- The Washington Times - Monday, September 14, 2009

EX-NATIONALS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: RONNIE BELLIARD

Belliard had worn out his welcome in the District, so the Nationals were happy to deal him to the Dodgers on Aug. 31 in exchange for a pair of young lefties. Belliard, though, has been re-energized in Los Angeles and already has helped his new team win some important games. In his first 11 games since the trade, the veteran infielder had 12 hits, two homers, seven RBI and three doubles. He’s split time between second base and third base and otherwise been a positive influence for the NL West leaders.

MINOR LEAGUE WATCH

Esmailyn Gonzalez was once considered a crown jewel of the Nationals’ farm system. Carlos Alvarez is simply an aging player who has yet to get out of rookie ball. Unfortunately, they’re the same guy. The young Dominican shortstop at the epicenter of a false identity scam was MVP of the Gulf Coast League a year ago at the supposed age of 19. Now known to be 23, he played this season for the Nationals’ Dominican Summer League team of teenagers and hit only .280 with three homers and 25 RBI in 63 games.

THE BUZZ

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

Ian Desmond: shortstop - UP

Forget the Jeter comparison. He looks like Honus Wagner

Cristian Guzman: shortstop - DOWN

Nationals ask veteran to switch to second base next season

No. 5 starter - DOWN

Washington down to the bare bones with three weeks still to go

Saul Rivera - UP

Unassuming reliever becomes Nationals’ all-time leader in appearances

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