Apr 122011
 

The Harrisburg Senators have announced that Derek Norris will be placed on the disabled list, effective immediately. Taking his place on the roster will be Potomac National Brian Peacock. Devin Ivany will be the starting catcher in Game One of tonight’s doubleheader between Harrisburg and New Britain.

Watch for this space for further information as the ripple effect of transactions has not been located yet. The most likely scenario is that Sam Palace will be activated from the Hagerstown DL and sent to Potomac.

UPDATE
MiLB.com is reporting that Jeremy Mayo has been activated from XST (technically, assigned from the GCL Nationals to Potomac). It is not known whether he will have traveled to Woodbridge in time for tonight’s games.

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 172011
 

Four more Nationals were sent packing as Corey Brown, Cole Kimball, Chris Marrero, and Derek Norris were reassigned to minor-league camp today.

Unlike years past, none of these cuts were particularly surprising. Brown, even if he hadn’t been hurt, was unlikely to break camp with the big boys without the benefit of a trade or an injury. Syracuse is his most likely destination unless either the injury lingers or Rizzo opts for a more veteran OF in Syracuse and sends Brown to Harrisburg to play every day.

Kimball received a lot of favorable coverage from the beat writers, but the lack of AAA experience (i.e. none), command issues, and similar relievers without options (e.g. Henry Rodriguez) make this a smart move. Now the focus will be on whether he will supplant Adam Carr (possible) as the Chiefs’ closer or if the powers that be will decide to use both in both roles and let the production (or Knorr) dictate the usage.

Marrero is arguably the most pleasant spring surprise, and perhaps not even on offense. That’s a lot to say for someone that put up a .381/.435/.476 line, but it says more about how much he appears to have improved on defense. He’ll be the everyday first baseman at Syracuse.

Last but not least, Derek Norris was reassigned to Harrisburg, a move that whittles the number of players in the major-league camp to 38. Norris appeared in 11 games and batted .200 but also drew four walks for an impressive OBP of .368 and acquitted himself defensively. Norris could very well follow the development path that Espinosa had in 2010 and be in a position next Spring Training to be battling for a spot on the 25-man roster.

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 122011
 

Going into the bottom of the ninth, there was a good chance that a top prospect might end the game with a walkoff. After all, Bryce Harper was the third batter due. An error and a sacrifice, brought up the chosen one with a runner on third and one out. Three pitches later he was walking down the line, courtesy of an 0-2 fastball to the right tricep.

Alberto Gonzalez would be intentionally walked when he wouldn’t bite on the first two offerings. After the two managers changed the matchup, up came Derek Norris, who took a strike then blasted the next pitch to the warning track for a very long game-winning single and a 6-5 Nats win.

The knock made a winner out of Yunesky Maya, who pitched the final four innings, allowing just one unearned run on two hits and three walks. He also struck out three, the last coming on nice, sharp curve.

According to multiple tweets from the beat writers, Washington announced that Harper had been sent to minor-league camp, officially optioned to Hagerstown. That, of course, does not necessarily mean that that’s where he’ll start the regular season. Also sent down were Atahualpa Severino, Tim Wood and Ryan Mattheus.

Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos started the game at their usual positions, but both went hitless in three at-bats. Espinosa helped turn a double play while Ramos did not have any baserunners attempt a steal against him.

Chris Marrero drove the ball to the wall the opposite way (the first I’ve seen in a very long time) in his sole plate appearance for a double, the wind aiding it but not causing it. He was then pinch-run for by Destin Hood, who chased down a long foul fly to left to end the top of the ninth.

With the win, the Nats improve to 9-5 for the spring and return to Jupiter to face the Florida Marlins tomorrow afternoon. The game will be televised via MLB.tv and can be heard on MLB Gameday and XM Radio.

Mar 122011
 

A three-run outburst in the ninth made the score look respectable at 7-6, but the Nats were flat again in Viera last night. It’s a bit disturbing for fans of the big boys because last night’s lineup featured what will likely be very close to the Opening Day lineup, as they were missing only Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche from the eight position players.

