May 312012
 

Potomac picked up where it left off on Tuesday night with a run in the 5th and a run in the 7th and held on for a 5-3 win.

Paul Applebee got the win in relief, but continues to struggle with the long ball. It was just a solo shot, but the fifth the lefty has surrendered in just 27⅓ innings. Cameron Selik was shaky in the 9th, giving up a leadoff double and a walk before bearing down to get the next three batters out for his 7th save, the double coming around to score on a passed ball and a groundout to second.

In the second game, the score was 1-0. For baseball purists, that’s supposed to be something special. This was not.

Potomac wasted numerous chances on offense (eight runners left on) and was sloppy on defense (three errors), wasting the efforts of Trevor Holder (an unearned run on five hits and no walks over six innings).

This (the uneven offense, shaky defense) is particularly frustrating because the starters are, um, starting to show signs progress, with quality starts starting to come every other game instead of (seemingly) every other week. Against a younger, less experienced offense, Holder did precisely what a Carolina League veteran was supposed to: shut them down.

Even worse, is that this happened despite the presence of a major-leaguer on rehab. Likewise, Michael Morse did what you’d expect him to have done: collect a couple hits, including a double off the RF wall.

With the split, Potomac falls to 20-29 for the first half and still trails Lynchburg by 7½ in the Carolina League North division. Matt Swynenberg (3-3, 4.94) is set to pitch the series finale, opposed by Kyle Hendricks (1-5, 2.67).

May 312012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 2-1 @ Louisville,
7:05 p.m.
Maya (3-5, 3.36) vs.
Villarreal (2-1, 3.70)
Harrisburg Lost, 3-2;
Won, 5-2
vs. Portland,
10:30 a.m.
Demny (4-2, 4.11) vs.
Balcom-Miller (2-4, 5.25)
Potomac Won, 5-3;
Lost, 1-0
vs. Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Swynenberg (3-3, 4.94) vs.
Hendricks (1-5, 2.67)
Hagerstown Lost, 5-3 vs. Delmarva,
7:05 p.m.
Karns (2-0, 2.35) vs.
Rodriguez (1-1, 2.43)

Syracuse 2 Louisville 1
• Lannan (W, 4-5) 6IP, 5H, R, ER, 3BB, 3K, 0HR
• Pena (H, 2) 2IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Lehman (SV, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Negrych 2-4, 2B
• Hoffpauir 2-4, RBI
• Rivero 1-2, RBI

Carlos Rivero’s pinch-hit RBI single in the 7th was the difference as Syracuse edged Louisville, 2-1. Starter John Lannan turned in six strong innings, walking three and striking out three but allowing just the one run on five hits, none of which left the park. Jim Negrych and Jarrett Hoffpauir both went 2-for-4 to lead the Chiefs offense, which managed seven hits total. Pat Lehman pitched the ninth to earn his first AAA save.

Portland 3 Harrisburg 2 — GAME ONE
• Ballard (ND) 6IP, 5H, R, ER, 0BB, 2K, HR
• Davis (BS, 2; L, 4-2) 1IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 2K, HR
• Perez 3-3, R, 3SB
• Lozada 1-1, R, 2B, BB, RBI

Portland’s Billy Buckner (no relation) gave up two first-inning runs to Harrisburg, but stifled the Senators for the next six as the Sea Dogs won Game One, 3-2. Starter Mike Ballard was nearly as good, giving up just a run on a third-inning HR but got the no-decision when Erik Davis gave up the tying and go-ahead runs in the 7th. Eury Perez singled and stole second three times while Jose Lozada doubled, but the rest of the lineup went 0-for-18.

Harrisburg 5 Portland 2 — GAME TWO
• Tatusko 3IP, 2H, R, ER, 3BB, 3K
• Nelo (SV, 5) 1IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 2K
• Van Ostrand 2-3, R, RBI
• McConnell 1-3, R, 3B, 3RBI
• Perez 1-3, RBI, SB (17)

A five-run 4th broke up the string of nine scoreless innings as the Senators took the nightcap, 5-2. Chris McConnell struck the decisive blow with a three-run triple while newly signed Jimmy Van Ostrand singled twice to lead the seven-hit attack. Christian Garcia got the win in relief of spot starter Ryan Tatusko, who gave up a run over three innings. Hector Nelo got the save while (as usual) working around multiple baserunners. Prior to the doubleheader, RHP Rafael Martin was activated from the Temporary Inactive list and assigned from Syracuse to Harrisburg while 2B Jeff Kobernus was placed on the 7-Day DL, retroactive to May 24.

