Results tagged ‘ Washington Nationals ’

Stories from above–Precocious Pitchers edition

Good day from Toledo…..

News item first:  The Nationals have officially announced that Drew Storen, last year’s 10th overall pick in the entry draft, has been promoted to the Chiefs.  If Drew’s ERA were a state, it would be Rhode Island.  He compiled a 0.92 earned run average with Harrisburg and succeeded in all four of his save opportunities.  He struck out 11 and walked just one.  No word on whether Storen will join the team here in Toledo or at our next destination, Columbus.
Other notable things from the past few days:
*Chase Lambin belted his fifth home run of the season last night.  His OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.080 would be 31st in all of MLB, just shy of Jim Thome for 30th.  11 of his 22 hits are for extra bases (6 doubles, 5 triples).
*The Chiefs are one of five teams in the IL not to have lost three straight games.  They’ve gone wire-to-wire in first place so far this season.
*The batter’s eye here in Toledo has been giving Chiefs hitters trouble during the series.  It’s a black canvas in center field as you’d expect, but it’s pretty slender.  Lefties say the ball actually comes out of a righty’s hand to the left of the batters eye, in line with a tan granite conference center across Huron Street.  I’ll be posting a picture of the view on Twitter shortly @ChiefsRadio.
*This is the first press box I’ve ever done a game in which has a refrigerator stocked with grape soda.  Dave Chappelle is pleased.
Gametime is 6:30 tonight.  Jeff Mandel starts for the Chiefs in his Triple-A unveiling.  His college coach, 16th-year Baylor skipper Steve Smith, will join us on the On Deck Show.  Mike will have highlights of last night’s win and other tidbits.  Listen live at
I’d love to hear from you.  My email is
From NW Ohio,

Stories From Above–Hardware Edition

Quickie gameday ramblings:

*The world series trophy from 2008 is here in Allentown tonight.  Any messages to pass along to it?  We’ll see if we can get Eric Bruntlett to say a few words about it pregame….

*Spent a few minutes with Matt McClusky on 1410 AM in Watertown this afternoon.  I’ll be on the show talking Chiefs at 4:15 every Tuesday afternoon.  Check him (and sometimes me) out at

*We’re likely going to have a special guest on the broadcast Friday night….stay tuned….

*Zech Zinicola (last night’s save-man) and I chatted for a few minutes earlier today.  Couzens is posting the conversation on YouTube right now:

*Checking out of the Hotel Bethlehem is like going home after a weekend at grandma’s house–you’re sick of being offered hard candy and you can’t get the image of a yellow flowered bedspread out of your head.

Enjoy the game tonight…..On Deck Show @ 6:30….Couzens and I have the call at 7.


Who’s on first? And everywhere else?

Good afternoon, folks.  You may or may not be aware that the Nationals are planning to release their 25-man roster this afternoon either before or after their exhibition game with the Red Sox at 4:05 today.  There are rumblings already of the roster, but nothing 100% official as yet.

What we do know is this:  Garrett Mock is the Nats’ fifth starter,  So, Scott Olsen has been optioned to Syracuse.  So has outfielder Roger Bernadina.  Eric Bruntlett and Mike MacDougal have been re-assigned to minor league camp (meaning they’ll likely be inhabiting Alliance Bank Stadium soon).

Olsen threw a gem in his final start in Spring Training.  That, though, did not outweigh some rather troubling performances to him and the team early in March.  Olsen, coming off a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder last season, will open the season in Syracuse.

Bernadina, too, has had injury trouble.  Soon after being summoned to the Beltway last year, Bernadina broke his right ankle trying to flag down a Dan Uggla fly ball.  He, like Justin Maxwell, could still be part of the Major League team sooner rather than later.  It’s easy to draw that conclusion–each spent (or seemingly would spend) a good chunk of the season in Washington in ’09.

More as it comes across.


Stories From Above–empty the notebook edition

Hardest working guy in show business:


 Again, a rainout.  Nats and Yankees won’t be made up. 

I just finished lunch at a nice little Italian place here in Viera as a prelude to whatever adventure this afternoon had in store.  I asked the waitress, “If you had a day off in Viera, what would you do?”  She replied, “Go shopping.”  I then asked if there was anything historic to be seen.  She said “Downtown Melbourne.  It’s not really historic, but it’s better than Viera.” 

