Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flores, Stammen optioned to Syracuse

Updated at 3:34 p.m.

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals optioned catcher Jesus Flores and right-hander Craig Stammen to Class AAA Syracuse this afternoon.

Flores thus loses the battle for the No. 2 catching job behind Ivan Rodriguez, who will start Opening Day. Wilson Ramos will make the club and likely ease into a starting role at some point.

Flores, who missed nearly two years with a shoulder injury, said he wasn't disappointed with the news but hoped he might crack the roster.

"I knew it was going to be a really good challenge for me to make the team," he said. "Because both of those guys, one is a legend and the other one is a good, young kid with great talent. But at the same time, I trust myself, because I know what I have done in the past and I know what I can do in the present and future. I'm going to keep trusting myself, going down to the minors, doing what I have to do and make the team again."

Flores, 26, started 143 games for the Nationals between 2007-09 and was hitting .301 as the club's everyday catcher in May 2009 when he took a foul ball off his shoulder that ultimately turned into a torn labrum.

After spending all of last years rehabbing, Flores is finally 100 percent healthy. The rust that built up over two lost seasons, though, was evident this spring. He hit just .125 (3-for-24) with one homer and three RBI in 15 games. Team officials would rather him play nearly every day at Syracuse and build up at-bats than sit on the bench in Washington and start only a few times a week.

"Of course, I want to play every day and not be that guy behind the other," he said. "I just want to be that guy from 2009 again."

Stammen, 27, was hoping to make the club as a long reliever but will apparently lose that job to either Chad Gaudin or Brian Broderick after allowing four earned runs in 8 2/3 innings this spring.

Manager Jim Riggleman said Stammen, who went 4-4 with a 5.13 ERA in 35 games (19 starts) last season, will likely pitch out of the rotation in Syracuse.


Will said...

I hope they give Stammen one last chance- and a real chance at that- to start. He's infinitely more invaluable as a starter, and his peripherals have always been solid in his time in the majors, he's just been unlucky. Hopefully, he can string together a few quality starts and get a promotion as soon as we trade Marquis and Livo in May or June.

Doc said...

I think, as you have opined Mark, that we will see Flores again this year. This is really sort of a continuation of his rehab program. Nats'fans hope that he does well in Syracuse.

I think that Flores has more power potential than Ramos,and because of experience may be better at calling a game. But Ramos has awesome potential in so many ways.

Stammen has been a good soldier, but the Nats would seem to have an over-supply of what he can do on a pitching mound.

PAY TO PLAY said...

Now it is rightfully down to Gaudin, Balester, Storen and Broderick.

Flores clearly wasn't making it which can put to rest the Pudge is getting traded rumors.

Steve M. said...

The Pudge trade rumors will start in earnest in July up to the trade deadline if JFlo is ready to assume the role.

No surprise at all on Stammen.

Carl in 309 said...

Getting ready to pop down to see the Nats tomorrow as they get closer to their 25-man roster. Though I would have enjoyed seeing Flores take the field and Stammen the mound, I'm ready to see something closer to our opening line-up both at Viera and Kissimmee.

Any late details about things at Viera for those of you in more regular attendance? I'm using my ST freebies for tomorrow night's game (alas, with 3 unused--couldn't talk anyone else into joining me), and then catching the Astros game on my way to the Orlando airport Saturday (a new FL ballpark for me).

Hope to see you before the game, Mark.

The Joker said...

It looks like the Nats will have eight man starting pitching rotations for Syracuse, Harrisburg, Potomac and Harrisburg.

Tim said...

I'd love to see Broderick and Balester stick, but it's a numbers/options left game. I'm hoping that HRodriquez goes on the DL since he's not ready yet. That would allow room for Balester who has seemed dominating at times.

Balester is also crazy-wild at times which can play to his advantage. (Can anyone sing, "Wild Thing"?) Just ask Tony LaRussa.

As far as CF, I don't like Nyger's attitude and approach, but either he or Bernie needs to be in CF, not Ankiel. Why do we even have Bernie if we're not going to use him?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Carl in 309... make sure you get there early for the 6:05 start. Traffic will be brutal getting in the North lot. If you are coming from the South try getting in the Season Ticket Lot. They are allowing approximately 250 general public cars to park there.

Then look me up in Section 111 just to the Nats dugout side of home plate.

Anonymous said...

Hey Carl, there are opportunities to donate tickets to the military in the area if you are so inclined. Did that numerous times at old RFK when the Nats first returned. They are VERY appreciative of the gesture not to mention the experience.

Theophilus said...

I hope the Cassandras on this list realize the Nats just cut two guys who are going to be back in the majors, this year probably, and with some other team if not the Nats. There've got to be a half dozen NL teams that would have a spot in their bullpen for Stammen if he were available. Brewers, Bucs, D-Backs, Mets, Astros, at least. Question is, whether the Nats are motivated to trade him, and what could they get in return.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Theophilus.... That is another area the Nats can deal from strength.... Stammen is a perfect example. And you are right... they both will be back in the Bigs this season.

Off to Lakeland to see if Broderick can do it again.

Carl in 309 said...

@NatsJack: will look for you in Sec. 111 (I'm somewhere up in the 200s) and I appreciate the advice on arriving early--I missed the two homers Strasburg gave up in his last ST game last year because I got caught in the insanity on I-95! And @Anon: happy to drop off tickets--but have no clue where to do that. Suggestions?

Notwithstanding the commentary earlier today on Zimm, I'm looking forward to seeing his form on Friday evening. And I wouldn't mind a little "electricity" given the Nats are hosting the Cards. Plus it'll be nice to thaw out a bit in the evening sun of Viera--given the chill I'm experiencing here in Silver Spring.

MJR said...

I have a real soft spot for JFlo given all that he's been through so I'm a little sad that he was optioned to Syracuse. But this is, as Doc says, essentially a continuation of his rehab and in his best interest to get as much playing time as he can. I really hope we hang onto him, though, and that he'll be back in DC sooner rather than later. All the best, Jesus!

Nats Lifer said...

Speaking of chill, long range forecast calling for a high in the mid-50s w/ 30% chance of sprinkles for Opening Day. Have those Nats jackets and sweatshirts handy!

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of chill, long range forecast calling for a high in the mid-50s w/ 30% chance of sprinkles for Opening Day."

Compared to the conditions on Opening Night 2008, that's downright tropical.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of chill, long range forecast calling for a high in the mid-50s w/ 30% chance of sprinkles for Opening Day. Have those Nats jackets and sweatshirts handy!

In DC or Atlanta? Hopefully Atlanta will be a tad warmer and not rainy?

JamesFan said...

Flores will be a great major league player. Hope we keep him. Stammen is too passive to pitch in the majors. Lacks fire in the belly.

sjm308 said...


we open at HOME! who cares what the weather in Atlanta is.

JaneB said...

mjr, I have the same soft spot for JFlo...say his debut and his first homer. I know it's just a matter of time before they come back up. I wonder who will can get for the pair of 'em, though?

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