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Nationals Park is filling up early here, and from an unscientific survey based on a walk through the concourses, it’s about 60/40 Red Sox fans to Nationals fans. MASN just showed a video of Ray Knight scoring the winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series—the Buckner game.

Not a whole lot of pregame news today—the most significant development is that Matt Chico (remember him?) is in town to throw a side session tomorrow. Chico, you’ll recall, had reconstructive elbow surgery last season and hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 21 of last year. He hadn’t been in the Nationals Park clubhouse in more than a year, and seemed happy to be in a major-league clubhouse, rather than killing his time throwing bullpen sessions in extended spring training.

Chico could be part of the Rotation ver. 2.0 later this year if the Nationals shut down some of their youngsters and replace them with minor leaguers. The Nationals are hoping to bring up pitchers like Chico and Garrett Mock (whose three-hit shutout for Class AAA Syracuse generated a fair amount of talk here today) once Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann, among others, hit innings limits. Though the Nationals will have to be cautious with Chico, keeping him to around 100 innings, they’re hopeful he can still be part of the rotation down the line. He did make 31 starts for them in 2007, after all.

And on the subject of shutting down young pitchers, Manny Acta said the Nationals might keep them in the bullpen, rather than sending them home early. “I don’t think that sends the right message, to send a guy home or send him down because he’s not going to pitch,” Acta said. So it’s possible we’ll see Martis, Zimmermann and others get a few relief appearances in September.

 

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