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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg Throwing In Florida, Jordan Zimmermann In Houston, Chien-Ming Wang In Syracuse.

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WASHINGTON - JUNE 08:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on June 8, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JUNE 08: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on June 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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• Programming Notes: After Jason Marquis outdueled (oulasted?) Jordan Lyles last night in Minute Maid Park, the Washington Nationals send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound in search of their 49th win of 2011. Zimmermann will be facing Astros' right-hander J.A. Happ tonight in Houston, and the Nats' right-hander will be trying to get to .500 if he can collect his seventh win of 2011. Has anyone found Michael Morse's HR ball yet? Can Ryan Zimmerman hit another oppo-boppo blast? Is tonight the night Jayson Werth catches fire? 8:05 pm EDT tonight in Texas. MASN 2 HD, MLB.tv, 106.7 the FAN in D.C., 1500 WFED, Sirius/XM ch. 185. Who's Watching the Nationals? 

• LINKS AND LINKS AND...

• NATS BEAT: 

• "'His velocity is good. He’s progressing. He’s mixing in all his pitches, which is good. He’s right on track where he needs to be.'" - Mike Rizzo on Stephen Strasburg - "Stephen Strasburg throws a simulated game" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Rizzo approaches July with the premise that very few of his players are untradable." - "Rumor season doesn't mean Clippard or Storen are going anywhere" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "'Taking BP, the initial swinging, I was a little tentative,' Hairston said of his rehab assignment. 'But after a couple days, especially in the second game, it was just like being back playing again.'" - "Injury updates: Pudge, Hairston, Gorzelanny" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I hear he threw outstanding,' [Davey] Johnson said. 'He threw 95 [mph]. "I know he's holding back,' Johnson added with a smile. 'I know he's chomping at the bit to get back [here].'" - "Johnson pleased with Strasburg's sim game" - Gene Duffy, nationals.com: News

• "If it wasn't obvious already, Werth is really pressing, trying too hard to make something good happen to make up for his overwhelming struggles at the plate." - "On Marquis, Werth and Strasburg" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Asked about the status of his bullpen before the Nationals' 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros, manager Davey Johnson stated bluntly that it was in 'shambles.'" - "Marquis helps Nationals top struggling Astros" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'We got calls early on a lot of players, and we kind of dismiss a lot of them,' Rizzo said. 'After a while, they don’t ask for Espinosa.'" - "Nationals fielding trade calls on bullpen, Ivan Rodriguez and veteran starters" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "They need to win the three-game series against the Astros this week, if not sweep it, and after a tough 9-8 loss to the Braves on Sunday, they put things back together." - "Nationals get back to .500 with 5-2 win over Astros" - Ben Goessling, MASNSports.com

• "'Our defense made some great plays behind me. With the bullpen having to use so many innings [on Sunday in Atlanta], I wanted to go as long as possible.'" - Jason Marquis -"Washington Nationals at Houston Astros: Nationals top Astros with ninth-inning rally" - Gene Duffey, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "'If you can make a trade to better yourself long-term (we will.) ... If we’re buyers, it’ll be a long-term asset that will help us this year and down the road. We could also be sellers, too.'" - Mike Rizzo - "Rizzo on trade deadline: 'We're fielding more calls than we're making.'" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I feel fresh and ready to roll,' Hairston said. 'This is a pretty important stretch for us. Hopefully, we can make a run here.'" - "Wrist healed, Hairston rejoins Nationals" - Gene Duffy, nationals.com: News

• "Except two plays at the end of the game still stuck with Manager Davey Johnson, 'the kind of plays I’m trying to stop around here,' Johnson said." - "Lots of good last night, but a little ugly, too" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'[Bernadina‘s] the guy that I think has, right now, the best opportunity to leadoff for us. … I like what he’s doing. In this organization, he’s the leadoff hitter, center fielder.'" - Davey Johnson - "Bernadina providing spark at leadoff spot" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I want to be behind a guy who is a bulldog on the mound, and that's what he is. He's going to come after you like, 'This is what I've got.'" - Danny Espinosa on Jordan Zimmermann - "Washington Nationals at Houston Astros: Nationals aim for fifth straight win over Astros" - Cash Kruth, MLB.com Preview

