Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Reliever Henry Rodriguez's Wild Night.

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 21: Relief pitcher Henry Rodriguez #63 of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 21, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Nationals won 2-1. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

"My heart's still ticking," Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters last night after Henry Rodriguez gave the Nats another scare with a wild-pitch-filled outing in Citizens Bank Park. "I survived some wild pitchers. I had Doug Sisk in [New York], he'd walk two or three guys then get a double play. Henry's either lights out or sometimes it's exciting." After defending the Nats' 25-year-old right-hander in the press recently, the Nats' 69-year-old skipper finally admitted last night that Rodriguez's struggles have him considering his late-inning options. "It's frustrating," Johnson said, "I have all the confidence in the world in [Rodriguez]. He's got a great arm. Great stuff. Sometimes he tries to do too much and gets a little excited out there. It's not easy. He learned a lot last year, came a long way last year and he's come a long way this year, but he's not quite there to be a polished closer." So, if the Nats have a lead in the ninth tonight, who gets the call? Sean Burnett? Craig Stammen? "I'm going to sleep on it, but I'm looking at alternatives," Johnson said, suggesting it might just be a closer-by-committee for now... Lots of Henry Rodriguez chatter and more in today's link post. Get to reading, RIGHT NOW!!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "In a debacle of a ninth inning, [Henry] Rodriguez faced three batters. He threw two actual wild pitches and several others that went to the backstop with no runners on base as he walked leadoff man John Mayberry Jr." - "In Nationals win over Phillies, questions arise at closer" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• NATS BEAT:

• "[Henry] Rodriguez came into a 2-0 ballgame tonight and was set to face the 6-7-8 hitters in Philadelphia's order." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson on closer role: 'I'm looking at alternatives'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "One week after [Davey] Johnson staunchly stood by him, Henry Rodriguez is no longer the Nationals’ closer." - "Nationals vs. Phillies: Sean Burnett cleans up Henry Rodriguez’s mess in ninth inning after Gio Gonzalez shines" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "These days, when Henry Rodriguez takes the mound for the ninth inning, the rest of the Nationals bullpen stands at the ready..." - "Sigh of relief" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "[Brad] Lidge said he will throw a light bullpen session on Wednesday, then fly to Viera, Fla., to continue his rehab at the Nationals' Spring Training facility." - "Lidge cleared to begin throwing off mound" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Stephen Strasburg retired the final 10 batters he faced and he and Jesus Flores hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning to help lift their team to an eventual 9-3 victory." - "Nationals' Strasburg takes a deep breath" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "Ryan Mattheus has plantar fasciitis in his left foot, an injury that could sideline the Nationals reliever as much as two weeks." - "Mattheus could miss two weeks" - Chase Hughes, CSNWashington.com

• "After [Gio] Gonzalez struck out nine total, he leads the major leagues with 69 strikeouts, one more than Justin Verlander. He leads the Nationals with a 1.98 ERA." - "Gio Gonzalez, leading the majors in strikeouts, is among the elite" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "[Gio] Gonzalez went six innings, allowing only three hits with three walks and those nine strikeouts. But it took Gonzalez 108 pitches to get those 18 outs." - "Johnson believes Gio can do more with less" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "'We'll know a lot more tomorrow after I see the specialist in Baltimore,' [Ryan] Mattheus said. 'If it's something that I'm not injuring further, I'll come right back here and try to get in there tomorrow.'" - "X-rays negative on Mattheus' foot, will see specialist Tuesday" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Ryan] Mattheus has been pitching with soreness in his foot for about two weeks, he said, and he aggravated the injury Monday afternoon..." - "Ryan Mattheus to visit specialist, will miss two weeks at worst" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "What's the reason for his newfound power stroke? Possibly his baby boy. "'I think daddy strength,' Desmond said. 'They say when you have a kid, you get stronger. Thanks, Grayson.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Desmond provides pop, Mattheus awaits further word on injured foot" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Due to the shaky ninth inning, though, [Davey] Johnson admitted that he's rethinking how he'll use his bullpen in save situations moving forward." - "Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies - May 21, 2012" - Paul Hagen, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "[Davey] Johnson said [Stephen] Strasburg told him Sunday he didn't want the manager to think he was 'not a man or something' for noting the arm discomfort." - "Strasburg will make next start" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Getting to the root of [Henry] Rodriguez's issues -- figuring out why he can be jaw-droppingly good one night and ulcer-inducingly bad the next -- isn't an easy task." - "Ian Desmond offers interesting take on Henry Rodriguez's wildness" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "It came as a surprise to Steve Lombardozzi this afternoon when third base coach Bo Porter approached him and told him he would be starting in left field." - "Steve Lombardozzi could start seeing more time in the Nationals’ lineup" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "On Saturday, Danny Espinosa was out of the lineup after laboring through a 3-for-18 home stand." - "Leading off didn't put added pressure on Espinosa" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Davey] Johnson said [Stephen] Strasburg told him Sunday he didn't want the manager to think he was 'not a man or something' for noting the arm discomfort." - "Strasburg will make next start" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Manager Davey Johnson spends more time going over trainer Lee Kuntz's daily medical report than batting and pitching averages." - "Davey Johnson, Nationals a perfect match" - Hal Bodley, nationals.com: News

