Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Back Home; Jayson Werth Expected Back

Patrick McDermott

The Washington Nationals return to the nation's capital tonight to start a three-game set and a six-game homestand. Up first it's the New York Mets and then the Nationals take on the Minnesota Twins. Jordan Zimmermann on the mound in Nationals Park tonight.

The Washington Nationals are 1-2 against the New York Mets in 2013. They just dropped two of three to the Atlanta Braves who are 7-3 against the Nats. The Mets just lost three straight to the Miami Marlins after taking four in-a-row from the New York Yankees. The Nationals are 15-11 in the nation's capital so far this season. The Mets are 10-15 on the road this summer. Bryce Harper's out of the Nats' lineup. Jayson Werth's supposed to be back. Stephen Strasburg's a question mark for his next start. Jordan Zimmermann's on the mound tonight. After 57 games the Washington Nationals are a game under .500. Time to start winning some games, and more importantly winning series. There's no need to panic, just yet, but it's time they started winning. As Adam LaRoche put it after Sunday's loss in Atlanta, "We have time to make a move, but we need to do it soon." Tonight's as good a time as any to get started... until then, links and lots of them... starting RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Even when the Nats have an injury diagnosed correctly, the player talks his way into coming back into the lineup too soon or Manager Davey Johnson gives mixed signals..." - "Washington Nationals show their toughness when they need to show common sense" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "This time last year, the Nationals were 34-23, hardly having looked back after a 14-4 start to the season and on their way to a major league-best 98 wins." - "Numbers don't lie: Nationals' feeble offense dragging down expected contender" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Anthony Rendon played his second straight game at second base for Triple-A Syracuse. He had played only five games for Harrisburg at second base prior to his promotion Friday." - "Werth, Rendon and Garcia updates" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "In the larger picture, though, this week figures to set the course for a much longer time frame, with several important decisions upcoming for the Nationals." - "Critical week ahead?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Undeniably, the main reasons the Nationals have reached this point are injuries and impotent offense." - "The trouble at the edges of the Nationals roster" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Jayson] Werth has missed the Nats' last 29 games with a strained right hamstring, but he'll finally be ready to return after finishing off a successful rehab stint at high Single-A Potomac." - "Nationals Pastime: No more waiting on Werth" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "They can't hit, and two of their best hitters, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth, are passing each other on the disabled list." - "Nationals walking a tightrope of a season -- without a net" - Thom Loverro, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "In his five-game stint with Potomac, Werth went 9 for 16 with two walks, one double and two home runs." - "The Nationals need a lift from Jayson Werth" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Erik] Davis’ parents flew in from San Francisco on Saturday and they were obviously excited in the stands to see their son make his debut." - "Erik Davis debuts, Zach Duke searches for a consistent feel and J.C. Romero opts out" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "While the numbers look pretty similar when comparing the two outings, [Nathan] Karns says he felt better and more settled this time out." - "Nationals Pastime: Karns on his second outing, Davis on his debut, Espinosa on his offense" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The Venezuelan righty hits 100 mph with some regularity. It's not always a strike, though, and Rodriguez's walks this year outnumber his strikeouts." - "Nationals can't stick with Henry Rodriguez's wild ride" - Phil Wood, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "Left-handed reliever J.C. Romero has opted out of his minor league contract with the Nationals, he said in a phone conversation this afternoon." - "J.C. Romero opts out of Nationals contract" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Relief pitcher J.C. Romero has opted out of his contract with the Washington Nationals to leave the organization and seek a job with another team." - "LHP J.C. Romero opts out of deal with Nats" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Miami outscored the Mets 24-8 during that series, for what it's worth. I can't imagine Mets manager Terry Collins is too proud of those numbers." - "Nationals Pastime: On Romero's departure and Storen's turnaround" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "My guess is that [Anthony Rendon] stays at AAA until the All-Star break, plays about 40 more games at second base, then the Nats decide whether to bring him up to play every day..." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "[John] Lannan isn’t an ace or a top of the rotation guy by any means, but considering where he was taken, he produced major value." - "Nats ten best draft picks in team history" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• Your Daily Update From The Dalai Lama On Twitter:

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann has not lost at Nationals Park since May 17, 2012. He has won his last eight starts in D.C." - "Series preview: Mets at Nats" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

• "MLB hired Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co. to try to broker such a deal, which could see NBC or Fox acquire all or part of the regional sports network that carries Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals games." - "MLB talks with NBC Sports Group, Fox Sports regarding MASN solution" - John Ourand, Washington Business Journal

• "Last autumn the Washington Nationals almost seemed offended when the Cardinals rallied improbably to knock them out of the playoffs." - "Tipsheet: D.C. losing 'Natitude' in NL East" - Jeff Gordon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

• "Mountain View's Erik Davis made his big-league debut for the Washington Nationals on Sunday in Atlanta, retiring five straight with a pair of strikeouts in relief." - "Davis goes from Mountain View High to the big leagues" - San Jose Mercury News

