Washington Nationals: Off-Day Musings...WBC Game Thread - USA vs Puerto Rico.

Hill Passes Test...

Monday: Nationals 3 Marlins 1

For a moment there yesterday afternoon I was worried, Dave from the Nats News Network (NNN) sent a text that read, "Zimmermann (Jordan) is already warming up, (Shawn) Hill might not even pitch," and it took me long enough to remember that I'd read about Hill only pitching one inning, that I'd already sent it out on The Federalbaseball.com TWITTERFEED before I put together that Zimmermann would have to be warming up before the first to come on in the second, and the NNN came to the same conclusion, writing back quickly, "Apparently Hill is limited to 25 pitches today," just as I was able to check and see that Shawn Hill had managed to throw a scoreless, hitless frame with 2 K's, and after Hill it was Zimmermann, who wants a starting spot in the '09 Nationals' rotation, making his argument with 4.0 more scoreless innings over which he allowed just two hits, with no walks and 6 K's... 

Jordan Zimmermann's Argument...

Spring #'s - (1-0), 0.00 ERA, 4 G, 2 GS, 12.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 16 K's.

The DC Lineup...

Lastings Milledge was 3 for 4 with a double in the leadoff spot Monday. Kory "Limbo" Casto was 1 for 5, with a run scored and an RBI, making Manny Acta's decision even harder, since, as MLB.com's Bill Ladson reported last week in an article entitled, "Nats have decision to make on Casto", the 27-year-old IF/OF, "...is out of minor league options", meaning he either stays on the roster or the Nationals risk someone claiming him on waivers before he can be sent down to one of Washington's affiliates...(ed. note - "Keep making them think about it Casto!!") Emilio Bonifacio was 0 for 4 with a run scored against the team that traded him to Marlins...

Peter Gammons' Note...GAME THREAD...

ESPN.com's Peter Gammons, in a recent post (For Insiders Only) entitled, "AL East becoming a pitching division", mentions that the Washington Nationals are trying to shop, "Austin Kearns and his $9M dollar contract"...(ed. note - "$8M in '09 + Assumed $1M buyout?") ...If the Nationals are trying to find someone desperate enough for an outfielder to take Austin Kearns off their hands...does that mean Elijah Dukes gets the starting job in right? Trading Kearns, however, doesn't clear up the Nationals' 1st base/left field situation at all...Don't tell me Washington is going to trade Austin Kearns and Nick Johnson...Kearns and Josh Willingham? What will "Acting" GM Mike Rizzo do? Since last season ended, Austing Kearns, Nick Johnson, Lastings Milledge and Josh Willingham have all been mentioned as "the player who'll get traded" to make room in the overcrowded outfield...it's now, March 16th...the first game of the season is on April 6th...No rush or anything...

Adam Dunn in the WBC...

5 games into the 2009 World Baseball Classic, DC outfielder Adam Dunn has hit in 7 of 13 at bats for a .538 AVG with 3 HR's and 4 RBI's. Dunn's tied for the WBC HR lead with Cuba's Frederich Cepeda and Mexico's Karim Garcia. Dunn's also tied for second in walks with 6. Team USA turns to Chicago Cubs' starter Ted Lilly for tonight's start, but a lineup that was injury-riddled already, lost both relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom and possibly IF/OF Ryan Braun yesterday...

(ed. note - "Speaking of Mr. Lindstrom, Anyone who watched the US/Netherlands game will get a kick out of this...I was listening to XM's MLB coverage, and Team USA Coach Billy Ripken kept a straight face (or voice, it was radio?) when he said he spoke to Matt Lindstrom, who assured his coach he had no intention of throwing behind a Netherlands batter in the AB after a Dutch teammate spent a little too much time watching a home run...I for one believe Matt Lindstrom.")

Puerto Rico starts the San Francisco Giants' 26-year-old left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. Still-unsigned-Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez has led the PR offensively, with 2 HR's and 6 RBI's in 5 games over which he's hit in 10 of 19 AB's for a .526 AVG before play begins tonight. DC fans will also recognize our old friend "FLop" Felipe Lopez playing second for Puerto Rico, and our own Saul "Sa-ool" Rivera*, who hasn't allowed a run in 4 appearancs and 2.2 IP...

Either Adam Dunn and "Wild" Joel Hanrahan, or Saul Rivera will be back playing for the Nationals after tonight's game...Hanrahan you ask? Hanny's WBC stats: 3 G, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K...Hanny'd better get back before Garrett Mock starts to look like a closer...

(ed. note - " * = Further Reading: Kristen Hudak of We've Got Heart and MASN, had a great article about Saul Rivera's participation in the WBC entitled, "Saul Rivera Still Perfect For Puerto Rico.")

7:00 pm EST start, USA vs Puerto Rico...Loser Leaves Town.

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