Washington Nationals In The Winter Leagues...And The Baseball Version Of The "Gordie Howe Hat Trick"...

WINTER LEAGUE UPDATES...

Anderson Hernandez doesn't want the Washington Nationals thinking about any other second baseman, not Ronnie Belliard or Orlando Hudson, no one but him for the starting spot in '09, and that's why Hernandez tore up the Dominican Winter League, finishing the season with a .365 AVG, which was good enough for second in the League, 20 doubles (1st), 6 triples (1st), 1 HR and 29 RBI's in 50 games and 211 AB's, over which he posted a .406 OBP, .531 SLG and .937 OPS...

...After going 0 for 2 this afternoon in a 3-2 Dominican Winter League Playoff win over the Azucareros del Este, Hernandez was hitting .393 in 7 Postseason games for the Tigres del Licey, who are 4-3 after Sunday. (Belliard was 0 for 3 Sunday starting at 3rd for the Tigres).

(ed. note - "Before you, uh, hand?...Anderson Hernandez the starting job at second with DC, just remember, this isn't the first time the second baseman destroyed the DWL...back in 2007, Hernandez, then with the NY Mets, and still playing for the Tigres del Licey, led the DWL Playoffs with a .402 AVG in 23 games according to MLB.com writer Eric Justic's article entitled, "Hernandez wins postseason batting title", and Hernandez's '07 stats with the Mets...according to baseball-reference.com's A. Hernandez stat page...4 G, 3 AB's, 1 H...

MLB.com's Sunday Caribbean Leagues Roundup, entitled, "Aybar, Tigres edge Azucareros", (my favorite title of '09!), singles out the performance of Azucareros' right fielder, and, "Nationals prospect Ricardo Nanita, (who) went 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Azucareros."

--(ed. note - "...and I'll forgive the fact that the MLB.com article doesn't use a possessive apostrophe with "Nationals prospect", since I didn't recognize Nanita's name until I pulled up the results of the '08 Rule 5 Draft at Baseball America.com and realized the Nationals had selected the OF from the White Sox with the first pick in the 1st Round of the Triple A Phase of the R5D back on December 18, 2008.")   

Nanita's 3 for 4 performance Sunday gave the 6'0'', 195lb, left-handed hitting outfielder, (a 14th Round White Sox' selection in 2003), a .447 AVG with 2 doubles and 3 RBI's in 8 DWL Playoff games. After hitting .286 with 22 doubles, 9 HR's and 51 RBI's in 111 games and 412 AB's with the ChiSox' Double-AA affiliate in Birmingham, Nanita hit .313 in the DWL Regular season with the Azucareros, collecting 10 doubles, 4 HR's and 26 RBI's in 47 games and 160 AB's...

...and speaking of Nationals' Prospects, I apparently overlooked Alberto Gonzalez all winter, who's been plying his trade with the Venezuelan WInter League's Aguilas de Zulia, and today, according to the same MLB.com article referenced above, Gonzalez, who started at short and was 2 for 4, "...singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the Aguilas squared their record at 1-1 in the round robin playoffs." You'll remember that Alberto "The General" Gonzalez was acquired by DC in a trade with the NY Yankees in late July '08, in exchange for Jhonny Nunez, and he hit .347 with 6 doubles, 1 HR and 9 RBI's over 17 games with Washington. This winter with Aguilas, Gonzalez hit .303 with 2 doubles and 14 RBI's in 38 games and 142 AB's. 

...In the last game of the Puerto Rican Winter League's regular season, outfielder Jorge Padilla, one of the 13 Minor League free agents the Nationals signed back on 12/13/08, according to MLB.com writer Bill Ladson's report entitled, "Nationals sign 13 to Minors deals", started in right for the Lobos de Arecibo, and according, (again to the uncredited MLB.com article entitled, "Aybar, Tigres edge Azucareros"), the, "...Nationals farmhand Jorge Padilla homered and drove in three runs for Arecibo before he was ejected in the ninth." Way to go Padilla, that's like the baseball version of hockey's Gordie Howe Hat Trick...

...and lest we forget, the Criollos de Caguas dropped a 4-3 decision Sunday to the Gigantes de Carolina, in spite of the two runs, 1 each, by both Nationals' prospects playing for Caguas, Garrett Guzman and Justin Maxwell, both of whom were 0 for 2 with 2 walks, while Criollos' and Nationals' reliever Saul "Sa-ool" Rivera completed a scoreless inning of work while allowing just one hit. 

end transmission...

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