Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Prospect Stephen Lombardozzi To Syracuse, Chad Cordero, More Nats/Upton Talk.

"The Shark", aka Roger Bernadina, should have had this one. So close...SI.com's Jon Heyman has the Shark on a list some in NatsTown won't like. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

• Fulton, Maryland-native Stephen Lombardozzi, an '08 13th Round pick, traveled to the Arizona Fall League after a 2010 season which saw the 22-year-old infielder post a combined .294/.371/.431 slash in 137 games and 625 plate appearances split between Class-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in what was Lombardozzi's third season in the Nationals' system. The switch-hitting shortstop/second baseman put up a .293/.385/.439 line in 21 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions in which he hit eight doubles and two triples. 

Lombardozzi started the 2011 campaign in Double-A after playing just 27 of his 137 2010 games with Harrisburg. In 65 games and 291 plate appearances this year, the son of former major leaguer Steve Lombardozzi has hit 12 doubles, seven triples and four home runs, to go with a .309/.366/.454 slash and 16 stolen bases in 19 attempts. The younger Lombardozzi got one step closer today to following in the footsteps of his father, who spent time with the Twins and Astros over the course of his six-year MLB career. Lombardozzi was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse earlier today as the Harrisburg Senators (@hbgsenators) announced on the Twitter. 

Lombardozzi will be managed at Triple-A by Chiefs' skipper Randy Knorr, who told MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr this winter, in an article entitled, "Knorr: Lombardozzi 'just knows the game'", that he calls Lombardozzi "Mr. Perfect":

"'He just knows the game. He is one of those guys - he asked me a question in Arizona, 'So what do I need to work on?' I am thinking, 'Steve, I got to be honest with you, I think you just need to play.' "

Note: Minor League Ball's John Sickels had Lombardozzi ranked 14th of 20 in his 2011 list of the Nationals' top prospects, giving him a C- grade, though he wrote that he, "...seem[s] to like [Lombardozzi] more than other people."

• Hail To The Chief: 

Former Montreal Expos' draft pick and Washington Nationals' (and Expos') closer Chad Cordero told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore today, in an article entitled, "Chad Cordero on retirement, his future and wanting to play for the Nationals", that he missed the nation's capital as much as Nats fans have missed their flat-brimmed closer:

"It was tough to go through how I had to leave, deep down I always wanted to come back and play there one more year."

Cordero said he'd love to come back and visit the city he'd helped transition back into being a major league city with his electrifying, nail-biting late-inning outings in 2005 and three years afterwards before a torn labrum in his right shoulder effectively ended the now-29-year-old right-hander's career. "Maybe I’ll come back and visit a couple times," Cordero told the WaPost writer, "...go down on the field. My wife and I, we still love the city. I still love that organization." From what I've heard from the good citizens of NatsTown in the last twenty-four hours since Cordero announced his retirement, the Chief's fans would like another chance to say thank you to Cordero too. Hope it happens soon. 

LINK: "Chad Cordero Retires From Professional Baseball" - Grant Brisbee, SB Nation: Baseball Nation

More On Upton: 

It's the rumor that just won't die. Earlier in the week, we documented a year's worth of whispers from unnamed sources discussing the Washington Nationals' interest in Tampa Bay Rays' outfielder B.J. Upton, who may or may not be available, according to what you read.

ESPN.com's Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) tweeted two days ago that, "The Rays will listen to offers on B.J. Upton --but probably won't trade him unless they can get a good bat in trade (not nec. in same trade)," and Boston Globe.com writer Nick Cafardo wrote Sunday in his "Baseball Notes" column entitled, "In a renaissance of pitching, artists paint the corners", that this situation has become a, "should-we-or-shouldn’t-we-trade-him dilemma for the Rays,":

"The Nationals, for one, want a young center fielder they can grow with. Many believe Upton will smooth out and be that guy. So is he available? All signs point to yes."

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark's not so sure Upton will be available, as he wrote this afternoon in the latest edition of his Rumblings and Grumblings" column in a section subtitled, "Ready to Rumble":

"Are the Rays likely to trade B.J. Upton this summer? That would be no, according to clubs that have spoken with them. But the Nationals have sent in multiple scouts to watch Upton all season just in case."

The problem, according to Mr. Stark, is that the Rays need catching, and the Nationals would rather part with Pudge Rodriguez or Jesus Flores, two players of little interest to Tampa Bay, and, as Mr. Stark writes, the Nats have, "...have made their catcher of the present and future, Wilson Ramos, all but untouchable." 

BTW: Pudge Rodriguez's name came up again yesterday in SI.com's Jon Heyman's article entitled, "Mets' Reyes and Beltran top list of hitters on early trade market", in which he mentions the fact that the Red Sox and Giants "kicked the tires" (my cliche not Mr. Heyman's) on the future Hall of Fame catcher earlier this year before pursuing other options. As for Pudge, Mr. Heyman writes that, "The Nationals aren't anxious to move him but will do so for the right young player." And for what it's worth, Roger Bernadina also appears on Mr. Heyman's list of potentially available bats, with the SI.com writer noting that,, "There's a sense the Nationals aren't sold on him, though he's coming on lately (.281 average) and has talent."

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