Felipe Lopez...0 for 4. Lastings Milledge 0 for 3. Nick Johnson? 0 for 3 with a walk and K. Austin Kearns 1 for 3, 2B, 3 LOB. Tim Redding goes 5.0 IP, allows just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 4. Eude Brito and Chris Schroder hold a 1-0 Nationals' lead through eight innings before Saul Rivera gives up a 2-out, 2-run HR to new Marlins' center fielder Cameron Maybin, which allows Florida to steal a comeback 2-1 win in the top of the ninth...
But it wasn't Maybin's heroics, or Redding's scoreless performance that caught my attention, rather it was the DC DH DY's 2 for 3, 1 walk return to the Major League camp in DY's first plate appearances of the Spring for the Nationals. Dmitri Young has been in the Nationals' "Accelerated Camp" recovering from what MLB.com's Bill Ladson described today, in his article, "Pena joins list of injured Nationals", as a "strained left side."
DY's competition in the battle for first base in DC, Nick Johnson, got off to a head start with DY busy working himself into playing shape and dealing with the after-effects of his life-changing diabetes diagnosis, but DY's '07 season and his importance to the team as a franchise on and off the field will warrant a long look before any decision on who play or who'll stay is reached by the Nationals' brass...
...and with Bill Ladson's report that Wily Mo Pena will be out at least two weeks with a strained left oblique maybe it's time to reconsider those DY to LF rumors from last season...Just kidding of course...it's DY himself who has admitted to hearing "circus music" in his head as he chases fly balls...and that's when he's playing first and chasing foul balls...Mr. Ladson reports that:
"The Nationals...have not ruled out Pena missing the start of the 2008 season. If that is the case, it would mean that Elijah Dukes would be the Opening Day left fielder."
So far this Spring, Elijah Dukes is batting .241 with 7 hits in 29 at bats, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 4 walks, 12 K's and 1 steal. If it isn't Dukes or Pena...then who? Justin Maxwell in left? But Maxwell's slated to start the season in Double-AA Harrisburg, with Nationals' Manager Manny Acta telling MLB.com's Bill Ladson in an article entitled, "Maxwell showing Nats what's in store", that he:
"...is a person who is confident that Maxwell will be back in the big leagues and become a major factor on the team.
"'This year is going to be key for him,' Acta said. 'Depending on what he does in Double-A, he's going to tell us what we do with him next. He has great makeup and he knows that regardless of guys who are in front of him -- if he does what he supposed to do -- we'll find a spot for him down the line.'"
So that leaves...Garrett Guzman, Willie Harris, Ryan Langerhans and Rob Mackowiac as the only other outfielders currently on the Washington's 40-Man roster...wait...Didn't Kory Casto almost start the season in left last year? Add his name to the list. Come back soon Wily Mo.
Flashback...Maybe Alfonso Soriano can come back to DC and play left?
Flashback Pt. 2 Or maybe Jose Guille...Oh wait, according to Baseball Prospectus writer Alex Carnevale's 1/21/08 article, "The Week In Quotes- January 13-20", which is subtitled, "I'M A TEAM PLAYER...WHAT TEAM DID I SIGN WITH? Jose Guillen doesn't seem to want to play left field in KC or probably DC either...
"'I'm not going to play left field. I can't argue with my boss. If he says play left field, I play left field. I just told him I feel more comfortable in right field, that's my natural position and the arm that I have and stuff. Not to disrespect Teahen or anybody, but I'm here to win and to do anything they ask me to do. That's the main thing.'"
--new Royals right fielder Jose Guillen
Don't you miss Guillen...(ed. note- "I really do...").
And you know what Yogi Berra says about left field...(in NY)...
"It gets late out there early."
*Also check out who took in the Nationals' game with Washington Times' writer Thom Loverro...(Hint) Don't let him near your bag of popcorn...???*