Potomac 5 Myrtle Beach 3 (Comp. of Susp. Gm.)
• Grace 4⅔ IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Applebee 3⅓ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, K, HR
• Selik (SV, 7)1IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, BB, K
• Ramirez 1-4, 2RBI
• Freitas 1-4, RBI
• Sanchez 1-3, 2R, 4SB

Myrtle Beach 1 Potomac 0 — GAME TWO
• Holder (L, 2-1) 6IP, 5R, 1R, 0ER, 0BB, 3K
• Wort 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Oduber 2-3, 2B
• Morse 2-3, 2B

Potomac finished what it started in Game One, but never got it going in Game Two of the “doubleheader” Last Night In Woodbridge.

Greensboro 5 Hagerstown 3
• Purke (L, 0-1) 5IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 5BB, 1K, HR
• Holt 3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Nieto 2-3, BB
• Goodwin 2-4, R, SB
• Souza 2-4, R

Matt Purke’s pro debut left much to be desired as the southpaw was rung up for five runs on seven hits and five walks in a 5-3 loss to Greensboro. The game, which was conveniently coincidentally was not broadcast by either team on the radio, was reportedly fraught with poor umpiring, according to a dispatch from MASN’s Byron Kerr. Brian Goodwin, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes, Adrian Nieto, and Steve Souza combined for six of nine Suns hits, but Hagerstown was woeful in the clutch: 2-for-11 with RISP and 10 LOB. To make room for Purke, who was assigned from the Potomac Nationals to Hagerstown, RHP Brian Dupra was placed on the 7-Day DL; RHPs Travis Henke and Pedro Encarnacion swapped places on the Suns and Doubleday rosters.

May 302012
 

It’s a hell of a way to lose a streak.

Matt Grace — win or lose, for better or worse — had gotten the “W” or “L” in every start until last night, which he began strong: retiring eight of the first nine batters he faced and picking off the first batter to get a hit off him to end the third.

This was big because Potomac had scored in the inning prior and old-time baseball folks will always tell you that not letting the other team answer in the next half inning is what a pitcher strives for.

For three straight innings, the P-Nats had scored a single run — posting a picket fence, another old-time term I’m trying to keep alive — but by the time J.P. Ramirez had knocked a grounder off the Pelican pitcher’s ankle for his 2nd, it was apparent that there would a race to end the game before the rains came.

For two batters in the top of the fifth, Grace looked like he was going to make it to the finish — a popup to short right that 2B Adrian Sanchez snagged despite the swirling winds, a grounder to third for the second out.

But baseball is a funny game, and wouldn’t you know, the ninth-place batter — .154-hitting Josh Richmond — singled to prolong the inning. The scorecard was already starting to get wet and when I looked up after penciling in _8, the downpour had begun. Odubel Herrera worked the count to 2-0, but wisely took his time and sure enough, the umpires halted play and eventually the game got called.

It’ll be continued tonight at 6:05 p.m. followed by a seven-inning game. Michael Morse, who drawn a first-inning walk, and struck out in the third (though his presence enabled Sanchez to steal second and third without much resistance, leading to the game’s second run) is expected to play again.

May 302012
 

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 6-2 @ Louisville,
7:05 p.m.
Lannan (3-5, 6.12) vs.
Tomko (0-5, 3.18)
Harrisburg Postponed vs. Portland,
6:00 p.m.
Tatusko (0-1, 9.00) and
Ballard (1-4, 3.31) vs.
Buckner (3-3, 3.28) and
Pimentel (1-1, 4.44)
Potomac Winning, 3-0
(Susp., Top 5th)
vs. Myrtle Beach,
6:05 p.m.
Holder (2-0, 6.20) vs.
Tepesch (3-3, 3.88)
Hagerstown Lost, 4-2 @ Greensboro,
10:45 a.m.
Purke (A- debut) vs.
Conley (5-1, 2.63)

Syracuse 6 Louisville 2
• Duke (W, 6-2) 6IP, 10H, R, ER, 0BB, 3K; 1-1, SAC
• Severino 2IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Teahen 2-5, 2R, 2B
• Carroll 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Hoffpaiur 2-2, RBI

Syracuse snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-2 win over Louisville. Zach Duke won his team-leading 6th game, helped by the defense that turned three DPs as he allowed one run on 10 hits over six innings. The Chiefs made the most of their offensive chances, going 3-for-6 with RISP and executing four sacrifices (two hits, two flyballs) while registering 11 hits. The Twins have offered back Rule 5 pick OF Erik Komatsu, who has been assigned to Syracuse. The move puts the Chiefs roster back to the limit of 25

HARRISBURG — PPD
Rain postponed last night’s contest in Harrisburg and will be made up tonight with a pair of seven-inning games. The Nationals signed Jimmy Van Ostrand from the Sugarland Skeeters of the Atlantic League and assigned him to Harrisburg, putting the Senators roster back to the full 25.

