Washington Nationals: AFL Wrap-Up...

The Peoria Javelinas are the AFL's '09 Champs after beating the Phoenix Desert Dogs 5-4 Saturday in Scottsdale, Arizona. (ed. note - "Picture above is from an AFL outing earlier this month by DC pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg, who missed today's start with a knee injury.")

The Arizona Fall League's '09 season is over. Peoria Javelinas' second baseman C.J. Retherford, an infield prospect in the Chicago White Sox' system, hit a two-run HR to left and out of Scottsdale, Arizona's Scottsdale Stadium, taking Phoenix Desert Dogs' reliever Josh Perrault, (a Baltimore Orioles' prospect who also spent time in DC's system) deep in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game the D-Dogs led 4-3 just a moment earlier...Nationals' fans were preparing for a ninth inning appearance by future-DC-closer Drew Storen, but Javelinas' (and Detroit Tigers') reliever Robbie Weinhardt retired the Desert Dogs in order in the top of the ninth, and made the 5-4 lead stand up as Peoria, Arizona's second-favorite team ended Phoenix's five-year reign as the AFL Champs, claiming their first AFL title since 2002.

• Final Score - Javelinas 5, Desert Dogs 4. MLB.com GameDay.

BACKPAGE: 

• AFL Championship Notes.

• Dukes Leaves DWL For The Week...

• Drew Storen On MLB Network: On His AFL Experience.

BACKPAGE: 

AFL Notes: Faced with a team that threw one reliever after another out on the mound, the Desert Dogs were forced to adjust to a new arm each inning, and ended up striking out 15 times in 35 at bats against a Javelinas' staff which didn't allow a single walk. DC and Desert Dogs' right-hander Jeff Mandel's leadoff walk in the fourth eventually came around to score after a sac bunt, a throwing error by the pitcher and a run-scoring groundout followed. Nationals' infield prospect Danny Espinosa was 0 for 4 on the afternoon, but his first-inning groundout drove in a run...Chris Marrero had a rough day at the plate as Washington's first base prospect K'd 3 times and flew out to center to leave him 0 for 4 in the AFL final...The good news...it was other teams' prospects and not Storen, Stephen Strasburg et al on the bottom of the ridiculous pile-up in front of home that followed the Javelinas' win, which must have had GM's league-wide pulling their hair out and holding their breath until it broke up...with, luckily, no injuries reported...

• Dukes Leaves DWL For The Week...

In an article announcing Erick Aybar's arrival in the Tigres del Licey lineup entitled, "Erick Aybar Debuts This Sunday", Licey.com writer Alexander Gomez notes that Blake Dewitt, Mike Rabelo and DC outfielder Elijah Dukes have left Licey and the Dominican Republic, though Dukes' departure is reportedly only temporary as he returns to the United States to be with his father, who has fallen ill. According to Mr. Gomez, Dukes will be returing to the Tigres on November 30th. Dukes is 3 for 10 with 2 HR's and 5 RBI's so far in his first 4 DWL games...

• Drew Storen On MLB Network: On His AFL Experience.

Drew Storen was interviewed by the MLB Network before today's AFL Championship game, and was asked what it was like to pitch alongside his fellow 1st Round pick Stephen Strasburg: 

Storen: "I mean not only Strasburg but you know all of the fielders that we've got here and Mandel and Wilkie in the bullpen with me down here, it's been a lot of fun throwing with these guys, and, you know I played with most of them this summer and not to mention the guys from the other teams that I get to play with, it's a lot of a fun..."

...And what if any expectations he has for himself:

Storen: "Actually, I'm trying not to...I'm a big guy on not having expectations. I just want to go out and make adjustments and get better, and I was kinda, that's what I'm trying to do down here, and you know, i've found some success, and hopefully can carry that on today..."

(ed. note - "MLB.com has a Strasburg/Storen video up, linked HERE, which has part of the quick interview with Drew Storen and some AFL highlights of the Nationals' two 1st Round picks in action. Take a look, you won't see Storen or Strasburg pitch again until March...")

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