The final day of the first half of the Carolina League season brought something familiar to the Potomac Nationals: a rainout.
For the 10th time this season the P-Nats’ game was cancelled due to “the consistent downpours over the past several days (that) left standing water in the outfield,” according to the release on the team’s website. The game was called because of concerns over the players’ safety — an ongoing issue with the field at Pfitzner Stadium. Earlier this season, the P-Nats had to switch a series with the Orioles’ Frederick Keys to Frederick, M.D., due to unplayable conditions at Pfitzner Stadium.
For now, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the concerns have been brought to the attention of the Potomac ownership and there’s no safety concern for the players on a regular basis.
“We’ve addressed some field concerns with the ownership and they’ve taken steps to improve them,” Rizzo said Sunday. “I think it’s something that, long-term, we need to address again after the season. We’ve met with them several times and they know that we have a plan at the end of the season to readdress them.
“There’s no safety concern. If it was a safety concern, we wouldn’t be playing there. We would pull all the players off the field.”
Over this offseason there was a drainage system added to the outfield and the construction of an annex to the clubhouse was also begun. Issues with that drainage system is what caused the team to switch the April series to Frederick and while no other series have been switched, the P-Nats have been rained out several times already this season.
They could also be getting a new addition in Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper if and when he is promoted to the next level from Single-A Hagerstown. Harper will play in the South Atlantic League All-Star game this week after he hit .330 with 14 homers and 45 RBI, a .429 on-base percentage and .586 slugging percentage. The next step up for Harper would be Potomac.
“There’s a concern that we’d like a better playing facility for our players. We’ve got really good prospects on that field. We’ve got a lot of money invested in those players and we need a safe, comfortable, developmentally friendly environment for them to play in.”
Several of the Nationals top pitching prospects like Daniel Rosenbaum and Cameron Selik are with the Potomac Nationals currently, along with injured infielder Rick Hague and injured outfielder Destin Hood, who was the team’s Carolina League All-Star before knee issues landed him on the disabled list. Infielder Jeff Kobernus traveled with manager Matthew LeCroy to California for the All-Star game in Hood’s place.