetoric when asked why Guzman was getting playing time despite his struggles while Desmond was on a hot streak. This is something that bothers me about Riggleman- you play the players that will help the team win. I don't care how many years a AAAA player like Orr has served in the minor leagues, play the best player. I don't care how much Guzman makes, play the best SS. If that's Desmond, then play him!!

HabsProf said...

Sasskuash: I agree with you in general, but I think you may be misinterpreting what Riggleman means by "paid his dues". I suspect he means the player is a known quantity. Given the level of experience and past performance, we know what we can expect out of a player like Orr or Guzman. Desmond is still a (relatively speaking) unknown quantity. Spring training is a small sample size and the conditions are not as competitive as the regular season.

Having said that, I am a big Desmond supporter. I think that based on his past performance, Guzman should be worried that he will be collecting his paycheque on the bench.

Anonymous said...

Mark: What's the deal with Juan Jaime? - He's the only 40-man roster player left with no appearances. Is he being overlooked, or is he dinged up?


Doc said...

Riggleman should be more concerned about the fans that have paid their tickets, not players who have paid their dues! Desmond is a keeper. Still think that their are fans in the stands that can easily allow 47 hits per 9 inninings and come a lot cheaper on payday!

SonnyG10 said...

I'm wondering how healthy Guzman is. He sure looked like he was protecting his throwing arm with those rainbow lops to first base.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else feel that Josh Willingham misplayed 3 different plays to left? None of which show as errors, but he had one lousy throw to 2nd, one rotten lousy path to the ball on what should have been a single, and a horrible jump on a line drive that he then just missed and it turned into a double. Walker was having a rough enough time, but Josh wasn't helping much.

nationals anthems said...

How'd Storen look? Did he even pitch?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Nationals anthems: No, Storen didn't pitch yesterday. He's slated to go today in Jupiter.

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