Potomac 3 Myrtle Beach 0 — Suspended, Top 5th, Two Outs
• Grace 4⅔ IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Ramirez 1-2, 2RBI
• Freitas 1-2, RBI

Potomac fell one batter short of beating the downpour Last Night In Woodbridge.

Greensboro 4 Hagerstown 2
• Hill (L, 4-4) 7IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 4K, HR
• Henke 1IP, 3H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Skole 1-3, BB
• Martinson 1-4, R, HR, 2RBI

Jason Martinson broke up the shutout bid with a two-run HR in the 9th, taking the edge off an abysmal offensive night for Hagerstown, which fell 4-2 to Greensboro. The Suns hitters managed just four hits on the night and drew just one walk as the Grasshopper pitchers were their master, striking them out 14 times. Starter Taylor Hill went a season-high seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks but gave up a two-run HR in the Greensboro’s three-run 5th. Byron Kerr is reporting that Matt Purke will make his regular-season debut this morning in Greensboro. No corresponding move has been announced, but readers of the maroon italics should be well aware that this development does not mean that a promotion for another pitcher is forthcoming.

May 292012
 

After hitting five HRs in five consecutive games, there was little doubt that recently promoted Syracuse Chiefs OF Corey Brown would be named the International League Player of the Week for period of May 21-27.

Brown played in just four games during the week, but went 9-for-19 with five runs scored, 4HR, two triples and 10RBI. He also currently has a six-game hit streak.

This is the first POTW honor for the Syracuse Chiefs this season.

May 292012
 

Ed. Note: This is Part 3 of Sean Hogan’s three-part series on the 2012 Nationals Draft. Parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here.

If they fall to #16, grab them up immediately
OF Byron Buxton (Appling County HS, GA) – Currently the #1 guy on my board. Very athletic, with great tools across the board (Keith Law rates both his speed and arm as an 80… an 80 arm is Ankiel/Harperesque). Buxton is one example of when you should NOT be scared off by the label of “toolsy.” Only an injury or an outrageous salary demand will drop him to the Nats.

RHP Mark Appel (Stanford University) – The draft is all about taking guys with the right tools and molding them into major league ballplayers, and Appel is the perfect example. He’s the safest option at #1 overall due to his projectability, but doesn’t necessarily have ace potential as it stands. Law says that he is more hittable than he should be, so he could be a minor project for an organization’s pitching coaches.

C Mike Zunino (University of Florida) – The best college bat on the market led the SEC in TB, H, R, 2B and HR last season. Did I mention he is a solid defensive catcher? His swing is currently a little too long, and he’s struggling in SEC play this season, but he should still be long gone before the Nats pick.

SS Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy HS) – You can dream on the glove (if he ends up at 3B) and the power. Correa is probably the biggest risk/reward type in the top half of the first round. I could really see him turning into a superstar, even more than Buxton, but at a greater risk.

OF Albert Almora (Mater Academy HS, FL) – Rapidly moving up lists with great intangibles, fielding and speed. Has decent pop and can likely hit consistently enough to become a five-tool player. Not your average “toolsy” player with a short and smooth swing.

RHP Kyle Zimmer (University of San Francisco) – In my opinion, has the greatest ceiling and floor out of the top tier pitchers. He’s got four solid pitches, but needs to improve his slider and changeup to make it to the MLB level. Inconsistent at times.

RHP Kevin Gausman (Louisiana State University) – Throws hardest out of the top college pitching prospects, but without great direction and lacks a breaking ball. Is it worth taking a guy like Gausman in the top 5 when there is a high chance he turns into a power reliever? Easily my least favorite of the top tier, although he is still a major pitching prospect.