• "[Roger] Bernadina finished the month with eight Defensive Runs Saved, most among outfielders and one shy of Chase Headley's major-league leading total of nine." - "Others shine on defense besides Simmons" - Mark Simon, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

• "[Roger] Bernadina finished the month with eight Defensive Runs Saved, most among outfielders and one shy of Chase Headley's major-league leading total of nine." - "Others shine on defense besides Simmons" - Mark Simon, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

• "Last week, I said not to expect Harper's left knee (originally injured crashing into the outfield wall in Dodger Stadium on May 13) to land him on the DL if he could help it." - "Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Matt Kemp among key injuries to watch this week" - Stephania Bell, ESPN

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Potomac: "An important piece of the Nationals’ pitching future returned to a minor league mound two weeks ago and continues his return from Tommy John surgery." - "Sammy Solis returns to the mound at Potomac" - James Wagner, Washington Post

Class-A Potomac: "Amidst an epic pitcher's duel between Myrtle Beach RHP Jerad Eickhoff and Potomac RHP Taylor Hill both hurlers slung exactly 106 pitches and seemed to match each other pitch-for-pitch in the game but neither pitcher's stellar outing yielded a decision." - "Nieto Blast Propels Nationals Over Pelicans 2-1 in 10 Frames" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: "RHP Rob Gilliam (1-1, 4.50 ERA) is set to make his third start for the Senators, hoping to improve on his last one. The 25-year-old yielded four runs on nine hits in five innings in a loss in Akron." - "Will Bob Boone be among the first 1,000 fans at Metro Bank Park tonight to get a Bob Boone poster?" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "Chris Marrero delivered the game-winning hit in the top of the frame, while, in the bottom of the inning, Corey Brown connected with Zach Walters to throw the tying run, Brandon Snyder, out at the pIate to end the game." - "Chiefs come back in Rhode Island, beat PawSox in finale" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "[Corey] Brown was 4-for-5, [Chris] Marrero was 2-for-5, and [Mike] Costanzo was 3-for-5 on Monday while the trio drove in all of the runs." - "Brown, Costanzo both homer twice, double in Chiefs win" - Ben Meyers, The Auburn Citizen

• "Caleb Clay Named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

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

NATSTOWN:

• "Last season’s first-place Nats helped prompt 73 stories about how the first-place Nats were bringing first-place people together across party lines..." - "Members of Congress coming to Wednesday’s Nats game" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• "The line in the sand has to be drawn somewhere and for the Nats it's right here, right now." - "No More Losing" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Just Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span decked out in Miami Heat gear" - Nats Enquirer

Federal Baseball Talks People Off Ledges:

• "Ray Knight stands strong against the whipping winds of doubt and the freezing rain of despair and the hailstorm of negativity and the mud puddle of insecurity and the falling tree limbs of existential agony over the possibility of finishing behind the Phillies." - "Ray Knight believes the Nats will win the NL East with all his heart" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• "In the middle of the third inning on Saturday evening, Fox cameras showed a close up of Gio Gonzalez’s Nike cleats." - "Gio Gonzalez and his elephant-print Jordan Brand cleats" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

• "Adam LaRoche does a PSA with 'Clicky'" - Nats Enquirer


• "Remember That Money Ball OB% Thing: Anthony Rendon Does" - Half Street Heart Attack

• "The hell-bent-for-the-World-Series Nationals have a losing record at the beginning of June. That fact is disturbing enough." - "Nationals Buzz: Winning is never a sure thing" - Ted Leavengood, MASNSports.com

• "The 2013 campaign is like a bad dream that has hung over the club since its stunning departure from the postseason last October. Everything should be great, hell, everything is great." - "Waking Up From A Bad Dream" - William Yoder, The Nats Blog

• "Remembering 1924 – Tigers 6, Senators 5" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Gio’s Velocity Roller Coaster Ride Continues" - The Nationals Review

NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Jeremy Hefner knows how tiring it is to be constantly looking over your shoulder. For two straight years, the Mets righty worried about how his job would be affected by prospects." - "Jeremy Hefner not worrying about losing spot in Mets rotation to Zack Wheeler" - Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News

Phillies: "It is way too early to say that Domonic Brown saved baseball in Philadelphia, or even that he saved this lackluster 2013 season..." - "Phillies' Dom Brown turning on the power, and the fans" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

Braves: "Brian McCann reached 1,000 career hits Monday night in fitting fashion." - "McCann collects 1,000th hit" - Carroll Rogers, www.ajc.com

Marlins: "The blowout not only snapped the Marlins’ season-long, three-game win streak but also extended [Kyle] Kendrick’s run of consecutive wins over Miami to 10 games..." - "Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick still has hold on Miami Marlins" - Manny Navarro, MiamiHerald.com

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