Wire Taps: Nationals' outfielders Kevin Frandsen and Denard Span deal with MMP

Bob Levey

The Washington Nationals completed their eighth comeback win in 27 games last night in their win over the Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park and their outfielders dealt with the "nuances" of the 'Stros home. More on the Nats' win and links below...

Jerry Blevins tweeted after the game (I'm not sure how seriously) that he saw Kevin Frandsen practicing the kind of ridiculous play he made off the wall in center field in Minute Maid Park last night in batting practice before the game with the Houston Astros:

Frandsen played a bounce off the wall off Jason Castro's bat and backhanded the baseball with his back to the wall, throwing the ball in so quickly that he was able to hold even the speedy Dexter Fowler at third base on what should have been an RBI double by the Astros' catcher. Both runners ended up scoring anyway on a single to left by George Springer, but the play by Frandsen was kind of unbelievable. Check it out:


In the fourth inning, Denard Span, who definitely practiced playing fly balls out near Tal's Hill, made a grab at the base of the hill to take a potential hit away from Matt Dominguez on a long fly to center and then threw the ball in from his back. Some great defense for a team that's struggled with errors this season, and they did it in a silly little ballpark that has a lot of... let's call them "nuances." Here's Span's catch:

Here are some links, and lots of them... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "The game tells you how you can play it. You listen, and learn as you go. You don’t tell the game." - "Baseball is talking to Bryce Harper. Is he listening?" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Harper, 21, started the season slowly but after the season’s first week has batted .345 with a .435 on-base percentage while slugging .534." - "Bryce Harper’s timetable to return pegged at 6 to 8 weeks" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Harper had the surgery at The Cleveland Clinic, with his torn ulnar collateral ligament repaired during the procedure." - "Bryce Harper gives thumbs-up after surgery to repair thumb ligament" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "We look at Bryce, he had a collision at second base sliding feet-first this year. So he hurt himself last year sliding feet-first." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams on Harper's surgery, Jordan's demotion, Fister's upcoming return" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Harper tweeted that he had the surgery and posted a picture that showed him in a hospital bed with his left arm in a sling." - "Bryce Harper undergoes surgery to repair torn ligament in thumb" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Manager Matt Williams acknowledged that Fister could fit into the Nationals’ rotation May 7, when the Nationals face the Dodgers at Nationals Park." - "Nationals juggle rotation, bring Ryan Mattheus back after a funny ejection" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "With one day remaining in April, LaRoche is hitting .312 with a .413 on-base percentage, .495 slugging percentage, four homers and 17 RBI." - "Red-hot Adam LaRoche carrying Washington Nationals’ lineup again" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "I would say the play in left with Frandsen was a little more impressive. You don't see something like that that often." - "Nationals Pastime: Clubhouse reactions to Span's grab, Frandsen's blind stab and more" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Denard Span made a tumbling, spinning, basket catch at the base of a hill – a godforsaken hill, people, smack dab in the outfield – about 420 feet from home plate..." - "Kevin Frandsen, Denard Span make highlight-reel catches" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "LaRoche is traditionally a slow starter. That's no secret to anyone who has followed the Nationals the last few seasons." - "Nationals Pastime: LaRoche and Werth just keep on raking" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'The important thing right now is just winning ballgames, the [offensive] numbers will even out,' said Jayson Werth. 'We were able to pull out a tough, close one tonight.'" - "Washington Nationals at Houston Astros - April 29, 2014" - Chris Abshire, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Three batters into Tuesday's series opener, Jayson Werth crushed his fourth homer of the year, a two-out shot to left, to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead in Houston." - "Nationals Pastime: Werth blasts off in first at Houston (Nats win 4-3)" - Josh Land, MASNSports.com

• "In the Nationals’ 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros, Adam LaRoche delivered the game-tying double in the eighth and the go-ahead single in the ninth." - "LaRoche comes through with a pair of clutch hits to lift Nationals to 4-3 win in Houston" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Homecomings are fairly common for Major League ballplayers. But a triple-digit ticket count for your crew during that homecoming? That's taking it to another level." - "Rendon: Houston homecoming 'pretty special'" - Chris Abshire, nationals.com: News

