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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Steve Lombardozzi's Big Night, Rick Ankiel's Arm, Stephen Strasburg's W.

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Apr 16, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Stephen Lombardozzi (1) singles to center against the Houston Astors during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 16, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Stephen Lombardozzi (1) singles to center against the Houston Astors during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

• So how many times have you watched the replay of Washington Nationals' center fielder Rick Ankiel's laser of a throw home to Wison Ramos from last night's game? I think I'm up to 10, and I've shown it to two or three other people, though none of them seemed all too impressed. "But it was over 300ft and a strike and he got a standing ovation with a throw home and there wasn't even a play at the plate." Nothing, some people are hard to impress. After Ankiel, Steve Lombardozzi and Stephen Strasburg impressed last night in the Nats' 6-3 win over the Astros, it's Gio Gonzalez's turn tonight. Last time out against the Reds, Gonzalez threw 7.0 scoreless, but received no decision in a 3-2 Nationals' win. The 26-year-old left-hander's looking for his first curly-W tonight when he takes on the Astros' Wandy Rodriguez. Last season, the Nats had a .233/.311/.362 line against left-handers. Rodriguez, in particular, is (5-1) in nine career starts against the Nats. But these aren't last year's Nats. Davey Johnson's going with a right-hand heavy outfield tonight. Will Lombo get a second consecutive start? We'll have to wait until the lineups are announced. Until then, here are some links. Get started reading... RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "With [Rick] Ankiel about 300 feet from home plate, [Dave] Clark held [Jordan] Schafer anyway. Ankiel, though, did not disappoint." - "The importance of Rick Ankiel’s throwing arm" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "The crowd gave [Rick] Ankiel a standing ovation -- for a throw that didn't even record an out." - "Taking another look at Rick Ankiel's rocket throw and other notes from the Nationals' 6-3 victory" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Chien-Ming] Wang is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Wednesday at the Nationals' extended spring training complex in Viera, Fla." - "Nats won't rush Wang back" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The crowd was announced as 16,245, but there were far fewer in attendance Monday night. Those who didn't use their tickets missed a Strasburg win on a night he was upstaged by rookie second baseman Steve Lombardozzi." - "Nationals stay hot, and no one bothered to watch" - Kevin Dunleavy, Washington Examiner

• "The Nationals righty walked only one batter and struck out five, but when he came off the mound in the sixth inning, he told manager Davey Johnson he had a feeling he was tipping his pitches..." - "Strasburg talks improved curveball, tipping pitches after Nats' win" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Prior to this year, [Craig] Stammen was never a strikeout pitcher in the big leagues. What's the change? He is 100 percent healthy and trusts his pitching instincts." - "Stammen always has something to prove" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Monday night, while giving incumbent second baseman Danny Espinosa a day of rest, [Davey] Johnson inserted [Steve] Lombardozzi in the lineup and he delivered a spectacular 4-for-5 performance." - "Lombardozzi steps in with career night in Nationals win" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Stephen Lombardozzi started the game only to give second baseman Danny Espinosa a night off, a 'mental break,' Manager Davey Johnson said." - "Nationals vs. Astros: Stephen Lombardozzi gets big hit to lift Stephen Strasburg to victory" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "But [Rick] Ankiel might have topped himself last night with a throw that won't soon be forgotten around the Nationals' clubhouse." - "Ankiel's jaw-dropping throw" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "A big reason Desmond is off to the good start is because he is no longer worried about his status on the team. If he goes hitless in a game, Desmond knows he is not going to be on the bench the next day." - "Desmond credits Johnson for fast start" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "A potential surgery, which ultimately was ruled out, would have come with a recovery period of nine to 12 months." - "Nats' Morse can only watch, wait" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Michael] Morse described his lat injury as unique to position players. He said doctors told him roughly 10 pitchers had sustained this specific strain." - "Michael Morse thought he was going to have surgery, miss 9-12 months" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Because [Chien-Ming] Wang is suffering from a lower-body injury, he's still been able to build up strength in his arm while he's been sidelined over the last month." - "Chien-Ming Wang to face hitters Wednesday" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos said the difference from start to start was the effectiveness of [Gio] Gonzalez's changeup." - "Houston Astros at Washington Nationals - April 17, 2012" - Doug Miller, MLB.com Preview

