In a "Full Count" video this weekend from St. Louis, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal talked about the Washington Nationals' plans for the future of their infield and outfield defense. Rosenthal says he spoke to Nats' GM Mike Rizzo, who said he didn't plan on moving Adam LaRoche or Denard Span to make room when Bryce Harper returns from the DL. As the Nationals have said recently, the plan is to move Ryan Zimmerman back to third base, with Anthony Rendon moving back to second base and Danny Espinosa returning to his utility role. Rosenthal, however, says that Span's inability to get on base makes him an "interesting guy" to watch.
Span sat out of Sunday's game with back stiffness which is considered a minor issue, and though he continues to provide excellent defense in center field, he's scuffling at the plate again and currently on an 0 for 19 slide.
On the year, the 30-year-old outfielder has a .262/.305/.379 line.
Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman made his debut at first base in Sunday's series finale in St. Louis, making once nice stretch and catch on a high throw but otherwise getting through a uneventful first game in his third position of the season.
"Pretty good, did fine," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said when asked about Zimmerman after the game. "He's natural over there, has no issues. So he's fine."
While Zimmerman might end up at first next season if the Nationals allow LaRoche to leave rather than bringing him back on the $15M mutual option that was included in the 2-year/$24M deal the 34-year-old first baseman signed in 2013, the plan remains, at least as far as the Nats are saying publicly, to have Zimmerman return to third base when Harper comes back to play left...
Don't worry, there are only 2-3-4 weeks until Harper's set to return that this will continue to be discussed.
Until then, and until the Nationals start a two-game set with Bo Porter's Astros on Tuesday, links and lots of them... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:
• THE BIG STORY!!!:
• "Zimmerman, who had been playing his new position of left field for the previous 12 games, made 12 putouts at first base and did well across the diamond from his long-time position of third base." - "Ryan Zimmerman plays first game at first: ‘He’s a natural over there’" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):
The quality of our actions, whether they are positive or negative, depends on our motivation. This is why we have to transform our minds.— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) June 12, 2014
• NATS BEAT:
• "Center fielder Denard Span, who was scratched from today's starting lineup because of back stiffness, told Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com in St. Louis that the issue isn't serious..." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats limp home after 5-5 road trek on four-game skid" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
Sad times. Tony Gwynn was a super hero in a lot of people's eyes, including mine. Prayers go out to his family and friends.— Ian Desmond (@IanDesmond20) June 16, 2014
• "Denard Span was scratched about 45 minutes before first pitch Sunday with back stiffness that both the outfielder and Manager Matt Williams consider minor." - "Denard Span scratched with back stiffness; Gio Gonzalez to start Wednesday" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "When they were crunching the numbers of the value of Major League Baseball in Washington, this wasn’t part of the formula — the connection and celebration of the good things and good people in the Washington metropolitan area." - "Don't underestimate importance of Nationals' community connections" - Thom Loverro, Washington Times
• "Washington shortstop Ian Desmond has hit 45 home runs over the past two seasons, but is on pace for his best power season yet." - "Desmond displaying impressive power numbers" - Joe Harris, nationals.com: News
• "The Nationals anticipate Ramos, who has been on the disabled list since June 11 with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, to be ready to come off the DL as soon as he is eligible after 15 days on June 26." - "Nationals set a rehab plan for Wilson Ramos" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Sad day in baseball..We lost one of the greatest hitters that ever played! Tony Gwynn you will be missed by many! Prayers out to his family!— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) June 16, 2014
• "The Nationals had the bases loaded with one out in the second, and failed to push a run across in a scoreless tie. In the bottom half of the inning, they paid for it." - "Nationals Pastime: Another Adams homer, another Nats deficit (Cards win 5-2)" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
• "Astros starter Dallas Keuchel will head to the mound on Tuesday against the Nationals with hopes of building on his All-Star resume." - "Houston Astros at Washington Nationals - June 17, 2014" - Daniel Popper, MLB.com Preview
• "The Nats went into this trip hoping to go on a bit of a run, get hot and carry some momentum back home into a big week, which features a four-game series against the Braves." - "Nationals Pastime: A roller-coaster of a road trip followed by a big homestand" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Washington starter Doug Fister, who had been lights-out of late, struggled in his first career start against the Cardinals." - "Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals - June 15, 2014" - Joe Harris, MLB.com WSH Recap
• "The Nationals took charge of first place in the division after the June 11 win over the Giants and pushed their record to a season-high watermark of six games over .500. Then they lost four straight and fell back to second place." - "Assessing the Nationals after a long road trip" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Entering Sunday, Rendon had hit second in 45 of Washington's 67 games this season, and the Nationals have a 26-19 mark in those games." - "Rendon bumped to leadoff in place of scratched Span" - Joe Harris, nationals.com: News
• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:
• "LaRoche points out hitting is as complicated as it is simple. Part of his comeback is as basic as a change in medication. Last year, the slugger tried an extended release medication for his ADHD, and the results were nothing short of disastrous." - "For Adam LaRoche, not paralysis by analysis" - Eno Sarris, FOX Sports on MSN
• "While Stephen Strasburg headlines the rotation, and Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister get their fair share attention, as well, the team's fifth starter, Tanner Roark, has been a huge part of the unit's success." - "Weekly Planner: Tanner Roark the Nationals' unsung pitching hero" - Michael Beller, Fantasy Sports - Michael Beller - SI.com
• "In front of a Father’s Day capacity crowd of 45,324 plus his dad, Adams launched a two-run homer in the second inning at Busch Stadium." - "Cards make Father's Day special" - Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
• "Because Nieto had never played above the Single-A level before this season, the idea was that catching an established starter like Danks, with his set way of pitching, would be easier for him than guiding a younger pitcher through a game." - "Slumping Flowers yields to Nieto" - Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox Report, ESPNChicago
• NATS MINORS:
• Class-A Auburn: "On Saturday night, the Doubledays jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first three batters and held it for nearly the entire game, only to see it blasted to smithereens in a seven-run 8th." - "Late offense not enough on Father's Day" - Evan Weston, Auburn Doubledays News
• Low-A Hagerstown: "The Suns offense, which had been held to just four runs over the first 28 innings of the series with Greenville, finally came to life in the sixth." - "Suns close out half with win, but not division title" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News
• High-A Potomac: "The Potomac Nationals (38-31, 21-14) took their game five rubber match against the Winston-Salem Dash (30-39, 14-21) on Sunday afternoon with an 8-6 win." - "Mcquillan's Big Day Ends First Half On High Note" - Potomac Nationals News
• "Pearlstein confirmed that Giolito was still hitting and maintaining a good velocity in the fifth and final inning of his start. The limit was five innings and 75 to 80 pitches." - "Byron Kerr: Despite hard luck loss, Giolito hits 99 mph and commands fastball" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Monday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com
• "Tyler Moore (1B): After spending time with the big-league club, Moore is back in the minors and doing well. In his past 10 games, he’s batting .387 with two homers and seven RBI." - "Washington Nationals: Minor League, Prospect Report Week of June 15th" - Brian Skinnell, District Sports Page
• "Potomac Nationals assistant general manager Zach Prehn had an idea the turnout would be good for Saturday’s game at Pfitzner Stadium after news of the Jayson Werth BobbleBeard giveaway spread last week." - "The Jayson Werth BobbleBeards were gone in 13 minutes" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
• Double-A Harrisburg: "The 24-year-old out of Georgia Tech -- rated by Baseball America as the Nationals' No. 4 prospect before the season -- has been putting that ugly start behind him, too." - "Matt Skole continues power and RBI surge, named our Harrisburg Senators Player of the Week" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com
• Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, beat the Norfolk Tides, 4-0, on Sunday afternoon from NBT Bank Stadium." - "Roenicke, Chiefs shut out Tides" - Syracuse Chiefs News
• "Washington began its 10-game road trip 5-1, but lost the last four to finish up at 5-5. … The Nationals have lost 18 of their last 20 regular-season games at St. Louis." - "St. Louis Remains House Of Horrors For Nationals" - David Driver, Pressbox DC
• "We’ve known for a few weeks that giant Racing President Teddy Roosevelt was set to make a star turn in an ESPN ‘This is SportsCenter’ commercial." - "Teddy Roosevelt’s ‘This is SportsCenter commercial’" - Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post
• "Throughout their history, they've had one place or another where they could not win a ballgame. Bad hitting, bad pitching or just plain bad luck have haunted the Nats in at least one ballpark every season." - "Counting down the Nats' houses of horrors" - Nationals Buzz: Marty Niland, MASNSports.com
• "What failed to help Washington’s chances, however, was the fact that the offense stranded 10 base runners and went just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position." - "Washington Nationals Game 68 Review: Nats Miss Key Opportunities, Fall to Cards 5-2" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page
• "THUD" - Harper, Nationals Baseball
• "Holding Court: Happy Ryan Zimmerman Day!" - Nationals 101
• NL EAST UPDATES:
• Phillies: "I know that it’s likely Jimmy’s days in Philadelphia are numbered. I know that his Hall of Fame credentials are borderline at best." - "Jimmy Rollins Officially Joins the Phillies Elite" - Corrine Landrey, Crashburn Alley
• Mets: "The Mets acquired lefty minor-league pitcher Blake Taylor from Pittsburgh to complete the Ike Davis trade." - "Mets notes: Jenrry Mejia returns" - J.P. Pelzman, NorthJersey.com
• Marlins: "Giancarlo Stanton's production is on the rise, as the Marlins' slugger paces the National League in home runs (18) and RBIs (54). Still, his status as an All-Star starter is starting to slip." - "Giancarlo Stanton slips in 2014 NL All-Star voting at outfield" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com: News
• Braves: "In a conversation before Friday’s game, hitting coach Greg Walker noted that, even as most of the team’s offensive statistics were depressing, there was one that might augur brighter tomorrows." - "The Braves’ hitters actually have started to hit" - Mark Bradley blog