• Today's Top 5:
5. [EXPLETIVE]!!!!!: A half-inning after Nationals' reliever Craig Stammen imploded in the Mets' sixth, allowing a run on three singles and a two-run double by NY first baseman Ike Davis that put Washington down 4-1, Nats' second baseman Danny Espinosa reportedly fouled a pitch off his own foot while striking out, and the switch-hitting infielder, the top infield prospect in the Nats' organization, had to be helped off the field, helped/carried by two coaches. The early reports didn't sound good. Word from Florida had the 23-year-old second baseman unable to put any pressure on his injured right foot, though there was no official information available until after the game, when he was said to be fine, walking on his own, and ready to get back on the field. (ed. note - "According to reports after the game it's being called a "foot contusion" and Espinosa will have x-rays on his right foot tomorrow.")
4. Also Scratched: Ryan Zimmerman, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez and Michael Morse were all originally part of tonight's starting lineup, but each was scratched before the game began. Zimmerman has a groin/hip issue unrelated to last week's "mild abdominal strain" or the "strained rib muscle" which brought an early end to his 2010 season. Jerry Hairston took over for him at third. Rodriguez pulled his calf before the game, with Jesus Flores taking his place, and Morse felt "under the weather" according to Tweeted reports on his very-last-minute removal in favor of Laynce Nix. Hairston went 0 for 3 with a walk. Flores was 1 for 2 with a one out double and he was hit by a pitch. Nix was 0 for 3 with a K and three left on base. Morse was reportedly available if needed late in the game, but it will be a couple days for Zim and Pudge.
3. Gorzelanny Starts: Nats' left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, in his second start of the Spring, allowed two runners on through his first three scoreless, surrendering a leadoff double to David Wright in the second and a leadoff walk to Josh Thole in the third before retiring the next three batters in each frame to preserve the 1-0 lead the Nats got on an RBI single by Rick Ankiel in the second. In the fourth Wright walked with one down, stole second and scored to tie the game on a line drive to center by Ike Davis on which Ankiel came up throwing though it reportedly caught Flores in the chest and bounced off unplayable as the run scored. Gorzelanny stranded two when he popped up Mets' catcher Josh Thole, and finished the night having thrown (acc to @MASNBen) 65 pitches, 35 of them strikes in 4.0 IP in which he allowed two hits, one run, an earned one and three walks with 4 K's collected.
2. Stephen Strasburg: "I'm putting myself in the position where I can get back as soon as possible, and hopefully they'll let me pitch when I feel ready and if that's at the end of the year, then that's awesome, but if not, I know that I'm going to be 100% ready to go for 2012."
The Nationals were featured on ESPN.com's Baseball Tonight this, uh afternoon. The quote above is the only thing of interest Stephen Strasburg had to say. The uncomfortable conversation that follows was captured on a bus Tim Kurkjian and former Major League John Kruk have been traveling on to visit each MLB team's Spring Training home in the last few weeks. Jayson Werth sat down with the Baseball Tonight hosts. The light off his hat turned his face red, and Mr. Kruk immediately made things uncomfortable for everyone:
1. Smells Like
Teen Spirit Cheesesteaks?
Kurkjian: "So what do you think of the bus?"
Werth: "It, uh, smells like cheesesteaks."
Kruk: "Brings you back home though?"
Werth: What have you been doing in here?
Kruk: "Eatin. I gained ten pounds on this bus tour because I haven't been able to get my cardio in...for my core..."
Werth: [deadpans] "I can tell."
Kurkjian:" What did you think of the picture of Kruk on the back of the bus?"
[Bobble head-looking Kurkjian and Kruk are shown.]
Werth: "He looks good, man. You know, keeping in shape..."
Kruk: [sheepishly] "That wasn't me."
Werth: "It wasn't was it?"
Kruk: "[It's] probably him." [points to Kurkjian]
Werth: "I don't what's going on in this bus. It's kinda weird in here, you know."
[Abrupt cut in footage.]
Kruk: "So you signed with the Washington Nationals. A lot of people in Philly, most of them my friends said that apparently you don't care about winning anymore. Do you believe that?"
Werth: "I mean, everybody has their opinion, I can ---"
Kruk: "Welll they're my friends so they made bad judgements there..."
Werth: "That's true. You know it's interesting. I don't really look at it like that. I looked at it as an opportunity to go somewhere for a long time and basically build it from the ground up and turn it into a winner. That's the plan. I hate to lose and I don't take losing lightly, so I don't plan on losing. I'm here to win."
The conversation continued with Werth talking about his overcoming a wrist injury to resurrect his career. Can he help to resurrect baseball in the nation's capital?