RHP Lucas Giolito (Harvard-Westlake HS, CA) – Sitting out his senior season due to an elbow injury. Fastball is excellent; at 95 MPH, it gets good movement and pairs well with his all-around good command and secondary offerings. Injury concerns crushed his draft stock for now. If he can prove to be healthy and make an encore appearance in the next month, he could end up being taken in the 5-10 range.

Probably going to be off the board well before #16, but could drop
SS Deven Marrero (Arizona State University) – Cousin of Nats 1B Chris Marrero. Great defensive SS, but question marks surround his bat. Upside is a five-tool all-star SS. I think he’ll turn into an Alex Gonzalez type (albeit with a little better plate discipline). Rumors of a lack of effort are not what you want to see when you are looking at drafting a guy high in the first round. Looks like he won’t last past Pittsburgh at #8.

LHP Max Fried (Harvard-Westlake HS, CA) – Fastball isn’t crazy impressive (90-94 MPH) but curveball is excellent. Similar scouting report to Jack McGeary, and a sizeable amount of risk goes into drafting a soft-tossing HS lefty.

3B Stephen Piscotty (Stanford University) – Has good plate discipline and power potential, but lousy defense. Youkilis build isn’t for everybody, but can pay dividends at MLB level.

RHP Michael Wacha (Texas A&M University) – Fastball and changeup are good enough to survive without a solid breaking ball in the low minors, but he’ll have to scrap something to be a solid big-leaguer. Jonathan Mayo sees him as a Jon Garland-type of pitcher, which isn’t sexy, but is definitely worth grabbing in the top 10. Safest of the 1st-round RHSPs, but lowest upside.

Likely in the Nats’ range at #16
LHP Andrew Heaney (Oklahoma State University) – Low 90s heater pairs with slider/change up that can be decent MLB pitches, but limited upside — #3 starter at best.

RHP Marcus Stroman (Duke University) – The Nats took Stroman in the 18th round of the ’09 draft. At 5’8” he’s not much of a physical specimen, but he throws a hard fastball and power curveball. His command isn’t great, and he’s likely destined to become a reliever, but could rise to the big leagues faster than any other 2012 draftee. Talk of keeping him as a starter is intriguing, but people said the same thing about Drew Storen back in 2009.

3B Richie Shaffer (Clemson University) – Good raw power and defense, with bat speed praised by Keith Law. Upside is an above-average 3B, but likely reality is MLB average.

RHP Zach Eflin (Hagerty HS, FL) – Projectable righty with a good fastball and changeup. Lacks a solid breaking ball at the moment, but could be a #2/3 if he gets one.

SS/3B Addison Russell (Pace HS, FL) – Won’t hit for excellent average, but excellent defense and power. High risk.

1B Joey Gallo (Bishop Gorman HS, NV)
– Excellent power makes his other tools look lousy by comparison, but it’s really just his excellent power looking excellent. Could be a below average fielding but mashing 3B, but more likely to play 1B. Intriguing to say the least, and the Nats’ last Nevadan teenager draft pick worked out okay.

LHP Matt Smoral (Solon HS, Ohio) – Very tall and projectable, but small injury concerns (stress fracture in foot) can turn into big ones when you’re talking about giants (6’8” and 225 lbs). If healthy, he has ace potential, with a great fastball and slider. Raw, LHP version of Alex Meyer.

SS Gavin Cecchini (Barbe HS, LA) – Has 2 very solid tools in defense and ability to hit for average, but lack of power/plate discipline keep him from being an elite prospect.

RHP Lucas Sims (Brookwood HS, GA) – Does not have a violent delivery, which is music to my ears. Decent pitches across the board, middle of the rotation starter potential.

RHP Lance McCullers (Jesuit HS, FL) – The son of the former major league reliever Lance McCullers can dial it up to 97 MPH with a great slider and a lousy changeup. He’s bound for the bullpen, with only two pitches and mediocre control, but could quickly develop into an 8th- or 9th-inning guy. Higher upside than Stroman, but much worse floor.

OF David Dahl (Oak Mountain HS, AL) – A tick below Almora and Buxton across the board with a similarly high ceiling and low floor. Mike Trout comparisons are a bit premature (I’ve also seen Adam Jones) but I think his bat is the real deal.

3B Corey Seager (Northwest Cabarrus HS, NC) – a more well-rounded 3B prospect than Russell, but a downgrade in power and defense.

OF Courtney Hawkins (Carroll HS, TX) – Your average toolsy HS player. Hawkins has a great arm and power, but has a long, strikeout-prone swing and is doubtful to remain in CF as a pro. He’s the type of player the Nats have (in my opinion, correctly) stayed away from over the last few years.

