First, a quick update on Collin Balester’s day: He didn’t give up a run, but that didn’t really illustrate how much the right-hander struggled on Sunday against the Tigers. He walked the bases loaded in the third inning, throwing only 15 of his 35 pitches in the frame for strikes.
Balester said he’s still trying to slow his delivery to home plate, and that work is preventing him from putting up better results after a strong first start of the spring. His fastball was up in the strike zone again today, and his breaking pitches were dropping too low for much of his three innings.
It’s tough to imagine he’s not losing some ground to Jordan Zimmermann and Shairon Martis, who both have been stellar all spring.
“I can’t do anything about that. I don’t want anyone to do bad. I’m glad these guys are doing good,” he said. “It’s just not my time right now. I’ve got to stay positive and not crumble down, or else you’re never going to make it back up.”
Now, some information on Julian Tavarez, the veteran reliever the Nationals signed on Friday. He is here on a tourist visa, which means he can’t pitch in major-league games yet and will have to return to the Dominican Republic to get the visa issue straightened out at some point, much like Odalis Perez last year. But he was in camp this morning, getting ready for a Tuesday outing in an intrasquad game and entertaining reporters with a pretty colorful description of how he signed here.
Tavarez (who wants his name to be pronounced with a hard J, not the H sound that it’d have in traditional Spanish), said he had several other minor-league offers in November, but wasn’t interested in a non-guaranteed deal then. Time, as he put it in his own descriptive way, changed his perspective:
“When you go to a club at four in the morning and just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo,” he said. “And to me, this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It’s 4:00 in the morning, too much to drink. So Nationals—Jennifer Lopez to me.”
That wasn’t the first time he mentioned Jennifer Lopez in his session with reporters, either. Watch your back, Affleck.
“I would like to be a starter,” Tavarez said. “But it’s like my father said: ‘You want Jennifer Lopez, but does she want you? No.’ I just take the ball when they give it to me.”