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "If we find we cannot help others, the least we can do is to desist from harming them." - 

• NATS MINOR LEAGUE UPDATES: 

Class-A Auburn: "The Doubledays got great pitching all night long, as former North Carolina teammates Colin Bates and Greg Holt held the Muckdogs to three runs on eight hits." - "Seventh Inning Charge Lifts Auburn Over Batavia" - Auburn Doubledays News

Class-A Hagerstown: "Suns LHP Robbie Ray, who did not receive a decision, went 2.1 innings and surrendered three earned runs on three hits and four walks, while fanning five." - "Hagerstown Loses Rubber Match" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Cameron Selik and a pair of relievers made sure that run held up as the Nats shut out the Lynchburg Hillcats 1-0 in front of 2,914 at Pfitzner Stadium." - "SELIK PITCHES P-NATS TO SHUTOUT WIN" - Potomac Nationals News

• Double-A Harrisburg: Erik Arnesen - 6.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K's; Bryce Harper - 0 for 3, 1BB, .194 AVG - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

• Double-A Harrisburg: Game Highlights - 


• via @Senatorsbaseball on the Twitter

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs announced today that Washington Nationals starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is scheduled to start for the Chiefs on Tuesday, July 19." - "Wang scheduled to start in Syracuse on Tuesday" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "'[Marrero] is doing a really good job in his first year in Triple-A in the International League, which is a tough league,' [Nationals hitting instructor Rick] Schu said." - "Marrero's steady progress at first base paying dividends in Syracuse" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Steve] Lombardozzi hit his first two AAA home runs this weekend and went 3-for-5 on Sunday. He’s now hitting .357 in Syracuse and has multi-hit games in each of his last three games." - "Nats Minor League Report for Week Ending July 18" - Nats News Network

• "Tuesday’s News & Notes" - NationalsProspects.com

NATSSHARKTOWN!!!:

• "The Shark has ventured into space before, so he knows what to expect.  Something tells me this is going to be a delicious road trip..." - "SHARK VS ASTROS" - Sharkadina

NATSTOWN: 

• "Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman each had home runs and combined for every Nationals hit until the ninth inning, when Roger Bernadina led off the inning with the game tied at two." - "GAME 96 REVIEW: A Little Marquis Magic Does in Houston" - Tyler Radecki, Nats News Network

• "Where Michael Morse's home run landed" - Nats Enquirer

• "While it is not realistic to think the Nats will contend this year, they are clearly no longer a doormat." - "Nats' Chase for their First Winning Record in DC" - Michael J. Perkins, Washington Nationals Daily News

• "The first eight innings was a duel between Marquis and rookie hurler Jordan Lyles. Each allowed just two runs in that time and this game had that feel of 'the next run wins.'" - "Nats use 3-run 9th to get by Astros" - Zach Myles, DC Double Play

• NL EAST UPDATES: 

Marlins"Lefty specialist Randy Choate didn’t mind so much the first time Marlins manager Jack McKeon pulled him from a game in the middle of a count against a batter." - "Randy Choate fumes, but Jack McKeon doesn’t care because Florida Marlins won" - Joe Capozzi, Fish Tank blog: Florida Marlins The Palm Beach Post

Braves: "Lefties Eric O’Flaherty and George Sherrill have helped bridge the gap between the starting rotation and their thunder-and-lightning combination of Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters at the back end of the bullpen." - "Fantasy Beat: Kimbrel and Venters: Ticking Time Bombs?" - Jason Collette, Baseball Prospectus

Phillies"I’ve become known as a Howard-hater (I’m not really), so I will just present the facts and leave the conclusions up to you, the reader." - "Ryan Howard Sitting on Career-Lows" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Mets: "After just one rehab game, Jose Reyes is ready to come off the disabled list." - "NY Mets' Jose Reyes Ready To Return From DL; Carlos Beltran Still Hampered By Flu; David Wright Goes 3 for 6 For St. Lucie" - CBS New York