Archive for the ‘ Spring Training 2010 ’ Category

Desmond to D.C.

As per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Ian Desmond will be the Opening Day shortstop for the Nationals, beating out veteran Christian Guzman:

“Desmond has had an exceptional spring,” Riggleman said. “And as we
look into the future, this is a guy that could play for us in 2010 and
’15. But for the year ’10, he is playing really good in Spring
Training, but he may not be playing well in May, so Guzman may be our
shortstop. But to open the season, we’ll give Desi a shot to hold that
position down. We hope that works. If it does, then Guzzie has to be
able to play some other positions.”
The Nats are likely to rotate Desmond, Guzman and Adam Kennedy in the middle infield.  Eric Bruntlett, a non-roster invitee who has played well this spring, still is a possibility as a utility player in the nation’s capital as well.
That leaves the Chiefs with some combination of Bruntlett, Seth Bynum, Pete Orr and Alberto Gonzalez (who has hit the cover off the ball this spring) in terms of utility infielder-types.
 

Maxwell optioned to Chiefs

Outfielder Justin Maxwell was optioned to Syracuse this morning and will begin the 2010 season with the AAA-Syracuse Chiefs.

Maxwell, 26, played most of the 2009 season with Syracuse and batted .242 with 13 HR’s and 42 RBI in 384 at bats. He also stole 35 bases in 43 attempts.  He played for the Nationals on three different occasions during the season batting. 247 with 4 HR’s and 9 RBI in 89 at bats.

The Nationals will hope that Maxwell will dominate AAA pitching in 2010 and rejoin the team for good by mid-season for a final time.

Maxwell joins Jerry Owens, Leonard Davis, Chris Duncan, Mike Daniel and Kevin Mench (still in major league camp) in a crowded Chiefs outfield.

Roster decisions coming for Nats & Chiefs

With one week until the start of the 2010 baseball season the Washington Nationals will need to decide who they will take north to DC in the next few days.

Here is our take on the competition:

Pitching:  John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Garrett Mock have been announced as three members of the rotation.  Craig Stamman has been very good this spring while Livian Hernandez has been okay as well.  the skinny:   Scott Olsen who is coming back from an injury pitches on Sunday. Stamman or Olsen could start in Syracuse or the Nats could release the veteran Hernandez.

Bullpen:  Matt Capps is the closer with Brian Bruney the 8th inning guy.  Sean Burnett, the lone lefty in the pen and Tyler Clippard will face lefties.  Miguel Batista works as a long man and sometime starter and Jason Bergmann has pitched will enough to provide innings.

Catching:  It’s Pudge Rordriquez and Will Nieves with Jesus Flores starting the season on the disabled list.

Infielders:  Adam Dunn plays !B, Adam Kennedy is at 2B, Ryan Zimmerman is the 3B.  Christain Guzman appears to have proven he can throw and will begin the season as the shortstop.  Alberto Gonzalez has hit well enough to be a capable back-up at three infield positions.  Mike Morse can play 3B, 1B and the outfield.

The skinny:  Ian Desmond returns to Syracuse to play everyday at shortstop.  Eric Bruntlett could stick as utility man.

Outfielders:  Josh Willingham is in LF, Nyger Morgan in CF, Willie Harris and Willy Taveras look to platoon RF, while Roger Bernadina has hit enough to provide the team with defense and speed off the bench.

The skinny:  Bernadina has a leg up on Justin Maxwell for the last spot on the roster.

That’s 24 names we see on the team.  The dilemma is do the Nats take 11 or 12 pitchers north.  A 12th pitcher Tyler Walker, who has pitched well lately could happen.  If not they need to add another infielder/outfielder.  Eric Bruntlett has played well all spring and can play both the infield and outfield. Justin Maxwell did not hit enough in spring but can run and is an excellent defensive player.  The skinny:  The Nats keep Bruntlett and option Walker and Maxwell to Syracuse.

If all this happens what’s in store for the Chiefs.  Check back with us a little later on for the Chiefs part of the puzzle.
 

Spring Training Bracketology – Pitching

With two weeks gone in spring training 2010 the Washington Nationals roster is beginning to take shape.  In the spirit of the NCAA field of 65 announcement today we thought we would look at where the Nationals might be with their major league and minor league pitching staffs at this point.

Major League starting rotation:  John Lannan and Jason Marquis are locks, while Scott Olsen should be penciled in as the third starter.  Craig Stammen coming off late season surgery is good enough for the fourth spot with veterans Livian Hernandez and Miguel Batista are fighting for the 5th spot – that won’t be needed until April 19th due to off days.

Major League bullpen:  Matt Capps and Brian Bruney are the back end, while Tyler Clippard and lefty Sean Burnett will pitch early.  That leaves Jason Bergmann, who is out of options, and Tyler Walker, who has been hit hard to date to fill out the staff.    Batista could be used as well early of if he doesn’t make the rotation.  Lefty Ron Villone, a non-roster player and now 41 years old would give them a second lefty out of the pen but right now is the 13 pitcher on a 12 or 11 man staff. 

