PREVIOUSLY ON LOST MASN:
When last we saw the Washington Nationals, in Atlanta, Georgia's Turner Field on October 4th 2009, they were completing a seven-game win streak, capped off by win number 59 of 162, which ended when Elijah Dukes took a one-out walk off Braves' lefty (now a Yankee) Boone Logan...moved to second on a two-out single by Wil Nieves...and scored on Alberto Gonzalez's RBI single, giving the Nats a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifteenth inning of a four hour and eighteen minute season finale. Given one last glimpse of the ways in which Dukes can influence a game, fans of the Washington Nationals are definitely expecting a lot more this year from the 25-year-old outfielder than they have in previous seasons, but as we learned this winter, he expects as much of himself. Alberto Gonzalez is back and battling for a job as a backup infielder. Wil Nieves has job stability as long as Jesus Flores is on the DL recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum. The Braves' Boone Logan got shipped to New York along with former Expo, Yankee, D-Back, White Sock and now Brave, Javier Vazquez, who's out of the NL East at least. The winning pitcher that day in October was Nationals' right-hander Logan Kensing, (whose nickname I'll refrain from using for now to start things on a positive note), who's back on a minor league deal with an invite to compete for a role in a DC bullpen he'll have a tough time cracking...uh, in my opinion?
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• Mock And Martin On The Mounds.
• Starting Lineups.
• Mock And Martin On The Mounds.
It's a spilt-squad Spring opener this afternoon, with 27-year-old right-hander J.D. Martin on the mound against the Marlins in Florida's spring home, Roger Dean Stadium, while Garrett Mock, who'll turn 27 in April, takes the mound against the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Florida's Oceola County Stadium. Both games begin at 1:05 pm EST.
Martin, one of two Nationals' starters to finish 2009 over .500 at (5-4) in 15 starts and 77.0 IP, K'd 37 (4.3 K/9) and walked 24 (2.8 BB/9), posting a 4.44 ERA (95 ERA+, 5.67 FIP) and a 1.42 WHIP after debuting with DC in mid-July. Mock was (5-1) in 8 starts and 5 relief appearances with Triple-A Syracuse last season, posting a 2.65 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in 51.0 IP in which the former Arizona D-Backs' '04 3rd Round Draft pick walked 13 (2.3 BB/9) and struck out 48 (8.5 K/9). In Washington, however, the right-hander struggled to a (3-10) record in 15 starts and 13 relief appearances over which he gave up 114 hits (11.2 H/9), 44 walks (4.3 BB/9) and 57 ER (5.62 ERA, 75 ERA+, 4.28 FIP) over 91.1 IP in which he struck out 72 (7.1 K/9) and posted a 1.73 WHIP.
vs Florida -
- Willie Harris - 2B
- Ian Desmond - SS
- Ivan Rodriguez - C
- Adam Dunn - 1B
- Mike Morse - LF
- Justin Maxwell - CF
- Eric Bruntlett - 3B
- Jerry Owens - RF
- J.D. Martin - RHP
• Notes: Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore reported that the Nationals' 2nd 1st Round pick Drew Storen will make his debut this afternoon in the game against Houston. DC right-hander Collin Balester reported via Twitter that he'd be on the mound today as well. MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr wrote Wednesday in an article entitled, "Nyjer Morgan's nickname for Maxwell", that, "...he is comfortable staying in the outfield and has not been asked to play first base yet." Hmm? Justin Maxwell at first? Mr. Kerr's the one who brings it up, but Maxwell says he wants to remain in the outfield. (ed. note - "Maxell's nickname? You'll have to listen to the audio of the interview.") DC GM Mike Rizzo didn't budge from the team's official stance on Stephen Strasburg when asked about they're plans for the '09 no.1 overall pick, as Mr. Rizzo tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson in an article entitled, "Q&A with Mike Rizzo", that they'll, "...do what's best for Stephen and the Washington Nationals in 2010 and beyond," but in a follow-up question about his approach to handling young players historically, Mr. Rizzo reveals a bit more:
"To rush a person to the big leagues and to have them take two or three steps backwards, I think, is the wrong plan. ... I have a plan in my mind for Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Derek Norris and all the rest of our top-flight prospects. We are going to dictate to them how we are going to handle their careers. But it's always in the best interest of the player and the organization."
• Gameday Audio for both of today's games is available at MLB.com if you have a subscription. (ed. note - "This is not an ad, just a helpful bit of info.")