• "Manager Davey Johnson has said he expects [Chien-Ming] Wang to return by the end of April." - "Chien-Ming Wang will throw a simulated game Wednesday" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Making just his second start of the season in place of Danny Espinosa, Lombardozzi has played a major factor tonight. The 23-year-old is now 6-for-11 this season." - "Have yourself a ballgame, Steve Lombardozzi (Nats win 6-3)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "In a Washington Nationals season that is just 11 games old, Steve Lombardozzi spent nine of the first 10 getting antsy." - "Lombardozzi helps Strasburg, Nats pull out win" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Davey] Johnson said [Danny] Espinosa, hitting .194, needed a mental day off and was trying too hard at the plate. In came [Steve] Lombardozzi..." - "Houston Astros at Washington Nationals - April 16, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "'I've been loving being up here with these guys; it's been fun,' Lombardozzi said. 'But you also get that itch. After you watch a couple of games, you want to get out there.'" - "Lombo's big night saves Strasburg" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Having a more compassionate attitude helps you communicate more easily with your fellow human beings."

• NATS MINOR LEAGUES:

Class-A Suns: "The Suns scored all of their runs in the ninth inning; shortstop Jason Martinson blasted his third home run of the season, a three-run shot, and upped his RBI total to 13 for the season." - "Suns' Late Rally Falls Short in 5-4 Defeat to Shorebirds" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Randolph Oduber hit a two-out two-run single in the tenth as Potomac beat Frederick 6-4 in extra innings." - "EXTRA SET OF KEYS: NATIONALS WIN 6-4 IN 10" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Curve 5, Senators 2 - Jeff Kobernus - 2 for 4, 1 2B; Paul Demny - 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K's - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "Syracuse (3-8) picked up its first hit with two outs in the bottom of the fourth as Tyler Moore, playing left field for the first time in his career, looped a two-strike pitch to center field for a base hit." - "Chiefs' comeback clipped by Red Sox" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Bryce Harper loves to swing and run. After he put a generic single into leftfield to start the seventh inning, he turned on the jets and slid in with his fourth double of his first Triple-A season at Alliance Bank Stadium on Monday." - "Chiefs come up short, Harper 2-for-4, Johnson makes debut" - Ben Meyer, The Auburn Citizen

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

• NATSTOWN:

• ? Is it true Astros taste like chicken to sharks? "SHARK VS ASTROS" - Sharkadina

• "The Nationals are off to the best start since their arrival in D.C., and there is a lot to be excited about, including one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and a team full of young talent." - "Be wary of April standings" - Nationals Buzz: Joe Drugan, MASNSports.com

• "Video of Rick Ankiel's ridiculous laser throw, with laser sound effects." - Nats Enquirer

• "He did not play for the Senators but he sure made a lot of history when he played against the Senators in Washington. The person I am referring to is Mickey Mantle." - "This Day in D.C. Baseball History – Mantle’s Tape Measure Home Run" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Rick Ankiel’s strike from center field" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "Overall, Lombardozzi banged out four hits and drove in four runs. His effort helped Washington starter Stephen Strasburg (2-0) earn his second win of the young season." - "Washington Nationals Game 11 Review: Lombardozzi’s big night leads Nats; makes winner of Strasburg" - Anthony Amobi, District Sports Page

• "Jayson Werth’s Hand Must Taste Like A Doritos Locos Taco" - Danger Nat, Nationals Inquisition

• "Lay everything else off to the side and just witness such a display of athletic achievement. How many humans could do what he just did?" - "Someone more technologically adept than me needs to make that video" - Bang! Zoom!

• "Besides your 8-3 Washington Nationals, the minor league system is well underway. Here are the current leaders in the Nats Minor League system." - "Nationals minor league system leaders" - Mark Buterbaugh, DC Pro Sports Report

• NL EAST:

Mets: "You would be forgiven this past off-season if you didn't pay much attention to the team the Mets were planning to put on the field." - "Could The Mets Keep Surprising Us?" - Marc Normadin, Baseball Nation

Phillies: "Roy Halladay and the Phillies beat Tim Lincecum at AT&T park. AND despite the presence of Laynce Nix and Juan Pierre in the lineup. It was a magical night." - "Halladaytastic - Phillies 5, Giants 2" - lizroscher, The Good Phight

Braves/Mets: "'It might,' Jones said before last night’s game at Turner Field, 'be a recording of all my plate appearances where they announce my name – and the chorus of boos rained down.'" - "Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones praises Mets, prepares for retirement tour" - Andy McCullough, NJ.com

Marlins: "Because I do not often get a chance to be in south Florida for the baseball season, I took this time to make sure I dropped by the ballpark and took plenty of pictures of the events that would unfold." - "A Personal Visit to Marlins Park" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes