Dmitri sighting and Dominican news

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Sorry for the lack of in-game updates tonight. I’ve been swamped with other stuff, some of which I’m about to get to. But if you’re curious about the ballgame, it’s currently 2-2 in the sixth. J.D. Martin and Josh Johnson each allowed a two-run homer in the first (Adam Dunn connected for the Nats, Hanley Ramirez for the Marlins) but pitched effectively after that. Johnson, though, was pulled after the fifth with his pitch count at 89. With Martin at 97, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets pulled as well.

OK, as for the other news … we’ll start with a Dmitri Young sighting in the clubhouse today and then move to some news about the Nats in the Dominican Republic. …

Young, who lives in South Florida and has been spending the last two months here rehabbing from a torn quadriceps muscle, stopped by the ballpark to say hi to his teammates. The 35-year-old slugger looked to be in pretty good shape. More importantly, he looks to be in very good mental shape. Which is to say, he’s very much at peace with how things have worked out.

Young said he has thoroughly enjoyed spending this summer with his two sons, Damon and Owen, as well as his ex-wife, Rebecca. The two have reconciled after a nasty divorce three years ago that in part contributed to some of Dmitri’s well-documented personal problems.

“I’ve just been enjoying myself,” he said. “A summer off? I haven’t had one of these since 1990. I’ve been in professional ball since ‘91. So every summer has been baseball, baseball, baseball, baseball, baseball. And for the normal fan, it’s like, ‘Why would you want time off? You’re playing a kid’s game.’ Because it’s all I do. I don’t get to travel with the family, take vacations. None of us gets to do that during the season. If we want to go on vacation, it’s during the winter, and there’s not too many hot places.”

Though Young probably believes he could play again next season if healthy, he seems to understand that it’s unlikely to happen. He’s too far removed from his best days, and it’s too hard for him to keep his diabetes and body in the kind of shape it needs to be to play professional baseball. At 35, his career is probably over. And he’s OK with that.

“Right now, I’m not even thinking about it,” he said. “I’m just here right now just heal up and clear my head on everything. And then [in] offseason, we’ll see.”

Asked if he’d be upset if his career ended in such unceremonious fashion, Young insisted he would not.

“No, cause I don’t believe in dwelling on anything or having any regrets,” he said. “That would lead for a sour rest of my life.”

Now, as for the Dominican … there was a report out today on ESPN.com saying the Nationals have spoken to former Diamondbacks Venezuelan coordinator Miguel Nava about their vacant Latin American scouting director’s position. Nava, who worked with Mike Rizzo in Arizona before, has been investigated in the past by MLB for allegations of bonus skimming.

Rizzo tonight said the story is “inaccurate” and that he’s never talked to Nava about any job with the Nationals. He did, however, talk at length about the steps the organization has been taking to upgrade their Dominican operation after the controversy this spring that led to Jim Bowden’s resignation. I’ll get around to all of that probably later this weekend, but Rizzo did mention that he, Stan Kasten and Mark Lerner flew down to the D.R. on Labor Day for a one-day trip to scout out three different proposed locations for the Nats to build a new baseball academy. Two are in Boca Chica (where the club trained this year at the Rawlings facility) and another is in San Pedro de Macoris. They should make a final decision on that soon.

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Mark Zuckerman

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