Washington Nationals: AFL/Skipper Search Updates.

AFL: 

Five Peoria Saguaros' pitchers combined to shut out the Phoenix Desert Dogs Thursday at the Peoria Sports Complex. Three Nationals' prospects were in the lineup, with Danny Espinosa at second and batting second, Chris Marrero at first, hitting fifth and catcher Sean Rooney behind the plate and in the eight spot. Espinosa was 1 for 4 with a one-out single in the first, and the Desert Dogs didn't get another hit until Marrero singled to start the fifth. A DP grounder erased Marrero there, and he was stranded at first after hitting a two-out single in the seventh. Sean Rooney was 0 for 3, lowering his AFL AVG to .125 with 1 hit in 3 games and 8 at bats, and the 23-year-old catcher committed his first error with Phoenix on a throw to second on a stolen base attempt in the sixth which allowed the runner to take third. Chris Marrero committed his 4th error in 11 AFL games and his 24th error overall in 139 games played this season between Woodbridge, Virginia, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Phoenix, AZ. After the loss, Marrero, the 21-year-old '07 1st Round pick, is hitting .349 with a .440 OBP in 43 AB's. Espinosa's hitting .308 with a double and 5 RBI's in 39 at bats. The Desert Dogs are 10-5. 

Final Score: Saguaros 4, Desert Dogs 0. MLB.com GameDay.

BACKPAGE:

• Crow Threw Wednesday.

• Latest on the DC Skipper Search.

BACKPAGE: 

• Crow Threw Wednesday.

Aaron Crow, the Nationals' unsigned '08 1st Round pick, who was subsequently drafted and signed by the Royals in 2009, made his Fall League debut with the Surprise Rafters Wednesday afternoon, suffering a loss in his first start after allowing 3 hits and 2 ER in 4.0 IP over which the soon-to-be-22-year-old right-hander threw 59 pitches, 38 for strikes, with a low-to-mid 90's fastball, a slider, sinker and change on display. 

• Latest on the DC Skipper Search.

SI.com's Jon Heyman has the latest conjecture about the Nationals' search for a new (or full-time) manager in the "Notes" section of an article published Thursday entitled, "Cliff Lee's payday is coming soon", where Mr. Heyman wrote:

"Though the Nationals have expressed interest in Bobby Valentine, they are believed to want to keep their managerial salary under $1 million. It's getting harder to imagine that they will replace interim Jim Riggleman."

Valentine reportedly made around $4 million a year while managing the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, so it's also hard to imagine the 59-year-old manager taking $3M less to manage in the majors. 

Washington Post writer Tom Boswell hosted a chat Thursday afternoon entitled, "Ask Boswell: World Series, Redskins, Nats, Caps and More", during which Mr. Boswell responded to a question about the Nationals' skipper search by stating that, "...(Jim) Riggleman suits this team right now," and, "...at a time when the Nats need all the good will they can get, is one of the few people in baseball who are overjoyed," to manage in DC. 

That's 2-1 in favor of Riggleman amongst those voicing their opinions...

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