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Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
The injury updates from Atlanta today are as follows: Laynce Nix and his sore right Achilles are going to need managing for a while and catcher Ivan Rodriguez took some swings in the cage today. Plus, Chien-Ming Wang will pitch for Syracuse on Tuesday.
The grounds crew here at Turner Field is currently painting a giant 10,000 into the outfield grass -- signifying that last night's Braves' victory over the Nationals was the 10,000th major league win for the franchise. They're doing so behind a stage set up on top of second base for the B-52s to rehearse for their postgame concert tonight.
A few notes from a night to forget for the Nationals as they earned the distinction of being the 10,000 team to lose a major league game to the Braves franchise:
The future of the Nationals rotation this season as it pertains to Jordan Zimmermann and Chien-Ming Wang
Despite plans to do otherwise, Nationals manager Davey Johnson clarified today that the Nationals will not be treating right-hander Jordan Zimmermann as a fifth starter in the second half and they will not stretch out his remaining 45 innings to get them to the September 1 roster expansion date.
Ivan Rodriguez was in the outfield early Friday afternoon at Turner Field, playing long toss with infielder Alex Cora. Then he headed inside and did something he hasn't done since he went down with a strained right oblique one week ago: he swung a bat.
Stephen Strasburg reached another milestone in his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery when he threw 45 pitches in live batting practice Wednesday in Viera, Fla. At this point, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said that having their ace right-hander back on a major league mound sometime this season is still very much in play.
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.
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
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