So, this post has no charm.  No pre-Modern American flair.  It does, however, give me the opportunity to discuss a number of things that have been stewing within me for days (if not hours).  Off we go:

*Ran into Mike Daniel, one of the late, late callups to Syracuse last season, this morning.  He’s still excited about the Saints Super Bowl win.  He also finished his degree at UNC this offseason.  Really good kid….and someone to keep your eye on to be outfitted for a Chiefs jersey soon.

*Driving to Orlando Wednesday was treacherous.  I was moving along at 75-77 in a 70 zone (please don’t call the fuzz on me) and people were zooming by me like they were jet-propelled.  I have seen 0 state troopers on the highways. 

*Total Eclipse of the Heart came on the radio Wednesday night, reminding me of this Big 12 YouTube debacle.

*Restaurants should be required to play music that goes along with their menus.  I ate chicken parm this afternoon while Kelly Clarkson made sure I knew she was already gone.  You serve Italian, you play Italian.  This rule will ensure that nobody will ever open an Owl City Cafe.

*I met a criminal Monday morning.  I was in line for security at the Charlotte airport.  The man in front of me was yapping loudly on his little Bluetooth headset.  Then, his conversation ended and the guy behind me picks up.  Here’s the one-sided conversation:

“Yeah, I’m in line at airport security.”
“I was in bed, already three hours asleep.”
“That’s ridiculous.”
“Why would I do that?”
“I’m happy with the way things have turned out.”
“I was already asleep, that’s ridiculous.”
“Well, I bet the office isn’t in a good mood this morning.”
“What?  If I wanted to get into Betsy’s house, I would have knocked on the door.”
“That’s crazy.  Why would I want to do that?”
“This is one of the strangest phone calls I’ve ever gotten.”
“Yeah, I’ll talk to you later.”

Far as I can tell, this guy was being accused of breaking into Betsy’s house. 

Here’s my problem with his alibi.  When the phone call ended, he did nothing except complain to me about how long security was taking.  If I were erroneously accused of unlawfully entry at my ex’s house, I’d have called a friend immediately to talk about how ridiculous the accusation actually was.  Nope.  This guy just stood there…..and got agitated with the security line.   Sadly, only I–and you, dear reader–know that this guy’s airtight alibi might have some gaps.  Tough day for Betsy.

Off to Kissimmee tomorrow to see the ‘stros and Nats.  If we don’t get another few feet of rain, that is.


Stories From Above–when food attacks edition

Before I forget, please note that certain words (like “Cheerios” in paragraph three) in this blog post (and my last one for that matter) are gray.  If you click on those (or open them in a new tab with CTRL + T), you will see pictures which correspond with words.  It’s sorta like a children’s book.  Word + picture = recall.  The cow says…..moo.

My day started with breakfast at the team hotel.  It was a free breakfast, so I expected something decent.  I couldn’t complain.  I had two muffins and a few cups or orange juice.  I was just about comfortable with the amount I ate, but cereal was going to be the coup de grace (This is not to be confused with the coup de tat.  That’s where the Frosted Flakes seize the waffle machine and all of its batter in a rush of strategic genius.)

So, I walked over to the Cheerios, grabbed a bowl and looked for the milk.  One white jug of 2% and…..another white jug of 2%.  Come on.  Drinking 2% milk is like cleaning out your refrigerator.  It’s disgusting and there’s always someone else who enjoys what’s found while doing it.

With zero cereal in me, I hit I-528 west and zipped over to Orlando to meet the Simones.  With the Nationals all the way in Jupiter to play the Cardinals, we decided to take in the Braves and the Mets at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.  In the first two innings, we saw six runs, former Toledo Mud Hen Mike Hessman, former Pawtucket Red Sock, Minnesota Viking and X-Files Creator Chris Carter (who hit a torpedo of a homer against Derek Lowe) and former Charlotte Knights Manager Razor Shines.  Some of the stars were resting.

In the third inning, I was lured by a concession stand selling slushies.  The flavors available were cherry, lemonade and mixed.  I–like anyone else with the sensory systems of a teething four-year-old–chose “mixed” in a heartbeat.  Problem, though.  I was second in line.  The father, daughter and granddaughter trio in front of me couldn’t decide what they wanted.  They chose an order of churros and a cheesesteak for a main course without much hesitation.  The drink was the sticking point.  The granddaughter asked for a sweet tea.  Vendor said no.  I was a little frustrated, but I thought it was ultra-cute that the tiny red-headed kid ordered a sweet tea at the equivalent of a hot dog cart.