• "Manager Matt Williams said in spring that he wanted to see his team be able to do the little things needed to plate a single run in a big spot." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams discusses Nats' 4-3 win over Astros" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The veteran first baseman delivered two clutch hits late, doubling to left-center in the top of the eighth to score Werth, then singling in the top of the ninth to bring Denard Span home with the go-ahead run." - "Instant analysis: Nats 4, Astros 3" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Ryan Mattheus didn't think he belonged in Triple-A ball, but he also didn't expect to be back with the Nationals so soon." - "Mattheus' callup sooner than righty expected" - Chris Abshire, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message From The Dalail Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "The Nats will go for a two-game sweep over the Astros on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, when they send right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to the mound." - "Washington Nationals at Houston Astros - April 30, 2014" - Brian McTaggart, MLB.com Preview

• "Their likely weekend starters appear to be Stephen Strasburg (vs. Lee) on Friday, Tanner Roark (vs. Burnett) on Saturday, and Gio Gonzalez (vs. Hamels) on Sunday." - "Phillies Notes: Lee, Burnett, Hamels could pitch vs. Nationals" - Bob Brookover, Philadelphia Inquirer

• "A teammate on the Washington Nationals said he has seen Kevin Frandsen practice the play he made in the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night." - "Kevin Frandsen makes behind-the-back catch off fence that's hard to believe" - David Brown, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "The Aviators grabbed a pitcher and a shortstop in the Frontier League Draft Tuesday. With the second pick overall in the first round the Aviators selected left handed pitcher Josh Smoker." - "Aviators Add Players Through Draft" - Scott Leber, MyStateline.com

• "I applaud the county commissioners for doing everything they can to keep the Washington Nationals baseball team in Brevard." - "Letter: Welcome center won't attract more tourists" - Larry Lawton, Florida Today

• NATS MINORS:


• "Assistant general manager and vice president player development Doug Harris said Taylor is making strides as the season gets rolling." - "Minor league updates: Skole, Taylor, Keyes, Solano and Fister news" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, lost a 3-2 decision to the Indianapolis Indians on Tuesday afternoon from Victory Field." - "Indians squeeze by Chiefs on Tuesday" - Syracuse Chiefs News

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

• "Probable starting pitchers: LHP Taylor Rogers (0-3, 9.33 ERA) for New Britain; LHP Matt Purke (0-4, 9.37) for Harrisburg." - "Washington Nationals P Doug Fister slated for rehab start with Harrisburg Senators; stormy weather continues" - Tim Leone, PennLive.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "It looked like the Washington Nationals’ (15-12) never-ending affinity for stranding base runners was going to doom them again on Tuesday night..." - "LaRoche Stars In Nationals’ Comeback Win Over Astros" - Erin Flynn, The Nats Blog

• "What's not to love about the basket catch Denard Span made while falling down on Tal's Hill Tuesday night in Houston?" - "Watch Denard Span's fantastic falling-down basket catch on Tal's Hill" - Nats Enquirer

• "Given Roark’s fairly pedestrian stuff and repertoire, his ability to control the count is a crucial piece to him neutralizing lineups through pitch location, selection, and sequencing." - "Statistically Speaking: Tanner Roark’s Called Strike Success" - Stuart Wallace, District Sports Page

• "Nationals Baseball Basics" - Nationals 101

• "When Danny Espinosa was sent down to the minor leagues during the 2013 season, it was clear he had to demonstrate true worth and production value..." - "Nationals Buzz: Rachel Levitin: Questions in the infield" - Rachel Levitin, MASNSports.com

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "Marlon Byrd appeared in only 117 games and spent only a partial season with the New York Mets. He has appeared in more games with four other clubs." - "Byrd grateful to Mets for reviving career" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

Phillies: "In a rain-soaked game between the New York Mets and the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night, an alien Cole Hamels showed up in the mound." - "Cole Hamels 'Embarrassed' By Tuesday’s Start" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Marlins: "Since 2011, Miami Marlins infielder Greg Dobbs has never had to fight for a roster spot." - "Miami Marlins designate infielder Greg Dobbs for assignment" - Scott Gelman, Fish Stripes

Braves: "And the Braves were supposed to be in trouble when Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy went down." - "Which free agents are living up to their contracts so far?" - Jonathan Bernhardt, SportsonEarth.com

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