May 242011
 

As expected, the St. Louis Cardinals accepted December 2010 Rule 5 pick Brian Broderick back from the Nationals yesterday, ending his brief stint in the Nationals organization.

Broderick had been a surprise candidate to make the big club, despite his Rule 5 status, but his inexperience as a reliever and/or Jim Riggleman’s misuse of him led to disastrous results, with 16 hits and 9 runs surrendered in 11 appearances for an ERA of 6.57 and a WHIP of 1.541.

St. Louis immediately assigned him to Memphis, but his role with the AAA club remains to be determined, particularly with the coinciding move of sending down reliever Mitchell Boggs to be stretched back out as a reliever.

May 142011
 

The Nationals have announced that Brian Broderick has been designated for assignment, clearing the way for Cole Kimball to join the Washington Nationals.

Broderick was a Rule 5 pick last December and made the club out of spring training. He has struggled at the major-league level, allowing nine runs on 16 hits over 12⅓ innings in 11 appearances, posting 0-1 record with a 6.57 ERA.

Kimball has 0.00 ERA in 12 appearances, with eight hits and eight walks allowed over 13⅔ innings and 14 strikeouts. He had a 1-0 record with five saves before the move.

With the callup, the so-called 2006 Nationals draft shutout is officially over.

Mar 212011
 

With another two sold innings of work in a 7-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, Brian Broderick continues to make his case for sticking with the club.

The Rule 5 pick allowed two singles in the sixth, but got the key grounders when he needed them (four in total) and tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning to earn his fourth hold of the spring. His ERA is now 0.77 after seven appearances, totaling 10⅔ innings.

The win broke the Nats’ seven-game losing streak in a game that featured a bit of a beanball war after (guess who?) Nyjer Morgan collided with Albert Pujols. Former National Miguel Batista was ejected after hitting Ian Desmond with one out and nobody on in the top of the 7th, which prompted the benches to clear.

Former Potomac Nationals manager Trent Jewett prevented Morgan from reaching the infield during the scuffle, in which no punches were thrown, though he was pinch-hit for in the top of the 8th.

Danny Espinosa started the game and went 1-for-4 with 2 RBI while Wilson Ramos came off the bench to pinch-run for Ivan Rodriguez and caught the final three innings.

The Nationals return to Viera tomorrow afternoon to host the Astros. The game can be heard (Houston broadcast) online via MLB.com Gameday Audio.

Mar 192011
 

The good news is that the Nats appear to be in midseason form. The bad news is that season appears to be 2008.

Like Jordan Zimmermann yesterday, Jason Marquis came into the game on a string of good outings and had it cut sharply with a four-run first inning. He would be chased with two outs in the fourth, charged with six runs on nine hits and three walks. But also like yesterday, the bullpen was mostly effective after Tyler Clippard teetered out of the fourth with a walk-triple-strikeout sequence.

In terms of prospects…

  • Brian Broderick pitched another solid inning of relief, a 1-2-3 inning with three infield groundouts.
  • Danny Espinosa returned to the starting lineup and went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
  • Derek Norris followed Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
  • Matt Antonelli went 0-for-1 in the ninth as a pinch hitter, flying out to center.

The loss drops the Nats to 10-11 for the spring. They return to Viera for a MASN-televised game against the Tigers tomorrow afternoon.

Mar 192011
 

For the second time in as many days, the Nats starting pitcher was knocked around as the Nats lost 10-4 to St. Louis.

Jordan Zimmermann, who had come into the contest with a 0.00 ERA in three previous outing, gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks and did not strike out a batter. He also threw two wild pitches.

Zimmermann is still quite likely to make the cut, but Storen’s outing? Well, that’s a horse of a different color. For the fourth time in six appearances this spring, Storen was hit hard, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks. Three of the four hits went for extra bases, with two home runs and triple, and he also did not strike out a batter.

As mentioned in yesterday morning’s post, GM Mike Rizzo is pleased to have players with options. WaPo beat writer Adam Kilgore deftly points out that it’s possible for Storen to be sent down for just that reason.

What’s more likely is that Storen may no longer be the ninth-inning pitcher as the closer-by-committee has been mentioned lately. Strong performances by Sean Burnett and Collin Balester in yesterday’s game are helping to make the case.

Brian Broderick continues to make his case for sticking with the club, pitching another scoreless inning yesterday to lower his spring ERA to 0.93, and is starting to attract notice outside this space.

Other notable prospects…

  • Boomer Whiting made his first appearance, going 0-for-1 and snagging a flyball in the 9th
  • Derek Norris drew a walk and caught the last three innings, but was charged with a passed ball
  • Matt Antonelli went 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter and played the 9th inning at 2B without any defensive chances

The loss drops the Nats to 10-10 for the spring, as they return to Port St. Lucie this afternoon to play the Mets. The game will broadcast on the radio via 106.7FM and can be seen on MLB.tv

Mar 162011
 

With four injuries in less than five hours, it appears we’ve crossed the line from discussing who’s in shape to who’s hurt.

Prior to the game, Ryan Zimmerman (groin), Ivan Rodriguez (calf), Michael Morse (upset stomach), were pulled from the lineup in what would seem like quick succession thanks to the latest forms of communication. Morse is expected to play today while Zimmerman and Rodriguez are expected to be out longer.

