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Federal Register, June 21

"So, you know, call my secretary,
and we'll check Tony out." []

  • Tony Armas, Jr., is ailing, reports. I can't say I'm surprised, given that: (1) he has given up 11 runs in 6.2 innings over his last two starts, and (2) he's Tony Armas, Jr.

    According to the report:

    In his last start on Monday, Armas gave up four runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Red Sox. Pitching coach Randy St. Claire noticed that Armas' facial expression didn't look positive or focused on the mound. In fact, St. Claire said he asked Armas if he was OK, and the pitcher said he was fine. It wasn't until the next day that Armas confessed something was wrong.

    St. Claire speculated that mechanical changes caused by a back spasm suffered the morning Armas faced the Brewers on June 4 could have led to his arm problems.

    Perhaps this year's experience has made Nats fans cynical, but I have visions of a trip to James Andrews' Birmingham lair in my mind. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

    At any rate, Armas is a stunningly inefficient starter. Among National League qualifiers, he averages the second-most pitches per plate appearance and the most pitches per innings pitched. (Not that his teammates don't try to help out---Armas is third in run support.)

    Several bloggers have speculated that Armas is too inefficient to experience sustained success as a starter and is thus better suited to a relief role; Scott Collins of Nats Farm Authority even asked Frank Robinson about this during spring training. The issue is probably moot from the Nats' perspective, insofar as Armas is an impending free agent and is probably not part of the club's future, but his latest woes are disappointing for several reasons, including that he was starting to attract trade interest.

  • For what it's worth, Jim Bowden projects an unconcerned posture toward Armas' woes, according to the Post:
    "Tony's struggled the last couple of times," he said. "He just has a little soreness in the forearm area. No big deal. We're not really concerned about it."

    Well, let's hope. While it is noted that Armas' discomfort has temporary alleviated a bounty of starters an over-glut of guys who can start, I don't think losing a guy to injury is the optimum way to solve such a problem.

    In addition, according to the same and Post reports (as well as one in the Times), Nick Johnson is also headed to the MRI booth with his tweaked back. I suppose the surefire way to determine a player can't play is if he can't carry a cup of coffee, as the Times reported.

  • Speaking of Nats Farm Authority, Brian Oliver recently interviewed assistant scouting director Brian Parker. A snippet:
    This draft in particular was setup to support taking HS players. It was a down year overall for college players, especially position players. The nice thing was that we are now setting up this organization and moving forward with a plan to succeed in both the present and future. We have some young guys just now in the big leagues such as Zimmerman, Cordero, Bray, Hill, O?Connor, etc and now we?ve got another wave of players who just are coming into the organization. The one thing people need to remember is that it takes time to properly develop players, especially when you are selecting HS players. Patience is something that will be needed for all of these new draft picks.

    Parker placed particular importance on signing key players early, to give them a first year of development this season.

  • Brick evaluates an interesting assessment by Jeff Angus of MLB's selection of Ted Lerner.
  • Over the Monster is encouraged by Kyle Snyder's effectiveness in an emergency role on Monday night. Snyder certainly got the job done (even fanning Alfonso Soriano three times), but in a sense it's all relative: One night later, the Nats started Marlon Anderson in the cleanup slot. Why? Because [Anderson] doesn't strike out a lot and gives the Nationals some speed." Okay.
  • DM from Nats Blog articulates something many of us, including me, have probably been thinking lately: ways around the MLB blackout rules. DM proposes a buyout scheme whereby he could:
    pay extra to watch Nats games anywhere I want, regardless of the exclusive rights sold to a local broadcaster. That premium I paid could go mostly to the local broadcaster affected by my viewing on, to cover any potential "losses" from me not watching on television.

    DM crunches the numbers based on some apparently reasonable assumptions and concludes the buyout number might be pretty high. But, I'll tell you what: If this MASN/Comcast thing isn't figured out by next season (or by tomorrow), I'd be willing to pay anything close to reasonable for access.