- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2005

Newly acquired Washington Nationals right-hander Ryan Drese said it was his glove — and not his trademark sinkerball — that got him booted out of Texas.

“The last three or four starts, I felt the best I did all year,” Drese said last night at RFK Stadium. “It was a little bit of bad luck, and I didn’t make a few pitches when I needed to. Actually, what hurt me a lot was that I made three bad plays on defense. That’s what hurt me more than anything.”

The Nationals, who claimed Drese off waivers from the Rangers on Friday, are hoping he can become a productive member of the rotation. For now, the Nationals are content to use Drese out of the bullpen before deciding whether to start him Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif., against the Angels when their No.5 starter is due up again.

“I expect to be a starter — that’s what I want to do,” Drese said. “One of the things I do is eat up innings, and that’s my goal here.”

Manager Frank Robinson said before last night’s game against the Seattle Mariners that he is leaning toward starting right-hander Sun-Woo Kim on Wednesday. Kim is coming off a decent outing in his first start of the season Friday, when he went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits against the Mariners on short notice after Tomo Ohka was traded.

“It’s one or the other or maybe both depending on how effective they are out there,” Robinson said.

Drese, 29, had the best season of his career last year, when he went 14-10 with a 4.20 ERA in 33 starts. The Rangers had enough confidence in Drese to make him their Opening Day starter, but his performance declined dramatically this season. He was 4-6 with a 6.46 ERA in 12 starts. Over five seasons, Drese is 31-31 with a 5.36 ERA in 92 games and 83 starts.

“I was surprised, but nothing should surprise me in the game today,” Drese said of being released. “All I can do is move on, and I am looking forward to having a good rest of the season here.”

Short’s short stay

With the arrival of Drese, the Nationals designated infielder Rick Short for assignment. In his first major league at-bat Friday night after 12 seasons in the minors, Short, 32, delivered a pinch-hit RBI single off Seattle’s Joel Pineiro.

When Short returned to the dugout, RFK fans gave Short a standing ovation. He acknowledged the cheers by tipping his batting helmet from the top step of the dugout.

The Nationals purchased Short from Class AAA New Orleans on Thursday. Short said he will report back there Monday after spending the rest of the weekend in the nation’s capital.

“It was short, but it was enjoyable,” Short said. “I had a great time, and hopefully I’ll come back. Getting a taste [of the majors] after 12 years kind of refreshes your motivation. Regardless of what happens, you can never take last night away.”

Spivey starts

Second baseman Junior Spivey, whom the Nationals acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for Ohka, started his first game at second base, batting sixth in the order.

Spivey, who was an All-Star in 2002 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, said he hasn’t thought about his playing time after regular Jose Vidro returns, most likely around next month’s All-Star break.

“I look at it as an opportunity for me to play and for me to help this club,” Spivey said.

Extra bases

Jose Rijo, a special assistant to Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame last night. Rijo, who spent 10 of his 14 seasons with the Reds, is best remembered for going 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA and being named MVP of the 1990 World Series in the Reds’ sweep of the Oakland Athletics. …

With Mariners star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki in town, Japanese ambassador Ryozo Kato threw out the first pitch.


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