During the game, Danny Espinosa went down after fouling a ball off the top of his right foot, setting the Natmosphere, um, atwitter with tweets about Espinosa being carried to the locker room “unable to put weight on his right leg.” Perhaps that pic above isn’t so inappropriate because first reports are often wrong, as this morning we now know that the injury is the more mundane “bad bruise that will require a precautionary X-ray.”

Prior to the injury, Espinosa had been 1-for-3 with a strikeout.

For the game itself, the Nationals lost to the Mets 5-2, the highlight being fifth-starter candidate Tom Gorzelanny’s four innings pitched, one run allowed on two hits and three walks and four strikeouts to make his case beyond “he’s out of options.”

Unfortunately, the same cannot be written about Craig Stammen and Henry Rodriguez.

Stammen was torched touched for three runs in his 1⅔ innings of work, allowing three hits and a walk with no strikeouts. Henry Rodriguez managed not to walk anybody but allowed a run on two hits in his one inning pitched.

Competing relievers Collin Balester and Brian Broderick made their cases, with Balester stranding two inherited runners while getting the final out of the sixth and Broderick allowing just a walk while pitching a scoreless eighth.

Other notable prospects…

  • Chris Marrero had an RBI single in his lone at-bat, but continues to impress with his improved defense.
  • Destin Hood went hitless in his lone at-bat as a pinch-hitter in the ninth for Broderick.
  • Derek Norris was 0-for-1 with a walk, catching the final two innings.

The Nationals play again this afternoon in Kissimmee against the Houston Astros, with Ross Detwiler expected to start.

Mar 132011
 

Former prospect Jordan Zimmermann threw five scoreless innings as the Nationals pitchers, save for one, stifled the Marlins for a 5-1 win on Sunday afternoon.

Danny Espinosa was the sole prospect to start, but was once again hitless in three at-bats with a strikeout. He was also hit by a pitch, taking a spun-away shot to the helmet but remained in the game. Wilson Ramos came off the bench but struck out in his only at-bat.

Other notable prospects…

  • Eury Perez was 0-for-1 and got two putouts in the bottom of the ninth.
  • Chris Marrero was caught looking in his lone at-bat and played three error-free innings at first base.
  • Brian Broderick came on in relief of Henry Rodriguez (more later) and pitched 1⅔ innings with no hits, walks or strikeouts.
  • Steve Lombardozzi played the last two innings at 2B and had an assist.
  • Cole Kimball pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with two flyouts and a groundout to second base.

As aforementioned, Rodriguez came on in relief of Zimmermann and had trouble finding the plate, walking three in ⅓ of an inning and was charged for the sole Marlin run. He threw 23 pitches during the outing, and 15 were balls. The velocity was there but the command was not, as the pitches off the plate were in the high 90s while the pitches over the plate were in the low 90s.

With the loss, the Nats improve to 10-5 for the Spring. They return to Viera to host the Tigers tomorrow afternoon, a game which will only be “seen” via MLB Gameday.

Mar 042011
 

Thanks to NatsNQ, we get a little vicarious visual while the rest of us are peering at the MLB.com GameDay app and our Twitter Feeds to follow the game today, which was a good one until the 9th inning when Atlanta broke open a 3-3 tie with three runs off Drew Storen to go up 6-3, eventually winning 6-4 over the Nationals.

As the headline suggests, what struck me today was the number of tweets mentioning Chris Marrero, who went 2-for-2 with a double to LF and an RBI single to RF, and praising him for more than just his bat. Put down your beverage before you spray your monitor…

Chris Marrero doesn’t look half bad at first base. He’s made a couple nice plays on unassisted grounders.

That’s MASN’s Ben Goessling, who also noted Marrero’s leaner/meaner physique by virtue of seeing a nutritionist this offseason. For the spring, Marrero is a perfect 4-for-4. Sure, it’s early, and it’s just a couple of games, but it’s good news nevertheless.

Other notable prospects…

  • Wilson Ramos got the start at catcher and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
  • Danny Espinosa started again at 2B and went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He also helped turn a 4-6-3 DP.
  • Bryce Harper came off the bench and went 0-for-1 with a strikeout. Defensively, he threw out a runner at 2B but also misplayed a ball during the 9th.
  • Brian Broderick was the first man out of the bullpen, throwing two scoreless innings and striking out two while allowing one hit.

With the loss, the Nats fall to 3-2 for the Grapefruit campaign and travel tomorrow to Tampa to face the New York Yankees.

Feb 282011
 

The Nationals #1 draft pick Bryce Harper made his 2011 Spring Training debut and as the pic and the headline says, twice the phenom went down on strikes — swinging at a breaking pitch in the dirt the first time on an 0-2 count and missing a 1-2 fastball in his second AB. He had come into the game as a pinch-runner for DH Matt Stairs.

The Washington Nationals won the game 9-3, highlighted by a pair of two-run home runs by Michael Morse in the 7th and 9th innings, both of which preceded Harper’s strikeouts.

Wilson Ramos got the start behind the plate and went 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored, while Danny Espinosa went 1-for-2 with HBP while playing 2B. No baserunners tried to steal against Ramos while Espinosa started a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning.

Other notable prospects…

  • Corey Brown replaced Nyjer Morgan in CF and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
  • Brian Broderick pitched the 6th inning and allowed one hit while striking out one.
  • Adam Carr finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning and also struck out one.

The two teams play each other tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. in Viera.