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Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
Davey Johnson took over managing the Nationals on June 27 in Anaheim, Calif. and he led them to a 6-8 record into the All-Star break. But for all intents and purposes, Davey's stewardship -- and the Nationals -- get a fresh start tonight when they open the second half in Atlanta.
According to a report by Andrew Baggarly, the San Francisco Giants reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, the Giants have officially hired former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman to be a special assignment scout.
The Potomac Nationals were rained out for the second straight day Thursday, washing away a doubleheader after heavy rains Wednesday night made the field conditions unplayable and they were deemed unsafe an entire day later as well.
With his July 15th opt-out clause looming if not promoted, the Nationals granted left-hander J.C. Romero, who had been at Triple-A Syracuse, his unconditional release. Moments later, Romero agreed to a minor league deal with the New York Yankees.
When Bruce Bochy summoned Tyler Clippard with two outs in the top of the fourth inning trailing by a run, he had one job: to get Adrian Beltre out. He didn't even do that, and still he walked away as the winning pitcher in the National League's 5-1 victory over the American League Tuesday night in the 2011 All-Star Game. "It was the definition of a vulture," Clippard said. "I'll take it."
It's no secret that the NBA and the NFL are in lockouts. With baseball's collective bargaining agreement set to expire this offseason, they're already in negotiations to avoid a similar fate. In their annual meetings with the Baseball Writers Association, commissioner Bud Selig and Players Union executive director Michael Wiener addressed that, and some of the other issues facing baseball. Here's a brief recap of what was discussed:
There's already been an awful lot written about Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard, the Nationals rep at this year's All-Star game and a deserving one, but while I'm here, may as well get my two cents in. If you're looking for words on Clippard, I wrote about 1,500 of them in this feature. If you're at all interested in the journey that has brought Clippard to this place in his life and this success in his career -- a road that included being kicked off his high school team, being traded, switched from a starter to a reliever and a rise to one of the preeminent set-up men in baseball, I'd suggest you check it out.
Brad Peacock, a 41st-round pick from the 2006 draft, worked through his first four years in the Nationals organization with middling success. Peacock never had an ERA above 4.97 but never one below 3.89. He'd moved up through the ranks gradually and finished the 2010 season with a 6-11 record and 4.50 ERA between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. But Peacock -- and his coaches -- noticed that while the power right-hander would have little trouble disposing of a lineup the first and second times through, the third time would lead to very different results. He was showing the ball, they realized, and hitters were catching on eventually. A small change this spring to help him improve his deception has paid huge dividends for Peacock, ranked the No. 42 prospect in baseball in Baseball America's mid-season report.
Much of today's attention will be on Phoenix, where Nationals prospects Bryce Harper and Brad Peacock play in the All-Star Futures Game. But this afternoon at Nationals Park, Washington can finish the season's first half at .500 with a victory against the Colorado Rockies.
There are still a few moving parts but the Nationals post-All-Star break rotation is beginning to take shape.
One day after stopping Ty Wigginton's liner with his face, Nationals left-hander was in good spirits in the clubhouse looking not too much worse for the wear. His nose was a little visibly swollen but there wasn't much bruising, his septum was fine and a CT scan taken last night came back clean.
After missing the last two games, Laynce Nix was back in left field and hitting cleanup for the Nationals Saturday. With Nix back in the lineup, Jayson Werth was dropped back into the sixth spot in the lineup and catcher Jesus Flores gets his first major league start behind the plate since May 9, 2009.
Jim Riggleman was supposed to be packing his bags this weekend and heading to Phoenix, Ariz., to serve as a coach on Bruce Bochy's staff at the All-Star game. That opportunity ceased when Riggleman resigned his post as manager of the Nationals on June 23. But Bochy, who is very good friends with Riggleman, and Giants general manager Brian Sabean have reached out to Riggleman with another opportunity, this one to possibly join the Giants' organization. The partnership is in the exploratory stages right now but Riggleman will fly to California after the All-Star break to meet with the Giants' brass and discuss their options.
There was a scary scene on the field at Nationals Park in the fourth inning Friday night when Nationals left-hander John Lannan was hit in the face with a comebacker off the bat of Ty Wigginton.
For Cole Kimball, the news he got from an arthrogram done on his injured right shoulder revealed exactly what he'd feared worst: a tear in the rotator cuff. Kimball will undergo season-ending rotator cuff surgery sometime during the All-Star break thus bringing his brief first year in the major leagues to a disheartening end. The 25-year-old will be operated on by Dr. David Altchek in New York city.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
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