May 292012
 

So far this season, a return to the Pfitz has been the cure for Potomac’s road woes but last night the home cooking had the same recipe: good pitching coupled with bad luck and worse hitting in a 3-2 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Robbie Ray’s third home start was the best of the three so far, and almost as good as his last time out in Wilmington. He went six and 2/3rds and gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. But he struck out just two versus eight, and still has not fanned a left-handed batter thus far this season. This is always troubling because southpaws are supposed to negate the other team’s lefties — especially when the lineup had five of them.

Of course, Ray’s counterpart was the Rangers’ #6 prospect Cody Buckel and the undersized righty lived up to his billing, flashing low-90s heat, a 12-6 curve that he reportedly learned from Barry Zito (sure looked like it) and devastating change.

Last time he pitched here (April 28), Potomac touched him for three runs in the second pass through the lineup, but the best that you could say is that they were able to make the 19-year-old work hard for his nine strikeouts, as they managed just three hits against him in six innings.

Ray gave up single runs in the 2nd, 4th, and the 7th. That last run was the most painful, not just because it was the margin of victory but because it came when it was obvious that Buckel was done and with the 4-5-6 men coming up, this was their chance to make some hay. Instead, the defense faltered again (the 4th inning run came after SS Zach Walters threw a bullet 5′ over Justin Bloxom’s glove) unable to snag a flyball to short RF for a leadoff double.

But Ray was not blameless, as it was his wild pitch that sent in the run with runners on 1st and 3rd and one out.

Potomac finally got on the board in the last of the 8th, as Justin Bloxom shattered his bat for broken-bat popup to CF that fell in for a single and Adrian Sanchez tripled him home. But as mentioned previously, luck was not on the Woodbridge Nine’s side as strikeout and a line drive back to the mound (for a 1-5 double play) ended the 8th.

J.P. Ramirez led off the 9th with nifty piece of place hitting, as the noticeably trimmer left-fielder legged out an opposite-field double. He showed off that newfound average speed to take third on a deep flyout to CF and slid home safe on ball that went off the Pelican pitcher’s glove that David Freitas lumbered to first for an infield single.

Francisco Soriano was called upon to pinch-run for Freitas and was promptly picked off 1st for the inning’s second out while Walters compounded his fielding miscue with his third strikeout to end the game.

The loss put Potomac back in the Carolina League North cellar, 8½ games behind division-leading Lynchburg and tied with Frederick. Matt Grace (2-6, 6.70) takes the hill for Game Two of the four-game series while the offense should get a badly needed jolt of energy with the addition of Michael Morse in the lineup on a rehab assignment.

May 292012
 
Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 4-3 @ Louisville,
11:05 a.m.
Duke (5-2, 4.25) vs.
Francis (2-5, 4.09)
Harrisburg Lost, 8-0 vs. Portland,
7:00 p.m.
Tatusko (0-1, 9.00) vs.
Buckner (3-3, 3.28)
Potomac Lost, 3-2 vs. Myrtle Beach,
7:05 p.m.
Grace (2-6, 6.70) vs.
Mendez (3-3, 4.08)
Hagerstown Won, 9-7 @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
Hill (4-3, 3.40) vs.
Brice (4-1, 4.35)

Louisville 4 Syracuse 3
• Atkins (L, 4-4) 5IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, BB, 6K, HR
• Pena 2IP, 1H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Paul 3-4, RBI
• Johnson 2-5, R

All seven runs came in the first three innings as the Bats ‘pen outdueled the Chiefs for a 4-3 win. Mitch Atkins went five innings but gave up all four runs in the first two innings, including a solo HR in the 2nd that proved to be the game-winner. Xavier Paul led the offense with a 3-for-4 game as Syracuse outhit Louisville 9-8 but left seven runners on.

Reading 8 Harrisburg 0
• Rosenbaum (L, 6-1) 6IP, 12H, 6R, 6ER, BB, 2K, HR
• Davis 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• King 2-3, 2B
• Valdez 2-4

Danny Rosenbaum got taken to the woodshed by Reading for his first loss of the season as Harrisburg was shut out, 8-0. Rosenbaum gave up six runs on 12 hits and a walk while striking out just two, his second straight start of three-plus runs allowed after a streak of six starts with none or one run allowed. Stephen King and Jesus Valdez combined for four of the seven hits the Senators could muster against Reading’s David Buchanan, who went the distance.

