Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
Nationals right-hander Cole Kimball was in the clubhouse Tuesday afternoon, his right arm in a sling, but in relatively good spirits after undergoing season-ending rotator cuff surgery over the All-Star break. Kimball is at the start of a very long recovery process -- one that he said won't see him at 100 percent until roughly the 2012 All-Star break. He will not be ready by spring training.
The Nationals made their first move of the trade deadline Tuesday evening, acquiring outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Cincinnati Reds, along with cash, for Double-A Harrisburg outfielder Bill Rhinehart and Single-A Hagerstown left-hander Chris Manno.
Ian Desmond was presented with the team's Heart & Hustle award shortly before the team's game against the Florida Marlins Tuesday night, a testament to the way Desmond plays the game -- in spite of what even he termed a "sub-par" offensive season.
The Nationals return home tonight for the first game in 16 days and chances are they could not be happier to be back within the confines of a park they're 28-18 in this season. A lost road trip behind them, the Nationals turn their sights to a homestand that includes exclusively divisional opponents and starts with the Florida Marlins
The trade deadline is looming, six days away now, and with each day that brings us closer to 4 p.m. on July 31, the rumors over which players will be members of which teams come 4:01 p.m. intensify. The fact of the matter is, there are more names bandied about now as potentially being involved in a trade than would ever, ever, ever happen by Sunday. And while it's all well and good for the interest it brings to the sport, the excitement fans get in daydreaming about their team adding the perfect piece here or there and marching their way to a World Series title, it's easy to forget we're talking about human beings and not baseball cards.
Three different times Dodger hitters reached base Sunday afternoon -- twice via walks and once on a bunt single -- and all three times they promptly stole second base. With Jesus Flores making his fourth start behind the plate this season, the Dodgers wasted no time in testing out his surgically-repaired throwing shoulder and using good timing to jump early. Flores has now seen teams attempt to steal on him seven times since being recalled from Triple-A when Ivan Rodriguez went on the disabled list on July 7. They've been successful all seven times.
For the first time since July 4, 2009, Chien-Ming Wang is listed as a probable pitcher for a major league team. Wang, who pitched five innings in his final rehab start this afternoon, is listed as the Nationals starter Friday, July 29 against the New York Mets. The start will culminate a long, arduous rehab process for the former 19-game winner for the New York Yankees.
In what projects to be his final rehab start, Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw 96 pitches in five innings of work for Triple-A Syracuse Sunday afternoon, allowing five earned runs off eight hits and a walk.
Laynce Nix was out of the Nationals starting lineup for the fourth time in the last five games Sunday morning as he continues to deal with soreness in his right Achilles that acts up without warning and on it's own timetable.
The Nationals are wrapping up a 10-day, nine-game road trip this afternoon in Los Angeles with Jason Marquis on the mound against Chad Billingsley. But despite the fact that Billingsley is a right-hander, the Nationals will do so without Laynce Nix in the lineup.
The trade deadline is fast approaching and the Nationals have made no secret that where the organization finds its least amount of depth is in the outfield. With that in mind, the Nationals have several leadoff-hitting center fielders on their radar including names like Minnesota's Denard Span, Tampa's B.J. Upton and Houston's Michael Bourn.
The role Ross Detwiler is in for the Nationals is a new one. The former first-round pick is not truly a starter but not entirely a reliever. Even he has admitted that he’s not always sure what his schedule is on most days, just going with the flow and doing as told as he adjusts to being the swing man in the Nationals bullpen.
As we head into the final week before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, one name to keep in mind for the Nationals with regard to center field is Denard Span.
Earlier this week, after watching on television as his brother Scott went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI for the New York Mets on Saturday, Nationals utility man Jerry Hairston Jr. shook his head when asked by a few reporters how it was that his brother didn't happen to make it into the Mets' starting lineup the following day. The Nationals' Hairston didn't suffer the same fate one night after he gave the Nationals some serious cushion with a ninth-inning grand slam in a 7-2 victory over the Dodgers.
When Dan Haren's pitch collided with Jerry Hairston Jr.'s right wrist 3 1/2 weeks ago, while the utility man's first concern was for his health, his second was for his swing. The concerns, it seems, were overblown.