Moore Goes Deep, Next Round Of Cuts Announced

Tyler Moore homered and doubled and drove in two runs to highlight an otherwise ugly 11-7 loss by the Nats to Detroit on Sunday afternoon. The 25-year-old, who has hit 62 home runs the past two seasons for Potomac and Harrisburg, respectively, is expected to play everyday for the Syracuse Chiefs, but remains in camp thanks in part to the injuries to Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche. Despite talk of him playing in the outfield during the offseason, he has appeared exclusively at 1B and DH, just as he has for the past four seasons in the minors.

Moore’s double came in the bottom of the ninth after Bryce Harper shook off four straight strikeouts for a two-out double. Harper split time on defense between right field and centerfield, but had no defensive chances. Harper’s whiffs came both looking and swinging, with starter Doug Fister (RHP) getting him twice, and relievers Duane Below (LHP) and Jose Ortega (RHP) getting him once apiece. As the parentheticals hint, it’s not just southpaws that are giving the 19-year-old problems; righthanders are figuring out how to work the offspeed stuff against him, too.

Steve Lombardozzi was the only other notable prospect to see time, going 1-for-2 while filling in at shortstop.

With an off day tomorrow, the Nationals are expected to* announced that Harper, Moore, and Jhonatan Solano have been optioned to AAA Syracuse. Joining them in the minor-league camp will be non-roster invitee Mark Teahen. Earlier today, the Nats signed veteran OF-1B Xavier Nady to a minor-league contract, a move no doubt predicated by the decision to hold Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse from game action for the next week. Outfielder Rick Ankiel, who has been nursing a sore hamstring, is expected to return to game action on Tuesday.*Yes, I was checking my Twitter feed while editing/writing

None of these moves are particularly surprising, including Harper. As noted last month, most of the competition for the Opening Day roster is for the bench, the ‘pen, and the No. 5 starter. It’s encouraging to see how well Lombardozzi is playing, but in my tendency towards pessimism (disclosure: I grew up in New England during the ’70s and ’80s), I still lean towards him going back to Syracuse so he can play everyday (and maintain his trade value).

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

9 thoughts on “Moore Goes Deep, Next Round Of Cuts Announced”

  1. so the starting outfield at least in the beginning of the year would seem to be Nady, Harper, and Brown. Moore should be at first. It will be interesting to see who plays cf since none of them is a true cf.

    1. It’s actually quite simple.
      Brown is a natural CF, and his defense there is quite highly regarded. So the OF (L-R) will be Nady, Brown, Harper.

      Then the IF from L-R: Rivero, Bynum/Johnson?, Hoffpauir?, Moore and Solano at C.

      I think Lombardozzi has worked his way onto the team. I’m just hoping he can work his way into the starting lineup at the expense of Desmond. But that’s another story…

    1. My guess is they will alternate CF with Brown and Harper. In Harrisburg we’ll likely see Perez and Curran.

      I think your “pessimism” is why they haven’t cut Blanco. It may be that Davey is lobbying to keep that platoon bat on his bench.

      I guess we’ll see how it all unfolds in the next 2 weeks or earlier.

  2. To be fair to Harper (words I never thought I’d utter), Fister really brought it yesterday. He looked great, particularly the first time through the lineup. Credit Harper’s first strikeout to the pitcher.

    1. I think Zuckerman nailed it in his writeup today: “Harper’s few opportunities to hit against quality pitching weren’t nearly as impressive. In the last week he went up against top Braves prospect Julio Teheran, Yankees flamethrower Michael Pineda, New York ace CC Sabathia and Tigers No. 2 starter Doug Fister. Harper’s total batting line against those four pitchers: 0-for-6, five strikeouts.”

      I’ve thought all along that his defense might be used as a pretext to sending him down, and still would not be surprised if they decide LF is his ultimate destination. Hope I’m wrong, because obviously Harper in CF would get the whiners to STFU about B.J. Upton, et al.

      1. Yep, I totally agree that he’s not not standing out in any positive way against good ML pitching. I’m just pointing out that Fister’s first time through the lineup was really tough on almost all of the Nats bats. And, ahem, take from that what you will.

  3. Also, I’m happy to report that we watched several pitchers (Grisz, Henke, Kreis, Mirowski, Barrett) working on bunting yesterday, and none bunted the ball into his orbital bone.

  4. There’s no question Harper should have been sent down for a varietyof reasons, but the fact that he struggled after coming back from an injury, doesn’t necessarily mean all that much. Aside from Zim and Flores, pretty well all the Nats have struggled offensively. Harper it seems is a notoriously slow starter, no matter what the level. Even at AA last year, after a very poor start, he started hitting and then was injured before he could make much impact.

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