- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2008

Frustration over injuries in the Washington Nationals organization isn’t limited to the major league club these days.

Class AA outfielder Justin Maxwell, one of the team’s top prospects, will be out another month with a right wrist injury that has sidelined him since May 29, general manager Jim Bowden said Wednesday.

“Like so many of our injured players, he’s another month away,” Bowden said.

The 24-year-old hit .233 with seven homers for the Senators but had shown improved plate discipline that helped him post a .367 on-base percentage.

Picked in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, Maxwell hit .269 in a September call-up with the Nationals last season.

Progress slow with top five

Though Washington still has just more than a month to sign its top five picks from the June draft, it could be a while before any of them are in the team’s minor league system.

Published reports this week said Destin Hood and Daniel Espinosa (the team’s second- and third-round picks, respectively) are still at odds with the Nationals over money.

A source familiar with negotiations between the club and fifth-rounder Adrian Nieto said the high school catcher will have representatives at Nationals Park on Friday in hopes of advancing talks, which haven’t occurred in two weeks.

The source said Washington has offered slot money for Nieto, roughly $185,000, but added, “If they can’t offer more than that, they didn’t do their homework.”

Hood is believed to be seeking a signing bonus similar to that of a first-round pick or supplemental round selection.

“We think the market’s pretty clear,” Bowden said. “We hope our players sign because I hate it when players lose a year. It takes a year away from arbitration, a year away from free agency. We’ll keep working at it, grinding it and I’m sure we’ll get it done.”

The lack of early progress may be nothing more than a negotiating strategy. The Nationals have shown a willingness to pay their draft picks in the past. It gave sixth-rounder Jack McGeary a $1.8 million bonus last season, a record for a player taken in the sixth round. The team also paid a combined $3.1 million in bonus money to 2007 first-rounder Ross Detwiler and supplemental round pick Josh Smoker.

Davis moving again

After just eight games with Harrisburg, third baseman/outfielder Leonard Davis has earned another promotion.

Davis, who was playing at Class A Potomac less than three weeks ago, was moved to Class AAA Columbus after going 4-for-5 with a three-run homer for the Senators on Wednesday night.

Davis batted .488, posted .553 on-base and .805 slugging percentages, hit four homers and drove in 10 runs in Harrisburg.

There is some question in the organization as to where the 24-year-old fits best defensively, but he is enjoying his best professional season.

Martis to Futures Game

Columbus right-hander Shairon Martis will play for the World Team in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium, making him the only Clippers player to earn a selection.

“He’s always been one of our favorites,” Bowden said. “He’s already in [Class AAA] at age 21. This is a major league starting pitcher.”

Martis, whom the Nationals acquired from San Francisco for Mike Stanton in 2006, is 0-1 with a 4.86 ERA for the Clippers after going 4-4 at Harrisburg.

“He was a prospect at 89-91 [mph on his fastball] with a great [change-up] who knew how to pitch,” Bowden said. “Now he’s at 94 with the same stuff.”

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