Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Return Home, Welcome Ryan Zimmerman Back To Lineup...

• Programming Notes: Yes, Ryan Zimmerman is expected to be back in the lineup when the Nationals start their upcoming nine-game homestand, but no, the homestand doesn't start tonight. No Nats tonight. It's a Monday without baseball, at least in NatsTown, but it will only make it better when Zimmerman's at third tomorrow night with Yunesky Maya on the mound. 7:05 pm EDT Tuesday night. Here's some reading to occupy your time til then...

• LINKS AND LINKS AND: 

• NATS BEAT: 

• "The Nationals, it’s safe to say 66 games into the season, have turned from one of the worst defensive teams in the majors to an excellent one." - "Nationals have improved their defense, just like they planned" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "This Nationals roster was constructed to win games like Sunday's, and the half-dozen like it the team has played since jetting three time zones west." - "Nationals winning games almost the way they drew it up" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "Two silver luxury automobiles rolled into Orlando, Fla., in January 2006. Behind the wheel of the Porsche Gemballa GTR 600 Biturbo was Jose Negron Rivera, called 'Nino Brown.'" - "Records reveal Hernandez's drug-ring ties" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "'We had some poor at-bats, and then we had some good at-bats with no luck,' Riggleman said. "We’ve just got to keep putting them out there.'" - "Zimmermann extends Nats' streak of solid starts in win" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "For eight innings, the Nationals’ hitters took brilliant starting pitching and flawless defense, rolled them up and tossed them in a wastebasket." - "Nationals vs. Padres: Washington takes series with 2-0 victory" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Unless you're 50 or older, the name may not mean much. Reno was a big league infielder for all or parts of 10 seasons, including two - 1959-60 - with the Senators." - "Reno Bertoia, 1935-2011" - Phil Wood, MASNSports.com

• "Only one major-league club boasts a fielding percentage better than the Nationals' .987 mark: The Phillies (.988). And now they're about to get their Gold Glove third baseman back." - "Nationals ready for Zimmerman's return" - Mark Zuckerman, CSNWashington.com

• "'I wasn't sure [if I hit a grand slam],' Espinosa said. 'The field plays so big. It kind of got to that short wall. I thought it might have a chance..."' - Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres: Nationals break through late to top Padres" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Matt Stairs will be the first person to tell you he's not happy with the way his 2011 season has gone." - "A season to forget for Matt Stairs gets some redemption" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'Is it frustrating to have five hits already this year? Yeah,' Stairs said." - "After a tough season, Matt Stairs deliver" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'So Zim thinks he's just going to come back and take my spot, huh?' Hairston joked..." - "Thoughts from San Diego" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "With seven scoreless innings on Sunday, Jordan Zimmermann won three games on the road trip, allowing three runs or fewer and pitching seven innings in all of them." - "St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals: After getting swept, Cards face hot Nationals" - Anthony Fenech, MLB.com

• NATS MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES: 

• Class-A Hagerstown: Bryce Harper - 0 for 2, 1 BB, 2 R, .338 AVG; Robbie Ray - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB,3 K's - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

Class-A Potomac: "A performance like the one on Saturday night might be just what Trevor Holder needs to get his season on track." - "Holder blanks Sox in best '11 start" - Robert Emrich, MiLB.com News

Class-A Potomac: "When Hood struggles at the plate, he can quickly go back to a day where everything worked and repeat those tendencies." - "Prospect Hood's 'outstanding' play garners All-Star nod" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Class-A Potomac: "Potomac scored one run per inning from the third through the sixth, and outfielder J.R. Higley led the offensive effort. But, it was Destin Hood the put the P-Nats on the board first." - "Higley Helps Potomac to Series Sweep" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Senators: "The Akron Aeros completed a three-game sweep of the Senators on Sunday with a 5-4 win in front of 6,343, the largest crowd this season at Metro Bank Park." - "Senators swept at home by Akron" - Harrisburg Senators News

Double-A Senators: "The Senators had three days of failing to execute the little things that make the difference between winning and losing. They made errors - both ones scored as such and ones not." - "Game 61: Aeros 5, Senators 4" - Mick Reinhard, The Sports 'Burger

• Triple-A Syracuse: "Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, in Syracuse on a rehab assignment from the Nationals, finished the game 0-for-5." - "Yankees survive Chiefs' ninth-inning rally" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Brad Peacock continues to dominate Eastern League batters, this time to the tune of 10 Strasburgesque strikeouts of the Akron Aeros with only one walk." - "Monday’s News & Notes" - Sue Dinem, NationalsProspects.com

• SHARKNATSTOWN: 

• "What we need is another cupcake shop that sells exclusively Shark-themed cupcakes." - "Happy Birthday, Shark!" - Sharkadina: Roger Bernadina's Unofficial Blog

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Wonderful spiritual qualities, such as unbounded love and compassion, are present as potentials in all our minds." - 

• NATSTOWN: 

• "Wilson Ramos. He left six runners on base, had a killer double play and ended up 0-for-4 at the dish with a strikeout. It was a day to forget for Ramos..." - "GAME 66 REVIEW: Zimmermann Shines, Late Heroics Beat Padres 2-0" - Tyler Radecki, Nats News Network

• "Every time [Jordan Zimmermann] pitches, I tend to write a glowing article about his results, and once again he had a spectacular game." - "Before Zimmerman Returns, Zimmermann Shines" Charlie, The Nationals Review

• "Harper's kiss is probably the biggest non-story ever. He blew a kiss, he showed up the pitcher in a Minor League game. Big deal. Kids will be kids." - "Bryce Harper, Zach Houchins Made Mistakes, But They Should Be Allowed To Grow From Them" - Andrew Kinback, SB Nation DC

• "Unfortunately though the Nats would be foolish not to deal Marquis (who very well might be the best pitcher on the market), Nix, and some relief arms." - "The end of the Long Road" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "In the bottom of the inning, it would be Drew Storen's turn to hold the lid on tight." - "Why Drew Storen's Sunday save might have been his biggest yet" - Mike Henderson, Hendo's Hutch | Washington Nationals Daily News

• "I've usually insisted that batting order is an overrated strategic decision by the manager, so I don't want to go overboard on this topic." - "Chalk One Up for Riggleman's Super-Saber Lineup" - Steven, FJB

• "Before the team bus left for the airport for the flight home, Nationals officials reportedly checked the bases at PETCO Park for stranded Nationals." - "Twodeloo!" - Nats Enquirer

• "Given the ineptitude of the club's offense this season, Clippard could be arguably the team's most valuable player." "Should the Nationals consider trading Clippard?" - Will Yoder, Nationals Buzz, MASNSports.com

• NL EAST UPDATES: 

Braves"The Braves hope they’re finally seeing the return of Dan Uggla, and the Astros are happy they won’t see Tommy Hanson again anytime soon." - "Hanson strikes out 14, Braves keep winnin" - David O'Brien, ajc.com

Mets: "'They should make the effort and try to sign him, for sure,' Carlos Beltran told The Post, about the Mets and Jose Reyes.'" - "Others now saying Reyes not likely to be traded" - Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com

Marlins: "Manager Edwin Rodriguez said Sunday there's 'a big chance' Ramirez, hitting just .210 with four homers and 17 RBI, will be the Marlins new leadoff hitter when he returns." - "Hanley eager to return, expects to hit leadoff Tuesday in Philly" - Clark Spencer, Fish Bytes, The Miami Herald

Phillies: "Something’s wrong with Roy Oswalt. Everyone can see it, including those in both the traditional and Sabermetric crowds." - "Time to Give Roy Oswalt a Breather" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

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