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John Hart says Nationals were thug city

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    On Thursday, I wrote in Lovey Land about the great Sept. 14 edition of The Sporting News and how it was filled with all kinds of information about local sports teams, including the survey of 21 former Redskin players on a number of issues surrounding the franchise.
    Another item of interest in the edition for local sports fans is an interview with former Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers general manager John Hart, about the Washington Nationals and their number one pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg.
    Here are the questions put to Hart and his responses.

    On the Nationals decision not to pitch Strasburg this season:

   Hart: “I wouldn’t have pitched him. If he had tried to get ready too quickly, it could have been a bit of a mess. Having him begin in the instructional league and then go to the Arizona Fall League puts him in low-key environments. That’s the perfect way to get a kid on track.”

   On whether Strasburg should begin 2010 in the majors:

   Hart: “When you put on the selling tickets/marketing hat, there will be thought to, ‘Lets’ trot this guy out there and go.’ But you put on the baseball hat and it’s, ‘Let’s develop this kid the right way.’ I like what they’ve done. (This fall) they will be able to get a real feel for his stuff and how it will translate to the major leagues. Does he pitch out front (in the count)? Can he throw his breaking stuff when he’s behind? How good in fact is his changeup? I don’t think they will place a lot of emphasis on the results as much as his approach.”

   On economic factors:

   Hart: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he spent 60 days in the minors before being called up. They know when dealing with Scott Boras client’s, there’s no gifts. You start him in the majors and you can say, ‘Wait a minute — that’s just an extra year we’re going to get hosed (because he would be eligible to become a free agent one year sooner than if he spent the first 60 days in the minors).’ Odds are that he’ll start in the minors, and when he’s ready, they’ll bring him up. Part of that could be his development, part could be his service time.”

   On the Nationals future:

   “They have not had an easy road the past couple of years with issues off the field. Two years ago, this club was like thug city. There was no decorum, they were sloppy. They just didn’t look good. You can see it tighten up this year as they have become more of an organization. A lot of that has to do with (team president) Stan Kasten and (general manager) Mike Rizzo saying, ‘O.K., here is how the cabbage is cut.’ It’s not out of reach that this thing could turn around reasonably quickly.”

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