First things first: Daniel Cabrera is still a member of the Nationals rotation. That’s not going to change, at least not in the next week or two.
That said, Cabrera was summoned to Manny Acta’s office this afternoon for a lenghty meeting with the manager and pitching coach Randy St. Claire. Acta’s message was clear: It’s time to make some changes, both mechanical and mental, or else Cabrera’s time in the rotation could be running out.
On the mechanical front, the Nats want Cabrera to make some tweaks when he’s pitching out of the stretch. He tends to position himself in a different spot on the rubber out of the stretch vs. the windup. That means he’s releasing the ball at a different point. And that can throw his pitches completely out of whack.
On the mental fron, the Nats want the right-hander to quit letting mistakes behind him affect his performance. Yes, Josh Willingham dropped a routine fly ball last night that would have ended the fifth, but Cabrera compounded matters by walking the next four batters. That’s on him, and Acta wants him to take responsibility for that and not point the finger at others.
“The sooner he understands that, the better he’s going to be,” Acta said.
OK, other news items as the Nats and Giants get set to play…
— Lastings Milledge had surgery today on his right ring finger and will be out six to eight weeks. Obviously a big setback for the outfielder, who was at Class AAA Syracuse. But Acta insisted Milledge can make it back to the big leagues this year and he remains in the organization’s long-term plans.
— Jesus Flores is out of the lineup again, but he should be back behind the plate tomorrow afternoon for the series finale.
— Elijah Dukes was a late scratch from the lineup because he arrived at the ballpark feeling ill. So the Nats’ lineup now is…
SS Cristian Guzman
1B Nick Johnson
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Adam Dunn
RF Austin Kearns
CF Willie Harris
2B Anderson Hernandez
C Wil Nieves
P Jordan Zimmermann