Washington Nationals: AFL Update - Stephen Lombardozzi Starts For Scottsdale Scorpions.

• The Washington Nationals' '08 19th Round pick, infielder Stephen Lombardozzi's got a .293/.373/.402 career slash line in 313 games over the two years+ he's been playing in the organization after hitting .294/.371/.431 with 35 doubles, 11 triples and 6 HR's at two stops in the system this season with the Class-A Potomac Nationals and the Double-A Harrisburg Senators. In his AFL debut tonight, the 22-year-old infielder out of Fulton, Maryland and St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Florida started at second for the Scottsdale Scorpions, going 2 for 6 with 2 doubles, 1 run scored and 1 K in a 9-1 Scorpions' win over the Peoria Saguaros. Cole Kimball, the Nats' 25-year-old '06 12th Round pick, pitched a scoreless frame in the bottom of the ninth, striking out 3 on 12 pitches, 9 of them strikes. 

• Who is Josh Collmenter?: When DC GM Mike Rizzo announced this afternoon that the Nats' 2010 no.1 overall pick, Bryce Harper, would be playing in the Arizona Fall League this year, the Nationals' general manager told reporters (as quoted by CSN and Nats Insider writer Mark Zuckerman in an article entitled, "Nats Will Send Harper To Arizona Fall League"), that the trip to the AFL to play with and against some of the top prospects in baseball, provided:

"...an opportunity for us to have this guy immersed into baseball for two more months at an accelerated rate with great players around him, for a lot of that stuff to rub off on him and really learn the professional game at probably its highest level [other than] the big leagues."

According to D-Backs' pitching prospect Josh Collmenter, the team has already begun to talk about their soon-to-be-teammate. Collmenter, 24, an '07 15th Round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who pitched at three levels in the D-Backs' system this season, posting a (14-6) record in 25 starts and 152.0 IP in which he struck out 133 (7.9 K/9) and walked 51 (3.0 K/9), made his AFL debut this afternoon, throwing 3.0 scoreless in which he allowed just 1 walk and 3 hits, earning the W in Scottsdale's 9-1 win over the Peoria Saguaros. After the game, Collmenter spoke to MLB.com's Danny Wild for an article entitled, "Collmenter doesn't miss a beat in AFL debut", in which he's quoted stating that, "'There's been a little talk, some of the Nationals guys, I guess, found out and I've heard some jokes going around about the eye black,' he laughed." :

"But it'll be a good chance for that kid. There's a lot of veterans here who've been up to Triple-A or the Majors, so hopefully he comes in and absorbs as much information as he can from players and coaches to further his career. The sky's the limit for him, so it'll be a good opportunity for him."

I hope Harper has a sense of humor. And I'm really happy Rizzo said no more eye black. Why do I get the feeling Harper's going to walk into a room full of faces smeared with Harper's trademark eye-black-ooze...

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