Then, the girl picked “water.”  Woman at the cart:  “We don’t have any, sorry.”  You don’t have water?  Is this baseball competition happening in Khartoum?  Thankfully, the daughter spied a bottled beverage stand adjacent and took Picky Orphan Annie with her.

It wasn’t over, though.  No no.  The patriarch of the family got his Churros and almost instantaneously erupted a fit of rage.  Seriously, he went emotionally from 0 to 60 in about 1.5 seconds. 

Man (fiercely):  There are only two Churros here.
Woman at cart:  That’s what an order is.
Man (angrily):  The menu says three.  I know I read somewhere that you get three!
Woman:  No sir, two.
Man (screaming, now):  The sign, here, it shows three!!!!

The guy didn’t get his Churros.  Was he in the right?  Does he have a valid claim of false advertisement?  Is the representation more prominent than the writing?  You be the judge.

Tomorrow, Nats and Astros.  Keep an eye out here, on and on our homepage.

J. Benetti     

Stories from above–precocious edition

Ever wonder what it was like to watch Mozart play the piano at age six?

Stephen Strasburg tossed some pretty memorable pitches today (just ask the radar gun ).  He threw two scoreless innings and struck a couple of batters out–Miguel Cabrera on a fastball at 98 and Brent Dlugach on a lethal curveball.

Strasburg did allow two hits, the first of which came from an ’09 Toledo Mud Hen, Don Kelly.  The young man from Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State program, though, was generally confounding to both Tigers and electronics.

Clubhouse highlight of the day:  A reporter from the Far East asked Strasburg after his start, “What do you think of your new teammate, Chien-Ming Wang?”  Collectively lacking a nose for symmetry, the horde of reporters neglected to rush to Wang to ask his opinion of his young comrade from America.

On a personal note, I have eaten dinner at two separate locations so far–with many still yet unexplored.  I’m heartened that this city stands by its motto.

Persona non grata of the day:  This guy.  Remember who came after The Beatles on Ed Sullivan?  Me neither.

Check out Inside Pitch for a conversation with Tim Foli and postgame comments from Stephen Strasburg and our YouTube page for video coverage .

Sat with Justin Maxwell’s better half during the ninth inning.  They’re expecting another child (a girl) in April.  Congrats to them.

Will Dogen come back to life tonight?  Is Kate dead?  Do any of you embrace Lost like I do?

J. Benetti

Nats Add Righty Rafael Martin

The Washington Nationals annonced today that they have signed righthanded pitcher Rafael Martin as a free agent and assigned him to their AAA-Syracuse roster.

Martin, 25 has spent the past three seasons pitching for Saitillo in the Mexican League.  Used mainly as a releiver, the Mexico native pitched in 54 games last season and was 6-3 with a 4.12 ERA.

Last season he struck out 65 batters and walked only 22 in 63 innings.  That is a marked improvement from his 2008 season when he walked 30 and struck out 38 in 54 innings.

Martin will join the Nationals major league camp and compete for a bullpen spot as a non-roster invitee.

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




Wang close to agreement with Nats

The Washington Nationals are close to an agreement with former New York Yankees righthanded pitcher Chien-Ming Wang it was reported tonight by MLB Networks Jon Heyman.

Wang, 29 would need to begin the season on the disabled list, but eventually would make a few re-hab starts before joining the Nationals sometime in May. A start or two in AAA-Syracuse would sound nice for Chiefs fans.

Stay tuned to Chiefs Blogs for further up-dates.

Nats sign Mench for Chiefs

The Washington Nationals signed veteran outfielder Kevin Mench as a free agent and assigned his contract to the Syracuse Chiefs.

Mench, 32 last played in the major leagues in 2008 with the Blue Jays appearing in 51 games and batting .243 in 115 at bats.  He also played 21 games for the Chiefs that season batting .284 with 1 HR and 12 RBI.

He spent last season with the Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese Cemtral League and had only 54 at bats before a season ending injury.

The native of Delaware began his career in the Texas Rangers organization in 1999.  He joined the Rangers major league team in 2002 and spent parts of five season in Texas.  He had his best seasons in 2004- 26 HR 71 RBI .279 AVG and 2005 – 25 HR 73 RBI .265 AVG.

In 2006 he was traded to Milwaukee mid-way thru the season and batted a combined .270 with 13 HR and 68 RBI that season.

He spent another season with the Brewers in 2007 batting.267 with 8 HR and 37 RBI in only 288 at bats that season.

Mench joins Josh Whitesell, Chris Duncan, Eric Brunlett, Jerry Owens and Pete Orr (re-signed) as off-season pick-ups this season.



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