AAA-Syracuse Staff:  A good deal of this staff depends on the health and decisions made with Olsen, Batista and Hernandez, but the Chiefs appear loaded no matter what happens.

J.D. Martin, Garrett Mock, Shairon Martis, veteran lefties Matt Chico, Chuck James, Andrew Kown, Collin Balester, Luis Atilano and Aaron Thompson give the team a wealth of depth to choose from.  In addtion, where does Stephen Strasburg begin his baseball career?

Bullpen includes:  Six lefthanded pitchers are competing for two maybe three spots and include Doug Slaten, Victor Garate, Jesse English – all picked up in the off season, while Nationals prospects Attie Severino, Yunior Novoa and Jack Spradlin return.

From the righthanded side of the bullpen the guy drafted after Stephen Strasburg – Drew Storen has been fantastic in spring training and could begin the season in Washington, but most likley will start in Syracuse with veterans Logan Kensing, Ryan Speier, Joel Peralta, Rafael Martin and Nationals prospect Josh Wilkie giving the Chiefs quality to choose from.  The Nats could even move Collin Balester or Luis Atilano to the bullpen – similar to the last seasons experiment with Tyler Clippard that payed off nicely.

That’s 22 names for 12 roster spots – pitching in 2010 looks very strong.

And we haven’t even talked about these guys……

Jeff Mandel 12-6   3.38 ERA – AA/A last season

Eric Arnesen 12-7   3.52 ERA AA/A last season

Brad Meyers  11-3  1.72 ERA AA/A last season

Marcos Frias  9-5  2.91 ERA Single A last season

AJ Morris  0-4  3.38  ERA in Single A last season

Tom Millone  12-5  2.91 ERA in Single A last season

Willie Atwood  8-8  4.61 ERA in Single A last season

These pitchers will likely play in AA this season and earn AAA promotions at some point during the 2010 season.

Pitching is strong in this organization and it’s all coming very fast through Central New York this summer.

Rocket, Jimy and the berm…

Thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon in Florida as we closed out the Spring Training tour by watching the Mets take on the Braves on their home turf at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney.

Before the game, we were able to touch base with former Blue Jays manager, Jimy Williams, who is now serving as a special instructor for the Atlanta Braves minor league system. 
Also had the pleasure of talking to former Chiefs player and coach, Rocket Wheeler, who is now managing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the South Atlantic League–the Atlanta Braves Single-A affiliate. After spending his first 24 years in the Blue Jays organization, Rocket has spent the past eight with the Braves.
One of the special features of Champions Stadium in Disney, is the entertaining berm that stretches down the left field line, around the foul pole and ends at mid-left centerfield. It was so inviting that Jason Benetti and myself decided to file our video blog which you will be able to see on Thursday morning.
–New York Mets shortstop and former Chief, Russ Adams, continues to make his case to make the Mets team as a non-roster players. Adams stroked 3 hits and 3 RBI’s against the Braves this afternoon.
–Down the road in Jupiter, the Nats become 0-8 as Garrett Mock and JD Martin surrendered two runs a piece in a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals.
–Justin Maxwell recorded his first hit of the spring, which happened to be a solo home run off of Mitch Boggs in the 8th inning.
–Hall of Fame broadcast announcer, Milo Hamilton, made an appearance at Disney’s ESPN Club on Thursday and was quite entertaining. 

Even Van Gundy was on hand

The first appearance by Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was greeted by over 5000 Florida visitors, Mark Lerner, the team’s principal owner, MASN Television crew that included Bob Carpenter and Rob Dibble and former Knicks and Houston Rockets basketball coach Jeff Van Gundy who sat behind home plate with an Orlando Magic hat on.

Strasburg was worth the price of admission, even if it was only two innings and 27 pitches.  He will pitch in the major leagues some day, just what day got closer than a lot of people thought going in.
Nats lost again, and righthanded pitcher Tyler Walker has pitched his way to AAA-Syracuse roster with his second 6-run appearance.  Aaron Thompson tossed two shutout innings of relief and has looked very good in his first two appearances.
Nats hitting came to life in the 8th inning when they scored four runs and had the tying run on deck before Josh Whitesell popped up to centerfield to end the rally.  Nats lost their 7th straight, 9-4.
–Chiefs COO/Vice President Tex Simone was seen talking to Tigers manager Jim Leyland, 3rd base coach Gene Lamont before the game.  Leyland and Lamont were teammates in 1965 with the Tigers when Tex was the team’s trainer.  
–Tex had a busy day when he also ran into another former Tigers and Chiefs catcher John Sullivan who was visiting from western New York where he still resides.
–And the day ended when Tex hit the trifecta when he was seen talking to Braves manager and longtime friend Bobby Cox in the Braves dugout before the Phillies vs Braves game in Orlando.
–Former Chiefs outfielder Jayson Werth hit an opposite field bomb vs the Braves in the 2nd inning.  Werth is sporting an unusual long beard and hair style.
–Two local “graphers” reported that today they were able to secure signatures from Ivan Rodriquez, Drew Storen, Ryan Howard and Braves super prospect Jason Heyward. In the “graphing world”  that’s pretty good.
Last stop on the tour will be at the Braves minor league camp to catch up with former Chief Rocket Wheeler.

