Washington Nationals Introduce Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, Eventually.

I have no idea what caused the delay of the Washington Nationals’ press conference this afternoon, in which they were set to introduce their new catcher, free agent signee Pudge Rodriguez, but a 1:00 pm EST starting time became a 2:00 pm EST starting time and at about 10 minutes after 2:00, some might have begun to wonder if Rodriguez had failed his physical, or if Pudge’s agent Scott Boras had discovered that the Mets offered Bengie Molina two years too, and decided to hold out for three from DC...

Then another update arrived...the press conference would begin at 2:30 pm EST. Shortly before 2:30 rolled around the MLB.com feed for the presser closed down, luckily MASNSports.com was streaming live...at least they were playing commercials a few minutes before the re-re-scheduled start...so with three minutes to wait and then scramble to find a feed, it was time to count the seconds...any day now Pudge will be introduced...2:29...2:39...and finally at 2:45 Pudge Rodriguez pulled on the #7 in home white, buttoned his jersey, put the red curly-W cap on his head and introduced himself to the DC Faithful...

"It's an honor for me to be here today. I want to say thanks to the Washington Nationals' organization for giving me the opportunity to be with the Nationals for the next two seasons, and, basically, my goal is just bring my experience into the ballclub, as a baseball player, and be ready to play in the field. I'm a player that I love to win, I love to play hard in the field, and I look forward to my teammates doing the same thing when we play..."

(cont.)....

"I played against (the Nationals) this year when I was with the Astros," Pudge continued, "and there's a lotta good things that we say about this ballclub, it's a team that hits very well, and plays in the field hard 100% of the time, and basically that's what I like to see. I'm a player that I love to play the game hard, 100%, and I'm sure that my new teammates look forward to doing the same thing for the organization and for the team. So, again, I appreciate it, I'm very happy and excited and I can't wait for Spring Training and to be a part of the team. So, thank you.

Asked what it was about the Nationals that attracted Pudge to DC, Rodriguez responded that the Nationals were a team that came to them with the two-year contract he was looking for, "I feel I can play this game for a few, uh, about two or three more years, and basically, you know they came out and they showed interest in (bringing) me to the team, and that was it you know...It's a great team, I love what I saw when I played against them and that's the reason why I decided to come to the Nationals."

Rodriguez says that communication with the Nats' pitchers will be important, "Spring Training is for that, to work with the pitcher. I know that I've never seen, I've never caught them, but at the same time, communication is very important, you know, in Spring Training we want to sit down and first of all, I want to talk to them and see what they like to do, how they like to pitch, and then we go from there. I'm not a difficult catcher, I just try to things very simple for the pitcher, so I just go with what they feel comfortable and we go from there.

Working with Jesus Flores? Are you looking forward to it? "Absolutely. We're all teammates," Rodriguez says, "and the goal is winning games. He's a talented player, hits very well, good catcher, and I'm sure that we're going to talk a lot. He's a guy that, I've talked to him before, he comes to me and says hello to me when we (play) against (each other)...and he's a very nice guy. So I look foward to talk to him, and whatever he needs, I'm here for that, but the most important thing is that we're here to win, we're here for one goal, just to win and have a good season and be in the playoffs in October." (ed. note - "Playoffs?")

Asked about how much he'll play this season, Rodriguez says he's ready to play every day. "I'm a player that can still player every day, and I will play every day, and basically the thing is just, do my best for the club. I know that it's hard for me to play 162 games, that's impossible for a catcher, but as long I'm healthy and I'm feeling great physically, I'll be in the field playing." 70-80 games? "Again, I said, I'm ready to play. I look forward to going to Spring Training and do my job and play the game. I'm a guy that I take care of myself very well, keeping myself in good shape, and I'm going to be in Spring Training in February ready to go. So, those decisions are not in my control. My control is just to go into Spring Training in good shape and be ready mentally and physically to play on an everyday basis."

?'s For The DC Faithful...

• Did Pudge get the memo about "mentoring" Flores, or is he just saying the standard "I'm ready to play every day."

• Did you see Dave from NNN at the press conference?

• Do you think a veteran catcher is better for the Nationals' young staff than another player, like Flores, who's still developing?

• Will Jesus Flores stay healthy and develop quickly enough to avoid being passed by? There are some other decent backstops in the system... 

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