Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nats at Mets - 3/15/11

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Mets host the Nats tonight at Digital Domain Park.
There are officially two weeks of spring training remaining. Fourteen days from now, the Nationals will be packing their bags and boarding a charter flight north in preparation for Opening Day. Which means it's time for everyone to start ratcheting things up a bit.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, both the Nats and Mets are fielding lineups tonight that feature almost entirely regulars (or at least guys who are going to make their respective Opening Day rosters). The Nats are going without a DH for the first time this spring and probably will continue having their pitchers hit the rest of the way whenever they're playing in NL parks.

Tom Gorzelanny gets the ball for only his second start of the spring, this one coming on the heels of a less-than-spectacular appearance last week. We've detailed here several times why Gorzelanny's spot in the Opening Day rotation is probably safe, but it would still be nice to see him actually do something on the mound to help solidify his standing.

UPDATE -- Turns out both Ryan Zimmerman and Ivan Rodriguez have been scratched from the lineup with injuries. Zimmerman has a groin strain; Jim Riggleman told reporters in Port St. Lucie the third baseman will miss at least five days, though he would be able to play if this was the regular season. Rodriguez strained a calf muscle during late-afternoon warm-ups and is likely to miss at least several days.

ANOTHER UPDATE -- Michael Morse also was a late scratch from the lineup due to an illness. Laynce Nix replaced him in left field.

Where: Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
TV/Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 73 degrees, Wind 9 mph RF to LF
RF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman Jerry Hairston
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse Laynce Nix
CF Rick Ankiel
C Ivan Rodriguez Jesus Flores
2B Danny Espinosa
P Tom Gorzelanny

SS Jose Reyes
2B Luis Castillo
CF Angel Pagan
3B David Wright
LF Jason Bay
1B Ike Davis
RF Willie Harris
C Josh Thole
P Chris Young


natsfan1a said...

Speaking of the Mets, I was recently catching up with DVR viewing and watched the 2/28 game for the first time. As it was the Mets broadcast team, the sideline interviews featured their players. Aside from liking the Nats win (yay!), I was also quite impressed with R.A. Dickey, who was one of the interviewees. Seems like a very bright and humble guy, and if memory serves, he paid his dues in the Independent Leagues. If only he weren't a Met, I could really root for the guy. :-)

Also, imo Ron Darling has really come into his own as a broadcaster after his humble Nats origins in that regard.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Nats rooting. Go, NATS!

natsfan1a said...

Eh, maybe memory didn't serve on the Independent League part, but I still kinda like the guy (even if he is a Met).

Doc said...

One last (well maybe not really the last) comment on sending The Kid to Hagerstown.

Ratzo and Wriggleman have underestimated The Kid's baseball learning curve, just like they have over-estimated Morgan's and Bernadina's baseball learning curve.

Anonymous said...

It should now be quite evident to the suits at C.S.N. that you, Mark, are MOST valuable covering the Nationals in Florida!

Miss the "good old days" of reading your real blog!

JD said...


So what's the problem? he will excel at Hagerstown and move on up until he gets to a place where he is fully challenged and if that's the majors so be it. Why do want to put him in a position to fail rather than set him up learn and succeed at every level?

The history of baseball is littered with can't miss prospects who were pushed too hard too fast and failed.

Original Nats Fan said...

Federal Baseball is reporting that Zim is scratched from tonight's game with a groin issue, may miss 4-5 daysand Pudge is out with a sore calf, so it's Hairston and J Flo instead
by the way, it wouldn't let me comment in Firefox, had to start IE

Mark'd said...

Original NatsFan, on the Zim scratch and missing a few more games on a groin strain is exactly the point Steve M. clearly made last week and caught a few tomatoes from the gallery but now his theory on his conditioning and stretching was proved right on point.

Just throwing in my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman apparently picked up a hot new girlfriend over the winter. That - rather than any lack of conditioning and stretching - may be at the root of his propensity for groin pulls now.

Knoxville Nat said...

So Doc, what exactly makes you smarter than Rizzo and Riggleman when it comes to evaluating "The Kid's" baseball learning curve?

Just what experience do you bring to the table to support your opinion?

Anonymous8 said...

I am watching MLB Tonight on the MLB Network and they just did the injury report. They say Zim will miss at least 5 games.

Sorry Anon@6:48, this isn't a laughing matter.

Sometimes people will make predictions that come true by coincidence and sometimes people make educated observations which comes true. Kudos to Steve M. for speaking his mind and speaking the truth. I wish it wasn't the case and luckily it is just Spring Training.

Doc said...