Thank God it’s early!!!!

Spent the afternoon at Space Coast Stadium on Monday as the Nationals lost again 11-2 to the Florida Marlins.  Nats pitching has been giving up runs at an unbelievable pace – 64 runs in their first 50 innings of work.

Today, Scott Olsen made his first start of the spring and gave up three runs in the first inning and was hit hard and often giving up 7-hits in two innings of work.  Collin Balester pitched into the 5th inning but he too was torched for 4-runs and 7-hits before he gave way to lefty Jesse English.
The Nats tallied only six hits, and had solo home runs by Josh Willingham in the 2nd and Ryan Zimmerman in the 6th for their only runs.  Pete Orr played second base and made a fine defensive play in the first to save a run.
Tomorrow, the Nationals take on the Detroit Tigers at Space Coast Stadium as “The Franchise” Stephen Strasburg makes his spring debut,  The game will be televised on MLB Network – Channel 100 for you Time Warner Cable fans.
Chiefs radio voice Jason Benetti arrived in Viera today and is ready to provide interviews, and his take on spring training 2010.

Morse shines in slugfest with Mets

Mike Morse hit his first home of the spring in the 6th inning that tied the game today against the New York Mets in Viera, Fl as the Nationals opened their spring scheduled at home.

Acquired from the Seattle Mariners last July for outfielder Ryan Langerhans, the former number one selection is proving that he can provide the Nationals with a solid bat off the bench this season.
The Nationals eventually lost again to the Mets 14-6 after giving up 9-runs in the final three innings, but there were some bright spots;
–infielder Eric Bruntlett’s three-run home run gave the Nationals a 4-2 lead after two innings.
–Willie Harris made two outstanding catch’s in the first inning to help starter John Lannan escape further damage.
–Cristain Guzman played in his first game and collected 2-singles and a RBI as the team’s designated hitter.
–Lefty Aaron Thompson acquired from the Marlins in the Nick Johnson deal last season was the best pitcher on the mound for the Nats today tossing two scoreless innings.
–Righty Tyler Walker stuck out the side, but in between gave up 6-hits and 5-runs including two long home runs to Fernando Martinez and Mike Jacobs to pick up the loss.
Nationals take on the Mets in St. Lucie on Sunday afternoon when Jason Marquis makes his spring debut.
We will be back at Disney and check in with Braves skipper Bobby Cox who is managing his final year with the Braves.
The weather is warming up as well as spring training enters its second week.  Looking forward to meeting up with Jason Benetti for some video podcast this week.

Desmond looking very good

One game does not decide if a player is going to make the team out of spring training but former Chiefs shortstop Ian Desmond certainly made his case on Friday vs the Atlanta Braves at their palace of a baseball stadium at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

In the field he saved two runs, with fantastic plays up the middle, that very few shortstops could make.  But it was at the plate where he would make his mark.  He drove in two runs with a single off Derek Lowe in the 2nd inning and a grand slam to the deepest part of the ballpark – 400 plus feet away two innings later.  In all, Desmond drove in 6-runs on the afternoon.
With Cistain Guzman penciled in to start the season as the Nationals everyday shortstop, manager Jim Riggleman has to wonder how he can send this talented player back to AAA-Syracuse.
Chiefs fans can only hope to see this budding star one more time before he makes it big in the near very near future.
__Lefty Billy Wagner look unimpressive in his one inning of work vs the Nats, never looking very comfortable on the mound.
–Craig Stammen made his first appearance for the Nationals this spring and despite his final line threw the ball good and indicated after the game that he felt fine.
–Lefty Jesse English, who was picked up from the Giants this winter struggled in his one inning of work giving up two long home runs.
–Chris Duncan played first base for the Nationals and swung the bat well with two hits.
Off to Viera, FL to see the Nationals take on the Mets on Saturday.

Chiefs Spring Games begin March 20th

The Syracuse Chiefs, the AAA Affiliate of the Washington Nationals will begin the 2010 spring training schedule on Saturday, March 20th agsinst the Gwinnett Braves at Disney Wide World of Sports.

The Chiefs will take on the Toledo Mud Hens the next day at home in Viera, FL and play 15 games before they return to Syracuse, New York for the start of the 2010 Internatinal League season on April 8th.

The Chiefs will also play the Round Rock Express (Houston Astros affiliate) during the spring.

Important dates:  Minor league Staff reports – March 4th

                         Pitchers & Catchers report – March 5th

                         First Workout – March 6th

                         Position Players report – March 9th

                         First Workout – March 11th

                         Chiefs vs Braves – March 20th @ DisneyWWS

                         Chiefs Break Camp for Syracuse – April 4th

 

 

 

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