Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche made an appearance in the Nationals clubhouse Friday afternoon, his surgically repaired left shoulder "feeling great," and his sights set toward spring training 2012. "It feels good to put some baseball pants on," LaRoche said as he changed from his street clothes. It has been officially nine weeks since LaRoche underwent surgery on the torn labrum in his left shoulder and he's passed his milestones slowly and quietly as the Nationals were forced to move on without him.
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
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Bryce Harper's hamstring strain could keep him out for the rest of the season (UPDATED: He's on the DL)
The Nationals placed Bryce Harper on the seven-day minor league disabled list this evening after the diagnosis of strained right hamstring initially given to him Thursday night was confirmed by a doctor in Harrisburg. Putting him on the 7-day DL does not officially end his season, as there is about two weeks remaining in the regular season schedule, but it's very likely the Nationals will be extremely cautious with Harper and not rush him back for a final week of play or even the Eastern League playoffs if he's not completely healthy. Nationals manager Davey Johnson confirmed as much early Friday afternoon, speculating that there's a good chance the Nationals top prospect's season is over.
Michael Morse didn't know he would be taking Friday night off until he arrived at Nationals Park and noticed his name missing from the lineup. One week after taking a fastball from Ryan Dempster off his left elbow, Morse is dealing with some inflammation in the area. The Nationals are concerned that, without some rest, it could turn into tendinitis. Morse was absent from Friday's lineup as a precaution.
The Nationals open a three-game set with the Phillies tonight at Nationals Park against Roy Oswalt and they'll do so without Michael Morse in the lineup. Morse, who has started 29 of the Nationals last 30 games, gets a day off in favor of Laynce Nix at first base tonight. Jonny Gomes will get the start again in left field.
Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper went down in the middle of the basepaths Thursday night, coming up with an apparent leg injury and had to be helped off the field in Akron, OH. Harper was diagnosed with a right hamstring strain and will be re-evaluated on Friday.
Count Davey Johnson among those unconcerned by Stephen Strasburg's struggles in his rehabilitation start Wednesday.
Stephen Strasburg did something Wednesday night he had yet to do in his road to recovery from Tommy John Surgery: he struggled. Here's some of what Strasburg had to say:
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg could start for the Nationals as soon as Sept. 2 against the Mets, according to a hypothetical schedule manager Davey Johnson discussed today.
Matt Purke is healthy and ready to become a National: "I'm ready. Just give me a uniform and put me out there."
In a phone interview with the Washington Times, Nationals third-round draft pick Matt Purke talked about the health of his left shoulder, why the Nationals were right for him and what he's been doing all summer.
There is no way around it: No matter what the Nationals have to do next year, they will find a place for Michael Morse on the field. If that means he shifts back to left field when a presumably healthy Adam LaRoche returns from shoulder surgery, that's what it means and that's what they'll do. They simply can't justify putting their best hitter of 2011 -- for average, power and to all fields -- into any kind of a position battle. Morse is an every day player. He's been an every day player since the middle of May and one of the most productive ones in all of major league baseball in that time. He's hitting .323, slugging .566 and getting on base at a .372 clip.
Ivan Rodriguez was back at Nationals Park on Tuesday working out and throwing, his first physical activity in nearly a week. The good news was that Rodriguez was allowed to do that, the bad news was that's about all he'll most likely be doing for the next few days.
There will be plenty more to come over the next few days about the Nationals impressive draft haul and what it means for an organization already on the upswing but there is one details from tonight's proceedings that I didn't want to get overlooked: In signing all of their top picks, the Nationals handed out not one but two major league deals. The Nationals gave Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon to a four-year major league deal with a one-year club option for a total of $7.2 million. $6 million of it is bonus money and the major league deal means that Rendon will be on the Nationals 40-man roster for the foreseeable future. The same goes for Matt Purke, the left-hander out of Texas Christian University, who signed a four-year major league deal for roughly $4 million.
This year, there was no Bryce Harper and no Stephen Strasburg. There was no No. 1 overall pick deemed once-in-a-generation waiting until the clock struck midnight to relent, get paid record sums and join the Washington Nationals. But as the 2011 signing deadline for draft picks inched ever-closer the Nationals completed a coup of a different kind: perhaps the most impactful draft from start to finish in organizational history. In signing all of their top five picks in the 2011 draft, and 29 of their 51 selections, the Nationals took in an unparalleled haul.
Minutes before the midnight deadline, the Nationals locked up No. 6 overall pick Anthony Rendon, No. 23 Alex Meyer, No. 34 Brian Goodwin and No. 93 Matt Purke. No. 127 overall, Kylin Turnbull, agreed to a $325,000 deal about 2 ½ hours before the deadline.
The Nationals signed the first of their top five unsigned picks with about 2 1/2 hours to go before the deadline with Baseball America's Jim Callis reporting that they've agreed to terms with fourth-round selection Kylin Turnbull. Callis, who is considered one of the foremost draft experts in the industry, reports that Turnbull agreed for a signing bonus of $325,000 -- $100,000 over the MLB-recommended slot for the 127th overall pick