You're not wrong JD, it's just that Harper deserves to have his motivation challenged. He thinks that he can achieve in the Bigs, so do a few major league scouts, according to ESPN.

I'd go the middle route and start him at AA Harrisburg.

His parting shot to Rizzo and Riggleman was that he'll see them in July. Whatever happens, Harper probably knows the limit of his skills better than anyone.

When it's all sorted out, he will do what he has to do, and we'll soon see him do his thing in a Nats uniform.

TimDz said...

I think that Harper's "learning curve" may be more related to playing right field as opposed to his batting. I think Rizzo has said all along that they were going to go slow with the kid and not risk having him fail at a higher level.
I guess we can all second guess Rizzo, but he gets paid to make these decisions...

Noirelune said...

I think John Lannan will not begin the season with the Nats. He is not a Rizzo's man, and Rizzo will probably go with Detwiler and Gorzelany (whatever his name is).

Anonymous8 said...

Who is going to play centerfield in DC when this team is going to contend in 2013?

I saw Eury Perez look lost the other day in LF when he couldn't catch a popup which cost Henry Rodriguez in his debut.

I think Bryce Harper should learn CF and can adjust from there.

As far as where BHarper should start, probably Potomac and put up big numbers there and then move up to Harrisburg AA. ITS EASY TO MOVE UP AND NOT A GOOD THING TO GET DEMOTED. Err on the side of caution. I think the whole Hagerstown thing was due to Rizzo making that commitment months ago and he shouldn't have commited to that until he saw Harper play in ST. I think sending him to Hagerstown may feel more like punishment for a kid as many have said he could out perform many bench role players in the MLB right now.

I still hold out hope to see BHarper getting a September callup and permanently on the 25 man roster in June 2012.

Holden McGroin said...

Ya gotta admire Zimmerman. The guy even goes old school with his injuries. Groin pull. Heh.

Anonymous said...

I like the hot new girlfriend for Zim story best ...

but what is more alarming IS THE seeming serious BASEBALL INJURY to someone who really looks like he is ready to shine in the majors this year: Danny Espinosa! That's a huge injury right now given what the alternatives are at second. I guess they should/could go with Bixler or AGonz not sure they should put Hairston there. But we need to see what the nature of the injury!

Anonymous said...

Forget Harper, he'll be fine ... worry about Espinosa Doc!

sjm 308 said...

Very concerned about Espinosa - can only hope there are no broken bones in the foot - not a great day for our Nationals

guess I would rather have this happen two weeks away from opening day but Espinosa is worrisome, as well as Zimm.

JaneB said...

Sending prayers to Danny for a bruised but whole foot. Please, please. Oy. And why does Zimmerman keep getting hurt? In other news, they just pulled all the workers out of the nuclear reactor plant in Japan, so there is no one to manage that. Not a good night for news.

Anonymous said...

From NJ at the Post:
"Trainers instructed Espinosa not to put any weight on his right foot, and coaches carried him from the dugout to the trainer’s room. He iced his foot and, by the end of the night, was walking with only a slight hindrance to his gait."

It's thought to be a contusion, and precautionary X-rays will be taken tomorrow morning.

sjm 308 said...

whew (on Espinosa) Not so great about Japan, just to keep things in perspective.

Drew8 said...

Whew is right.

As for the roster -- this week's tantalizing news is in the coming attractions department. Young A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray are getting their first game action in the accelerated minor league camp.

I can't wait until we have a rockin' rotation headed by Strasburg, J. Zimm and Cole. Then, with the No. 6 pick in this year's draft the Nats can pick up another college fireballer -- Vandy's Sonny Gray, anyone?

Someday our long Nationals nightmare will be over -- and we'll be spared Lannan's slop.

Anonymous said...

Posted at 10:39 PM ET, 03/15/2011

Danny Espinosa day-to-day, will undergo precautionary X-ray
By Adam Kilgore

Danny Espinosa escaped any significant injury after fouling a pitch off his right foot, a scary moment that forced him to leave the game immediately, carried off the field by a pair of coaches. The Nationals consider Espinosa day-to-day with a contusion – “a bad bruise,” Manager Jim Riggleman said – and will receive precautionary X-rays Wednesday morning. By the time the game ended, Espinosa was walking gingerly around the clubhouse, but walking nonetheless.

“I’m not worried about it at all,” Espinosa said. “At first it hurt real bad. … If I had to play, I could play. There’s a still job to win, so I’m going to get back as fast as I can and do that.”

