Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Friday Rumor Mill, Chien-Ming Wang's Return, Tigers Target Jason Marquis?

• Programming Notes: Chien-Ming Wang makes his first start in over two years for a team that's lost five straight in a post-All-Star Break stretch that's tested the confidence the Washington Nationals have built up over the first few months of the 2011 campaign. The 31-year-old right-hander's first start caps off a long rehab process. The focus tonight in likely to be on Wang's return, but more than a strong outing from a pitcher the Nats have invested in for two years of rehabilitation, the Nationals need a curly-W to stop the current slide. Welcome back to the Majors, Chien-Ming Wang, now beat the Mets. The NY Mets throw right-hander Dillon Gee. Game time 7:05 pm EDT. MASN 2 HD, 106.7 the FAN in D.C., 1500 WFED, Sirius/XM ch. 183. Who's Watching The Nationals?

• LINKS AND LINKS AND: 

• NATS BEAT: 

• "In addition, the Tigers were discussing a trade for Nationals right-hander Jason Marquis, who perhaps is a more realistic alternative than Jimenez..." - "Detroit Tigers looking to upgrade rotation" - Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi - FOX Sports on MSN

• "The Nationals have long coveted Upton and are considered by some the leading candidate to acquire him." - "Trade market for Tampa Bay Rays' B.J. Upton may be growing clear" - Marc Tompkin, St. Petersburg Times

• "Despite the rough first day in the lineup, Gomes didn’t expect much of an in-game change from the Reds to the Nationals." - "In rough debut, Jonny Gomes still in ‘interview stage’" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "The one consistent thing with the rest of the season has been their offense; it's still unable to drive in runs, only now, the Nationals aren't playing well enough to survive that." - "Nationals get swept after sloppy loss to Marlins" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "By the look on Davey Johnson's face after the Nationals' 5-2 home loss to the Marlins on Thursday, it was pretty clear the veteran skipper was not happy." - "Florida Marlins at Washington Nationals: Nationals' bats silenced in finale vs Marlins" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "There have been plenty of facets of the Nationals’ game for their manager to find frustration with since, including an offense that’s hitting .234." - "Too many mistakes make for a long day for Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I'd say up until this point we've been doing the little things to help us win games, help us stay in games,' said right fielder Jayson Werth, who drove in both runs." - "Marlins complete sweep of Nats" - Mark Zuckerman, CSNWashington.com

• "Southpaw Doug Slaten hasn't pitched since early June because of a left sore elbow." - "Slaten ready to begin throwing program" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals recently have abandoned the crisp, opportunistic baseball that lifted them to a stretch of 13 wins in the 15 games prior to Johnson’s arrival." - "Nationals vs. Marlins: Washington falls, 5-2" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Jason Marquis is scheduled to start on Saturday night, but the Nationals are fielding trade offers for the right-hander." - "With trade deadline looming, Nationals juggling rotation" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "The rumors are not something lost on the players. Everyone walks around with a keen eye. This past weekend, the name on everyone's tongues was Ian Desmond's." - "With trade chatter rampant, the Nationals try to find their way back to winning" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "On Friday, the pitcher the Nats will ask to play stopper hasn't made a big league start in more than two years." - "New York Mets at Washington Nationals: Wang makes first start since '09, faces sizzling Mets" - Evan Dreilich, MLB.com Preview

• NATS MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES: 

Class-A Auburn: "Wirkin Estevez threw five shutout innings, giving up just four hits and no runs, decreasing the Doubledays starting pitchers' ERA in the past eight starts to 1.64." - "Estevez's Great Outing Wasted in 3-1 Los" - Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Hagerstown: "Hagerstown RHP A.J. Cole (2-6), the losing pitcher, surrendered five earned runs on four hits, while walking five and fanning five." - "Hagerstown Rally Falls Just Short as Delmarva Triumphs 5-4" - Hagerstown Suns News

• Class-A Potomac: Destin Hood - 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 RBI; Paul Demny - 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 10 K's - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard

 Double-A Harrisburg: Chris Rahl - 3 for 6, 1 3B, 1 RBI; Erik Arnesen - 8.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 9 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Chiefs started what would become an early slugfest in the first when Brian Bixler crushed a solo homer to center field." - "Chiefs rally late for wild 6-5 win" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Nationals director of player development Doug Harris is really excited about Hood and his continuing positive progress." - "Destin Hood's overall game lifting P-Nats during second-half run" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Catching Up On Transactions" - NationalsProspects.com

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Meet hostility and suspicion with kindness. Helping others out of love is always the best option."

SHARKNATSTOWN: 

• "Perhaps due to his recent slow spell at the plate, the Shark did not start against RHP Javier Vazquez.  Had he, the outcome might have been different." - "FREE SHARK FIN HAT DAY" - Sharkadina

• NATSTOWN: 

• "Several critics of the team say that Davey Johnson has been outmanaged by his counterparts on several occasions." - "Frustration grows with Nationals' lackluster play" - MASNSports.com, Nationals Buzz: Ted Youngling - The Nats Blog

• "Mark J. Miller at Yahoo! Sports reports that the Washington Nationals could be the front runners to acquire Tampa Bay Rays’ OF B.J. Upton." - "Upton To Nats Rumors Continue To Circulate" - Will Yoder, The Nats Blog

• "The starting pitcher threw 115 pitches in 5 2/3 innings. Three lead off walks came around to score.  A missed sign by the third base coach at a critical juncture killed a rally." - "GAME 104 REVIEW: Marlins Sweep, Nats Frustration Grows as Losing Streak Hits Five" - Dave Nichols, Nats News Network

• "5 losses in a row, 6 under .500, and Davey's boat is sinking..." - "Swept Away" - Nats Enquirer

• "Over the past eight months, two of the most talented young center fielders in baseball have changed teams. Both are 24 years old." - "The Center Fielders Who Got Away" - Steven, FJB

• "All those things aside, Livan is having another solid year where his ERA, WHIP, FIP, and K/9 are all better than his career totals." - "Trade Watch 2011: Livan Hernandez" - Mac, Capitol Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES: 

Mets: "Johan Santana was back on the mound for the first time in almost 11 months Thursday night and looked solid for three innings." - "Johan Santana Sharp In Rehab Start" - Hojo's Mojo, Mets Merized Online

Phillies: "Those closest to Ruben Amaro Jr. characterize his management strategy in the same manner as most neutral observers. Aggressive." - "Phillies Notebook: Phillies manning phones as trade deadline nears" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

Braves: "Atlanta split the four-game series with the Pirates and logged 22 innings from the bullpen, 21 of them scoreless." - "Braves vs. Pirates Series Recap" - TonyAlmeyda, Talking Chop

Marlins: "The Marlins completed a three-game series sweep of the Nationals Thursday afternoon, despite getting just 3 2/3 innings out of starter Brad Hand." - "Fish Wrap: Marlins 5, Nationals 2" - GameFish, Fish Stripes

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