- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2006

Q: With Felipe Lopez hitting so well, is he going to relinquish the No. 2 spot in the batting order when Jose Vidro returns? — Eric Stuart

A: Interesting question, and one that was raised to Frank Robinson just the other day.

The Nationals’ lineup has fared quite well over the last two weeks while Vidro has been on the disabled list, and Lopez has played no small role in that. Along with leadoff man Alfonso Soriano, he gives Robinson a nice 1-2 punch at the top.

Throw in some recent production from Ryan Zimmerman, Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns and Ryan Church, and one could argue that Vidro should hit seventh when he comes back.

That won’t happen, though. Robinson has too much respect for the franchise’s longest-tenured player. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vidro hits third upon his return (though he could be dropped if he struggles).

Q: Is there any way to get a look at the waiver wire if we are just ordinary fans? I know teams try to sneak some players through waivers (like the Rangers tried with Ryan Drese last year). Can you please explain the process? — Mark S.

A: Sorry, there’s no way for ordinary fans or even extraordinary media members to see the waiver wire. That’s a tightly held secret by Major League Baseball.

Here’s how the system works: Hundreds of players are placed on waivers following the July 31 trade deadline, just to see if they can pass through and be dealt later on. Every team in baseball has an opportunity to put in a claim on the player, going from worst to best record.

Once a player is claimed, his original team can either let him go or pull him back. If he goes unclaimed, he’s free to be traded through the rest of the season.

Q: I enjoyed Frank Robinson going to the mound on Friday night in San Diego to jaw it out with Ramon Ortiz for walking a leadoff hitter with a five-run lead. It’s great to see the players scolded for not thinking. But can Frank get away with this on just about every player on the team, or does he have to choose carefully and pick the right moment? — Jeffrey Saffelle

A: Frank’s rare mound visit the other night was quite impressive. His disgust with Ortiz was obvious, and he made sure his point got across.

But I don’t think he could get away with that on everybody, and he certainly can’t pull a move that like too often or else it loses its impact. Can you really see Frank marching out to the mound and chewing out Livan Hernandez? I didn’t think so.

Q: The Nats traded pitcher Mike Stanton for pitcher Shairon Martis — I can’t find him listed in any of their minor-league affiliates, but I do see him in San Francisco’s. Has he been assigned to the Nats, or is he on loan with the Giants? — Jim Storey

A: No, Martis is with the Nationals permanently. Must have been a misprint.

The 19-year-old right-hander, who pitched a seven-inning no-hitter for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, is currently pitching for Washington’s Class A affiliate in Savannah. In his first start with the organization, he went 42/3 innings, surrendering two runs on five hits.

Send your questions to [email protected] or go to washingtontimes.com/sports and click on the Nats Mailbag logo. Please include your full name.


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