Myrtle Beach 3 Potomac 2
• Ray (L, 1-2) 6⅔ IP, 6H, 3R, 2ER, 2BB, 2K
• Holland 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Ramirez 2-3, R, 2B
• Sanchez 2-3, 3B, RBI

Robbie Ray turned in decent start, but it wasn’t enough Last Night In Woodbridge.

Hagerstown 9 Greensboro 7
• Meyer (W, 3-3) 5IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 3K
• Bates (H, 1) 3IP, H, 0R, BB, 3K
• Lucas ⅓ IP, 3H, 6R, 4ER, 2BB, 0K, HR(GS)
• Burns 2-5, R, 3RBI
• Martinson 2-5, 2R, 2B, 2RBI

A six-run 3rd by Hagerstown seemed like enough to coast to a win, but a six-run 9th by Greensboro proved otherwise as the Suns survived, 9-7. Bobby Lucas retired just one of the seven batters he faced, giving up a grand slam after a pair of walks and a single and getting chased after an error (his) and a double. Aaron Barrett struck out two but let in two while putting out the fire and earning his sixth save. Starter Alex Meyer evened his record at 3-3 with a run on five hits and two walks over five innings. Billy Burns and Jason Martinson both went 2-for-5 to lead the Suns 11-hit offense.

May 282012
 

No, I Said The White PhoneWith OF/PH Chad Tracy being placed on the 15-Day DL with a groin injury, the Washington Nationals have indeed made the move to recall Syracuse OF Corey Brown, as suggested in this morning’s news & notes. Yesterday, Brown was flown from upstate NY to Florida in anticipation of this development, which was also signaled by the activation of OF J.R. Higley from the Potomac DL and the placement of RHP Rafael Martin on the Temporary Inactive List.

Brown is currently riding a five-HRs-in-five-games HR streak and has been red-hot in the month of May, hanging a line of .359/.450/.772 including 9HR and 23 RBI in 24 games. He’s also stolen six bases in nine tries as the Chiefs leadoff batter and has two errors in 55 games on defense. This is his second stint with the parent club, the previous coming last September when he was hurt after just three pinch-hit appearances.

For those wondering why the more experienced Harrisburg OFs Jesus Valdez and Chris Rahl were bypassed, consider that two key Senators starters — Jeff Kobernus and Destin Hood — have been day-to-day with nagging injuries. It’s possible, if not probable, that one of those two will swap places with Higley once Hood is able to return to action, or perhaps even as soon as Martin is eligible to reactivated from the Temporary Inactive List on Wednesday.

Brown, who was acquired along with Rolaids dispenser RHP Henry Rodriguez in the December 2010 trade with Oakland for OF Josh Willingham, is expected to come off the bench. How long his stay in DC will depend on the parent club’s decisions to be made once OF-1B Michael Morse is deemed healthy enough to return to action for Washington. Morse is expected to play with Potomac this week on a rehab assignment and could be activated as soon as Friday, according to Nats Insider Mark Zuckerman.

UPDATE: The Harrisburg Senators have announced that OF Destin Hood has been placed on the 7-Day DL, retroactive to Friday, May 25, with no corresponding move. Both the Syracuse and Harrisburg rosters stand at 24, one short of the full 25. Stay tuned to this space if an additional move is made this afternoon.

UPDATE #2: Multiple online sources are reporting that Jhonatan Solano will be called up with 1B-LF Tyler Moore returning to Syracuse. As noted on Twitter last night, the presence of Solano on the 40-man and three catchers already on the Chiefs roster made this an unsurprising turn of events, not to mention the popular opinion that Moore was gathering dust on the bench as he was given more than two plate appearances just twice in 12 games and 19 overall in four weeks.

