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Nationals News: Always an Optimist Edition

  Since August 18, the Nationals have been 3-10. That's pretty bad. But they've been playing some really good teams, and have been hanging with them. In those games, they've played the Rockies, the Brewers, the Cubs and the Cardinals; until recently, all of those teams were in the playoff hunt, and the Rockies and Cardinals are still. Now, the impressive part: of those ten losses, six were decided by two or fewer runs (three games against the Rockies, two against the Cardinals and one against the Brewers). A loss is a loss, but there's always something good to be taken from a close loss against a contending team.

  Austin Kearns, who has been dealing with a thumb injury since his time with the Reds, is taking longer to heal than planned. As of now, it looks like his return won't come until mid-to-late September, where the Nationals were hoping for him to return in early September. If he doesn't come this season, he may have played his last game in a Nationals uniform -- the team can pay him $10 million for his services in 2010 or pay him $1 million to buy out his contract. If I had a million bucks, I know what I'd do.

  No word yet on who will be called up in September, but Ross Detwiler would be a good bet as he's pitched to a 3.05 ERA and a 3-2 record in 9 starts at Syracuse.

  The Nationals traded Ronnie Belliard to the Dodgers for Luis Garcia, a pitcher throwing well in Class A, and a pitcher to be named later. This sounds like a good trade for both teams, and maybe even for Belliard himself -- the Nats continue to stockpile young arms with high upside potential, the Dodgers get a reliable utility player and a decent pinch hitter and Belliard gets to compete for another World Series ring (he won one with the Cardinals in 2006). Another good trade by Rizzo, in my estimation.

  Stephen Strasburg made his first throws as a professional on Sunday, playing catch and working on the basics of fielding as a pitcher. I hope that this doesn't become news every day, but I have a feeling we'll be receiving Strasburg updates at least once a week.