• "Gio Gonzalez pitched six shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing just three hits. Craig Stammen delivered two monster frames in relief, serving as the bridge to the ninth inning." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats escape with 2-1 win over Phillies" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'I wasn't really concerned that much after he came out. I thought it was normal tightness,' Johnson said. 'But anything at all with him, everything with him is magnified. He's going to make his next start, and that's all I know.'" - "Nationals expect Strasburg to make next start" - Paul Hagen, nationals.com: News

• "Reliever Ryan Mattheus was running Monday in the outfield at Citizens Bank Park when he felt some soreness that had been bothering his left foot for a few weeks flare up." - "Mattheus dealing with left foot injury, Lidge to throw bullpen & other injury updates" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Anybody who says [Stephen] Strasburg should go past 165 or so innings is only proving that they have a lot left to learn about baseball AND about the ethical responsibilities that franchises have to their athletes." - "Ask Boswell about all things Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "After starting the season with a 1-1 record and a 1.38 ERA, [Jordan] Zimmermann is 1-3 with a 3.91 ERA. He's actually pitched better on the road (2-1, 1.35 ERA) than at Nationals Park (0-3, 3.34)." - "Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies - May 22, 2012" - Jake Kaplan, MLB.com Preview

• "As for the starting job, though, the Nationals believe that [Jesus] Flores is capable of handling the everyday duties with [Wilson] Ramos out." - "Flores adjusting to his role as starting catcher" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "It came as a surprise to Steve Lombardozzi this afternoon when third base coach Bo Porter approached him and told him he would be starting in left field." - "Steve Lombardozzi could start seeing more time in the Nationals’ lineup" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Genuine friendship depends on genuine affection and taking a sense of responsibility for each other." -

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns starting pitcher Alex Meyer did not factor in the decision, allowing four runs in five innings." - "Suns Rally Late, Walk-Off Against Delmarva" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Behind a stellar start from Greg Billo, the Wilmington Blue Rocks shut out the Potomac Nationals 7-0 at Frawley Stadium on Monday night." - "Wilmington Blanks Potomac 7-0" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Curve 4, Senators 2 - Jose Lozada - 3 for 4, 1 3B; Jeff Mandel - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "Corey Brown's first-pitch home run gave the Chiefs an immediate lead, and five Syracuse pitchers combined to hold Toledo to just one run on four hits." - "Brown, Roark lead Chiefs past Mud Hens" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Who knows where [Jim] Negrych was because the 27-year old infielder doesn’t even recall, but he was the new name on the Syracuse Chiefs roster." - "Gutting it out" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Tuesday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• "Washington Nationals Minor League Scoreboard for May 21" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• NATSTOWN:

• "No batteries, perhaps, but a bit of garbage fluttered toward the Nats outfielder during the ninth inning Monday night." - "Morning pixels: Someone threw something at Bryce Harper" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "Through 22 games, [Bryce] Harper is hitting .256/.340/.451 with two home runs and seven RBIs. He currently ranks him 13th among major league rookies in WAR..." - "Only a teen, Harper hitting in some elite company" - Nationals Buzz: Will Yoder, MASNSports.com

• "The Washington Nationals are off to the best start in team history at 25-17 and are a half-game out of first place in the National League East behind the Atlanta Braves." - "Nationals 'World Series Contender' According to SI.com Power Rankings" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Bob Larner, a talented twirler for the Creightons would soon make his mark on sports in the District." - "The Bob Larner Story – One of the best known newspaper men in the District" - Karen and Kevin Flynn, D.C. Baseball History

• "Ho hum, just another Nats win over the last-place Phillies." - "Burn Notice" - Nats Enquirer

• "It has NOTHING to do with being a closer. He was great as a closer the first month." - "Not sure I can post today..." - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "For the better part of eight innings, the Washington Nationals held a small, but seemingly comfortable, lead over the Philadelphia Phillies..." - "Washington Nationals Game 42 Review: Burnett cleans up for Hot Rod in 2-1 win over Phillies" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Marlins: "What did Marlins players tell Giancarlo Stanton after he came into the dugout following a rocket-shot of a grand slam that momentarily knocked out a bank of lights on the video board?" - "Damaged video board: Marlins teammates marvel at Giancarlo Stanton’s power" - Joe Capozzi, The Palm Beach Post

Mets: "There was plenty to talk about a day after [Terry] Collins for the first time didn’t dismiss the idea of [Ike] Davis going to the minors to work out his hitting woes." - "NY Mets' Ike Davis continues to struggle as team falls in Pittsburgh to struggling Pirates" - Anthony McCarron, NY Daily News

Braves: "Mike Minor came into today's game needing a good start. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Issues with home runs have been hurting Minor in 2012, and they showed up again tonight." - "Reds Utilize the Long Ball To Beat Atlanta 4-1" - SCrebel10, Talking Chop

Phillies: "That, in turn, prompted a childish tirade by Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and a five-game suspension for [Cole] Hamels." - "Inside the Phillies: No real rivalry 'buzz' came with the Nationals, who gave the punchless Phillies a routine beating" - Bob Brookover, Philly.com

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