- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2009

THE BUZZ

Tracking the Nationals’ news and trends from the past week:

SCOTT OLSEN [DOWN]

Done for the year after shoulder surgery; he’ll have to fight through a crowded rotation next year

LANNAN/STAMMEN COMBO [UP]

Day after left-hander pitches his first big league shutout, righty goes 7 1/3 in win over Mets

MOTIVATIONAL SPEECHES [UP]

After Riggleman lights into team following sloppy loss, players respond with 13-1 win

RAIN DELAYS [DOWN]

2 hours, 46 minutes on Thursday and 3:11 on Saturday; more than 33 hours of delays this year

MINOR LEAGUE WATCH

Since the Nationals acquired him in a trade with Seattle for outfielder Ryan Langerhans last month, infielder Mike Morse has done nothing but hit at Class AAA Syracuse. He is batting .353 for the Chiefs, tacking onto that a .312 average for Class AAA Tacoma, the Mariners’ Pacific Coast League affiliate. Morse has played first and third base and has logged 300 major league at-bats the past four seasons. If Nick Johnson is shipped out in a trade, it’s possible Morse could get called up to take fill up some of the at-bats. He has never shown much power but hit .278 with three homers and 23 RBI in 72 games for Seattle in 2005 and has driven in 63 runs in 89 minor league games this year.

EX-NATIONALS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Since being traded from the Mets to the Braves on July 10, Ryan Church hasn’t had an easy time in his new surroundings. The outfielder is hitting .200 with the Braves, having homered just once since the trade. It has been a stark dropoff for the normally reliable Church, who was hitting .280 with the Mets and had his season-ending average land within eight points of .280 every year since 2005. Traded with Brian Schneider for Lastings Milledge before the 2008 season, Church has fizzled since a strong start to last season. But with Milledge now in Pittsburgh’s minor leagues, it’s not like the Nationals can claim victory on that deal.

Season stats: .271 average, .334 on-base percentage, .366 slugging percentage, 3 HR, 26 RBI


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