Thursday, September 20, 2007

Washington Nationals television announcer Bob Carpenter has been told by the club his contract will not be extended when it expires after the season, sources with knowledge of the situation said yesterday.

Carpenter, who has done play-by-play for all Nationals games on MASN the last two seasons, was informed during a Monday meeting with team president Stan Kasten that he will not be asked back for 2008 and the club will hire a new TV announcer to partner with analyst Don Sutton.

Carpenter confirmed he met with Kasten on Monday but declined to comment further until a formal announcement is made. Kasten did not respond to a request for comment.

The Nationals will be searching for their third TV play-by-play announcer in four years. Mel Proctor called games in 2005 with analyst Ron Darling; the duo was replaced the following year by Carpenter and Tom Paciorek. Both were hired by then-Washington president Tony Tavares and inherited by Kasten and the Lerner family upon purchasing the club last summer.

Carpenter, a native of Tulsa, Okla., spent 10 years broadcasting St. Louis Cardinals games before coming to the District last season and has called major league baseball games for parts of the last 20 seasons.

The other members of the Nationals’ broadcasting team will return. Sutton and MASN field reporter Debbie Taylor each received multiyear contracts in the spring. Radio announcers Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler each were told last week they will have their contracts (which were due to expire) extended.

RFK finale set

The Nationals announced plans for Sunday’s home finale against the Philadelphia Phillies, the last baseball game to be played at RFK Stadium.

The first 30,000 fans through the gates for the 12:05 p.m. game will receive commemorative T-shirts, with a list of memorable moments in RFK history designed to look like a rock concert tour shirt.

Nationals players will greet fans at the gates and will raffle the jerseys off their backs following the game.

Nine former Washington Senators players — Frank Howard, Hank Allen, Dick Bosman, Wayne Comer, Mike Epstein, Ron Hanson, Chuck Hinton, Don Loun and Fred Valentine — will take place in pregame ceremonies, with Howard throwing out the first pitch.

A 45-minute postgame ceremony will wrap up the event, with workers digging out home plate for possible transfer to the Nationals’ new ballpark.

Guzman hitting again

Injured shortstop Cristian Guzman took batting practice again before yesterday’s game and will now get a chance to face a live pitcher this afternoon.

Guzman, out since late June with a torn thumb ligament, will hit in a simulated game before tonight’s game. Rookie left-hander Ross Detwiler likely will serve as the pitcher and throw the equivalent of two innings.

Guzman then would go to the Nationals’ instructional league in Florida for a couple of days to get more at-bats before potentially coming off the disabled list for the season’s final week.

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