Of course, the second baseman job has already been won by Espinosa. He cemented himself during his call-up last September and has only enhanced his stock this spring. He has hit .324/.375/.541 with two doubles, two home runs and a handful of spectacular plays at second base. All of which is what made the moments after he fouled a pitch off his foot so harrowing.

Espinosa fell to his knees in the batter’s box after the ball drilled the very top of his foot, an unusual and acutely painful place for the ball to hit. “He hit it good,” Mets catcher Raul Chavez said. “I hope there’s nothing wrong. He hit it right in the foot.”

Manager Jim Riggleman came out of the dugout and told Espinosa, “That’s it. There’s no reason to push it.” Trainers instructed Espinosa not to put any weight on his right foot, and coaches carried him from the dugout to the trainer’s room. He iced his foot and, by the end of the night, was walking with only a slight hindrance to his gait.

Espinosa will sit out tomorrow’s game at least, Riggleman said, but “he feels like he could play tomorrow. The trainer feels like it’s just a bad bruise.”

Espinosa’s injury capped a rapid-fire day for injuries, all of which appear to be relatively minor. Ryan Zimmerman will sit at least five games, including today, with a groin injury. Ivan Rodriguez strained his left calf while warming up in the outfield. Michael Morse had an upset stomach after he took medication following a dental procedure. Only Morse will play Wednesday.

“I’ll tell you what,” Riggleman said. “We went from everything is great to all of a sudden four little things pretty quick. They’re all relatively – knock on wood – minor.”

By Adam Kilgore | 10:39 PM ET, 03/15/2011

Rabbit said...

Zimmerman will be out for months this year with injuries. I can sense in now.

NatsJack in Florida said...

As a seasoned observer of Spring Training for the past 38 years, I take no stock in any of the "minor" injuries that crop up until the last 10 games of Training Camp. That's when all seasoned veterans kick it into gear and ramp up for the marathon that is a ML Baseball season.

Zim and Pudge's current problems stem more from veteran's "I'm not ready to go full bore yet" syndrome than they do from any physical ailment.

Espinosa's incident last night is much more of a concern than Zim or any other veteran that hasn't been OBSERVED in an injury situation.

Thank goodness that Danny's seems to be minor.

The Joker said...

Zimmerman's got the sniffles. Better put him on the 15 day disabled.

Rabbit said...

Mark Z....I'm glad you jump-started my brain. I said I couldn't find your name at CSN. I think I was on the MASN site. But yes, there you were on CSN. Thanks. I do feel better now!

A DC Wonk said...

"Harper probably knows the limit of his skills better than anyone"

Ummm . . . despite how great he is, he's an 18 year old kid who hasn't faced the likes of Lincecum or Halliday or Jimenez very much. He probably *doesn't* know the limits of his skills right now.

"I think that Harper's "learning curve" may be more related to playing right field as opposed to his batting."

My understanding, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is that Harper still can't hit big league curves and off-speed stuff very well.

erocks33 said...

anyone want to take a look and see if Zim (or any other veteran on any other team) gets a "minor injury" at this time of year every year? You know, right around the same time as the first few days of March Madness? I know that if I could get away with it, I'd be "sick" or "hurt" this coming Thursday thru Sunday so that I could relax and watch all the games on TV. Not that I think our beloved Zim would do something like that, but I'd be interested to see if this kind of injury occurs more often than not at this time of year.

All kidding aside, this is the type of injury that ALL players get all season long. If it's the regular season, Zim (and most other players) would be starting and playing through it. Since it is just Spring Training, why risk any chance of aggravating it any more by playing on it? Isn't this THE most opportune time to rest any nagging injury?

Lighten up ...

Steve M. said...

I'm not posting to gloat or say I told you so about Zim's conditioning/stretching program but the same people who gave me a bunch of negativity last week on my comments on the subject seem to have shut up.

Zim will thankfully get over this and hopefully won't have any more problems but this is just added to the list of these same type of injuries when you aren't properly warmed up and stretched out. Hamstring, abs, groins, biceps, neck, and the list goes on. The Nats employ John Philbin as their Strength & Conditioning coordinator so I think there has to be more emphasis on conditioning and on stretching especially on colder temperature days when more muscle pulls happen.

Albert Pujols has talked about the conditioning he has taken alongside his weight training and has said it only gets harder with age. Heavy strength building when not done with proper flexibility training and conditioning can cause muscle pulls.

Right from the medical journal on avoiding muscle pulls:
How to Prevent a muscle pull? The basis of prevention comes down to two simple factors. A thorough warm-up and physical conditioning, ie: flexibility & strength.

Ryan Z said...

I hurt very, very much. I want my MaMa.

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