- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2009

EX-NATIONALS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Marlon Byrd’s time in the District was more memorable for the umpire he steamrolled during a game at RFK Stadium than for any actual offense he provided during parts of the 2005 and 2006 seasons. But the outfielder turned his career around upon signing with the Rangers in 2007. In three seasons in Texas, Byrd has hit .298 (vs. .245 in the District), with a .356 OBP (.318 in the District) and an .813 OPS (.683 in the District). He has also commandeered the starting center-field job for a first-place Rangers club, a far cry from his No. 4 outfielder status for the 2006 Nationals.

Season stats: .282 average, four homers, 31 RBI, 21 doubles, .753 OPS

MINOR LEAGUE WATCH

A year ago, Jhonatan Solano was an anonymous 22-year-old catcher at low-Class A Hagerstown. In the 12 months since, he has skyrocketed through the Nationals’ farm system and is now starting behind the plate at Class AAA Syracuse. An undrafted free agent from Colombia, Solano was a key member of the Class A Potomac squad that won last fall’s Carolina League championship, then got off to a hot start at Class AA Harrisburg this season to earn yet another promotion. Though he has struggled so far at Syracuse with only two hits in his first 25 at-bats, he’s now viewed as perhaps the next catcher in line to be called up should something happen in the District.

THE BUZZ

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

UP - Kings of the Bronx

If only the Nationals could play the Yankees 162 times a year

UP - Shaving cream pies

Stammen gets one in the face after his first career win

DOWN - Zero production

Which will happen first: Kearns’ next RBI or Strasburg’s debut?

UP - Extra innings

Nationals finally win a couple — but couldn’t they just do it in nine?


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