May 282012
 

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-1 @ Louisville,
4:05 p.m.
Atkins (4-3, 3.07) vs.
Obispo (0-0, 3.60)
Harrisburg Won, 6-5 vs. Reading,
6:00 p.m.
Rosenbaum (6-0, 0.99) vs.
Buchanan (1-5, 4.73)
Potomac Lost, 6-1 vs. Myrtle Beach,
6:05 p.m.
Ray (1-1, 8.15) vs.
Buckel (3-2, 1.33)
Hagerstown Won, 7-6 @ Greensboro,
7:00 p.m.
Meyer (2-3, 4.36) vs.
Lowell (3-1, 3.83)

Columbus 9 Syracuse 1
• Roark (L, 3-6) 3⅓ IP, 6H, 9R, 9ER, 6BB, 4K, HR
• Lehman 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Teahen 2-4, 2-2B, RBI
• Rivero 1-4, 2B

A five-run 3rd followed by a four-run 4th left little doubt that Columbus would win, 9-1, completing the three-game sweep. Tanner Roark’s scoreless inning streak was stopped at 16 full innings as the Clippers took advantage of the six walks he issued and connected for a three-run shot in the 3rd. The Chiefs managed just six hits, with Mark Teahen doubling twice and driving in the sole Syracuse run. The Chiefs head back out on the road four an eight-game stretch against Louisville and Indianapolis. Roster Moves: OF J.R. Higley was activated from the Potomac disabled list and assigned to Syracuse and got the start in CF (0-for-3), with RHP Rafael Martin assigned to the Temporary Inactive List. Corey Brown has reportedly been flown down to Miami to be activated if the Big Nats need him to replace Chad Tracy, who was hurt on Saturday afternoon. DC backstop Jesus Flores was lifted in the 7th inning last night in Atlanta with a hamstring injury but is not as likely to go on the DL, which means the Chiefs will probably continue to carry three catchers.

Harrisburg 6 Reading 5
• Mandel 6⅓ IP, 10H, 5R, 4ER, 0BB, 7K
• Frias (W, 2-3) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, K
• Nelo (SV, 4) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Valdez 3-4, 2R, 2B, 2HR, 3RBI
• Seabury 1-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• OF assists: Perez, HP; Rahl, 2B

Jesus Valdez and Beau Seabury combined for three HRs and six RBI as Harrisburg rallied from a 5-2 deficit for a 6-5 win over Reading. Starter Jeff Mandel was left in for for one batter too many, leaving in the 7th after a three-run triple, the 10th hit he gave up over six and a 1/3rd innings. Pat McCoy was able to strand the runner at third by striking out the first batter he faced and inducing a flyball to end the inning. Marcos Frias and Hector Nelo both flirted with disaster (two hits, a walk) but laid goose eggs for the win and save respectively.

Lynchburg 6 Potomac 1
• Olbrychowski 4IP, 3H, R, ER, 5BB, 5K
• Testa ⅓ IP, 0H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 0K, 2HBP, 2-1 IR-S
• Wort 1⅔ IP, H, 0R, 0BB, 3K, 3-3 IR-S
• Kelso 1-4, RBI
• Sanchez 1-3, R, 2B

The wheels came off in the 7th inning in Lynchburg as three relievers gave up five runs on four hits and two hit batsmen, turning a 1-1 pitcher’s duel into a 6-1 loss for Potomac, its 18th in 24 road games. Bobby Hansen Jr. was officially charged with the loss, but Joe Testa hitting two of three batters faced certainly didn’t help nor did an offensive output of just six hits and one walk. The P-Nats return home for four games against Myrtle Beach before a fourth series against the Hillcats this weekend (as previously reported, this year the Carolina League schedule is unbalanced on a per-half basis, with just six games against Wilmington and Carolina in the first half, 14 against the Pelicans, 12 vs. Lynchburg, and 11 vs. both the Dash and the Keys; only Salem is the “usual” 10 games per half — something that might affect the second-half playoff races, should the P-Nats mount their usual charge).

Hagerstown 7 Lakewood 6
• Dupra (W, 3-4) 5IP, 6H, 5R, 3ER, 0BB, 4K, 2HR
• Meza (H, 2) 3IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, BB, 5K
• Barrett (SV, 5) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Dykstra 3-4, R, 2B, SB
• Souza 3-5, R, 3B, 3RBI
• Goodwin 2-3, 2R, 2B, BB, RBI

A four-run fifth powered the Suns past the BlueClaws for a 7-6 win and a 5-1 series smackdown. Brian Dupra hasn’t shook the homer bug, giving up two — nos. 6 and 7, all given up in his last three starts — but got the win. Hagerstown pounded out twelve hits with Cutter Dykstra, Steve Souza and Brian Goodwin combining for eight of them while Matt Skole drew three more walk to push his league-leading total to 47 in 48 games. The Suns continue their road trip with a 500+ mile bus ride last night to Greensboro for a three-game series. Auburn shuffle: Prior to the game, RHP Brian Dupra was assigned from the Doubledays to the Suns, switching places with RHP Jason Smith