A Month-by-Month Look At The Nationals' Third Season In DC...
March and April '07...
The month of March may have contained the single most important day of the Washington Nationals' 2007 season. March 18, 2007, when the Nationals promoted Dmitri Young to the Major League camp just a little over a month after offering the free agent first baseman an invitation to Spring Training, and assigned first baseman Larry Broadway to Triple-AAA Columbus, clearing the way for the humbled and healthy DY's return to baseball.
After having seen just three games' worth of swings from DY in their Minor League camp, the Nationals, alarmed by the lack of power Larry Broadway had produced, turned to Young, who had flamed-out the previous season in Detroit, and even found himself released as the Tigers charged to the World Series, in hopes that the thirty-three year old slugger, whose swing was never questioned, could keep it together on and off the field of play.
In Bill Ladson's mlb.com article at the time entitled, "Nats announce a pair of moves", Mr. Ladson quotes Dmitri Young who says of the promotion, "I'm coming here to prove that I still have it...I'll just come out here and have fun [and] be the Dmitri of old."
A week after bringing DY up to the big club, on March 25, 2007, Young's competition for the starting job at first, veteran Travis Lee left the Nationals after requesting a release, leaving DY and journeyman utility infielder Robert Fick to man the position as Washington waited for Nick Johnson to return from injury.
One week after that, on April 4th, in the Nationals' third game of 2007, Dmitri Young rewarded the faith that Manager Manny Acta and the rest of the Washington Nationals' organization had shown in him by providing the rookie Manager Acta with his first win as a skipper, as Young drove in Kory Casto with a fly ball to left that was misplayed by the Florida Marlins outfielder Josh Willingham, capping a ninth-inning comeback win.
Or as I saw things and wrote on my old site>>>> that day:
"The Marlins new closer Jorge Julio is on to save the sweep
for the Fish. Ronnie Belliard, today's starting second
baseman. Doubles to left. Robert Fick singles, Belliard
scores. 6-5 Marlins. Felipe Lopez lays down the sac bunt.
Fick safe at second. Kory Casto puts one off Hanley
Ramirez's chest and into the outfield. Fick SCORES! CASTO
ties it! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! And Zim bloops it into
right. Casto moves to third. Austin Kearns walks as Julio
loads the bases. DY to the plate. DY DY DY!!! DY-EEEP
enough to score CASTO...Willingham tries to let it go
foul...but the ball has other ideas...CASTO SCORES!!!
CASTO SCORES!! THE COMEBACK KIDS ARE BACK!! I
BELIEVE IN ACTA!! Manny Acta's first win as a Manager
comes in dramatic fashion...the DC faithful start to
bounce! THE NATIONALS WIN!!! 7-6 Nationals in the
The remainder of April of '07 wasn't as kind to the Washington Nationals. They would go 1-8 before the Nationals recorded their second win of the season, and as the Nationals' month of April came to an end, an 8-17 record place the team 7.5 games out of first place in the NL East.
Cristian Guzman and Nook Logan hurt in the Season Opener against Florida. Patterson hit hard in the same game in a sign of things to come. Matt Chico's MLB debut on 4/4. Livan Hernandez's return to RFK as a member of the D-Backs' staff on 4/8. Dmitri Young wearing the #42 to honor Jackie Robinson's contribution to the game of baseball and the advancement of the Civil Rights movement on 4/15, and the Nationals end the month with a 1-0 loss to the New York Mets in a weekend series on 4/29, followed by a long flight to San Diego and a win on the last day of the month...
At the end of April, Dmitri Young announced that he had started practicing in left field in anticipation of Nick Johnson's eventual return to the lineup, which we know now never happened. What had started on March 18th as a simple no-second-chances invitation to Spring Training, ended with DY batting .253 with 8 doubles, 3 HR's and 12 RBI's after the first month of the season...
mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Nats announce a pair of moves" from washington.nationals.mlb.com:
mlb.com's Bill Ladson's coverage of Manny Acta's first win as Nationals' Manager on 4/4/07 entitled, "Young's walk-off hit caps Nats' rally":
Blogger Edward Chigliak (aka Me) on DCDaily.mlblogs.com from 4/4/07: