While we all wait for the Washington Nationals' return to the national spotlight tonight on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, here are some quotes from Nats' skipper Davey Johnson from the last few days that didn't make it into any of the articles that went up here so far this weekend:
• [From Friday] With Adam LaRoche out will Tyler Moore see time at first?: "Nope. The guy over there [Chad Tracy], is the guy I'm playing. I like the heck out of Tyler Moore, he can flat out hit, but he's a rookie and [LaRoche] is going to be out a few days, this is not the time to be trying to break a young phenom in to a position that the owner is going to come back real soon."
"[LaRoche] is not going to be out long and I'm going to get the guys that are going to be here and need the at bats. I would think long and hard about [Xavier] Nady after Tracy. As much as I love young talent and I think he's a good one... and also it's not something he'd be used to, so it would not really be fair to him. He hasn't played in five or six days or something. Well, he did get an at bat two or three days ago. He's not used to that role..."
• LaRoche update via Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak: "'You only get so much out of 20 percent swings off a tee. But if today is any judge of the direction it's going, it should be a lot better in a day or two.'" - LINK
• NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman quoted Phillies' outfielder Hunter Pence yesterday saying that the Nationals seem to be playing with a chip on their shoulder. Davey Johnson talked earlier this weekend about his teams being hated:
"Shoot, when I started out in New York we were hated. We were called everything from pond scum to you name it, but to get up for a ballgame, it's personal. This guy that I'm facing, I'm trying to earn my living here. That just goes with the territory. You're a competitor and the better the team, the more you better have that attitude, or Natitude."
• Davey Johnson on Steve Lombardozzi:
"He's been great. In [September] after I put him through the crash course of playing different positions and last year he started real slow. For a guy that's used to playing regular, coming in and now not playing second, playing short, third, a little second, it's a tough adjustment, mentally, and I thought he came along great in [September] and started doing things we all know that he can do. I put him in the outfield, I was even thinking about giving him a first baseman's mitt in case I had to throw him over there and I haven't told him he might be my backup catcher. I don't want to put that on him, but I need to probably talk to [Bryce] Harper and [Jayson] Werth before I get to [Lombardozzi], I know those guys would do it, but I can't do that with them, but [Lombardozzi's] been great. He's really handled himself well. He's a ballplayer.
"In [late] August , I submitted a roster on what we had in house, what I was looking at [for] my 25-Man Roster, even though the pressure from the organization, 'He's a regular player,' I agree, but he's going to be on my 2012 team for just this reason, you have to have a versatile bench, and he's played like I figured he'd play. He's a good player. He knows how to play the game of baseball. Early on I was proud to see he was being a little more aggressive. When you're playing everyday you can take a lot of pitches because you have confidence in your stroke and your timing, but when you're coming off the bench and you're getting a spot start at different positions, you need to be a little more aggressive and he's done that.
"And now that he's been playing a little bit more, now he's back in his mode of making the pitchers work, and he's a really good table-setter, so he's been everything I thought he would be."
• Davey Johnson on Saturday on Sean Burnett (who hasn't pitched in a game since April 27th in LA): "I might have to give him off, I think I've had him up... I'm usually pretty good about handling my pen. I haven't done a very good job with him. There's been like one hitter away... it seems like for a week, where I wanted him and we've gotten out of it and I look at, if I warm a guy up and get him hot once, he's available the next day, but if I keep warming him up, I give him days off and today I was thinking about staying off him, I mean he's probably pitched more innings than any of the guys other than the starters that I've run out there. But I've not handled that well."
• Davey Johnson on tonight's Philly starter Cole Hamels: "Hamels kind of reminds me of some guys the Yankees used to have, awfully good left-handers that were really tough on right-handers. Basically one of their main pitches is a dead fish low and away to a right-hander and a lot of times they've had more trouble with left-handed bats. I've been mulling it over for a couple days on Hamels and looking at his splits, he's had trouble with left-handed hitters moreso than right-handed hitters...
• Hamel's 2012 splits: vs RHB - .186/.240/.243; vs LHB - .310/.323/.517
"So when I throw all my left-handers in there you'll know I've been thinking about it, it wasn't just a blank slate and I just wrote down some names blindfolded."