But this is a site that focuses on the future, so let’s get to how the kids did…

  • Bryce Harper collected his fifth RBI of the spring with a ninth-inning single and was 1-for-2 on the night. He also committed the cardinal sin of getting thrown out at third for the third out on an infield single by Ryan Zimmerman.
  • Chris Marrero was 0-for-1 with a run scored, but struck out with the bases loaded to end the eighth.
  • Derek Norris was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. No baserunners tried to steal against him.

The loss drops the Nats to 8-5 for the Spring, as they host the Yankees this afternoon, another game which will be televised on MASN live and on tape delay on the MLB Network.

Mar 072011
 

Bryce Harper came to bat twice in the eighth inning and twice he delivered a double to right field as part of a nine-run eighth as the Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros 14-9 this afternoon.

The second double of the inning gave Harper his two RBI and extended the Nationals lead from 11-8 to 13-8. He would attempt to steal third with two outs on the very first pitch to the next batter, coming around to score after a wild pitch and Kevin Barker double. Harper is now batting .308 for the spring.

Other notable prospects…

  • Danny Espinosa once again got the start at second base and went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI and a strikeout.
  • Derek Norris struck out in his lone plate appearance.
  • Yunesky Maya started, but struggled in his 2⅔ innings, allowing a run on a home run (five hits total), walking one and striking out one.
  • Cole Kimball went 2 innings and allowed a hit but struck out three
  • Ryan Mattheus allowed a run on two hits while pitching the ninth inning. He struck out one.

With the win, the Nationals improve to 5-3 and travel to Port St. Lucie tomorrow to face a split-squad Mets team. Brian Broderick, Atahualpa Severino & Adam Carr are expected to pitch in relief.

Mar 012011
 

The beauty (and agony) of baseball is that every day is a new chance to forget yesterday. After striking out twice yesterday, Bryce Harper buried his inglorious two-K debut and served up an opposite-field single in his first at-bat today as the Nationals escaped a shaky 9th to beat the New York Mets, 5-3. Harper went 1-for-2 overall and fielded two doubles, the second of which was not fielded cleanly according to NatsNQ (via Twitter).

Danny Espinosa started again at second base, with Chris Marrero at first base, filling in for DH Adam LaRoche (shoulder soreness). Espinosa knocked in two with a two-run HR in the bottom of the Nats’ four-run fourth inning and laid down the tag on a strike-em-out-throw-em-out DP in the previous half-inning. Marrero singled twice in two at-bats out of the #9 hole and did not make an error.

Other notable prospects…

  • Corey Brown once again spelled Nyjer Morgan in CF, rapping an RBI single in the bottom of the 7th, but left the game after a collision at home plate while trying to score on an grounder to 1B by Harper.
  • Derek Norris replaced Ivan Rodriguez and went 1-for-2, popping to short in his first at-bat and singling to 3B in his second AB
  • Cole Kimball pitched a scoreless sixth inning, walking one and striking out one. The stadium’s radar gun was inoperative so no word on how hard he was throwing.

The Nationals remain in Viera tomorrow for an afternoon tilt against the Florida Marlins.

Feb 232011
 

Yes, I know you’re shocked, but the 18-year-old Bryce Harper, the #1 overall pick in the 2010 First Year Player draft, has topped the 2011 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects.

Joining Mr. Harper on the list are Danny Espinosa (#66), Derek Norris (#72),  and Wilson Ramos (#96).

Harper, who has had the Natmosphere atwitter since his arrival earlier this week, is expected to come off the bench in the first Spring Training game against the Mets this coming Monday, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson.

Last year, the Nationals planted three farmhands onto the Top 10o, with Stephen Strasburg (#2), Norris (#38), and Drew Storen (#92) in 2010 while in 2009, Jordan Zimmermann was the sole National on the list at #41 overall. Previous Top-100′s include Collin Balester (#95, 2007; #86, 2008), Ross Detwiler (#51, 2007), Chris Marrero (#27, 2008), Ryan Zimmerman (#15, 2006) and Mike Hinckley (#29, 2005).

Harper is expected by most to begin 2011 in Low-A Hagerstown; Norris is expected to be the backstop in AA Harrisburg; Espinosa is expected to be the team’s starting second baseman and Wilson Ramos is reportedly competing with the Nats’ 2006 Rule 5 pick Jesus Flores for the backup catcher’s job behind incumbent Pudge Rodriguez.