• Nats Sign C Koyie Hill: The Chicago Cubs released 33-year-old catcher Koyie Hill on Sunday after he refused an assignment to Triple-A and cleared waivers. The Washington Nationals, who've had injuries to catchers decimate the depth in their system this season announced this afternoon that they'd signed the former Dodgers, D-backs' and now former Cubs' catcher who had a .179/.179/.205 line in 11 games and 39 PA's for Chicago this year. In 313 games and 966 PA's over the course of his career, LA's 4th Round pick in the 2000 Draft has a .210/.271/.294 line with a .992 fld% and a 28% CS% as a major leaguer. According to the Nats on Twitter (@NationalsPR) he'll report to Triple-A Syracuse:
The Nationals have signed C Koyie Hill to a minor-league contract. He will report to Triple-A Syracuse.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 19, 2012
• TACQB: Just when when you thought we'd finally gotten past the whole, "That's a clown question, bro!" phenomenon, Nevada Senator Harry Reid (from Harper's home state) officially ended the phenomenon by dropping the line on reporters this afternoon and getting laughs from the press. (I swear I hear a reporter asking if he said "Bro," on the audio here.) Check out the video of Bryce Harper's catchphrase coming out of a senators' mouth:
• h/t to the WaPost's Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog for finding this.
• Tonight's lineup and a quick rehab update after the so-called jump...
• When D.C. GM Mike Rizzo was asked recently about what the future held for right-handed reliever Henry Rodriguez, who's been on the DL with a "strained right finger" that he slammed in a door, the general manager said he's nowhere close to giving up on the 25-year-old control-challenged flamethrower. Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier the Nats were going to be, "... extremely patient with this guy," who the Nationals still think is, "... going to be a terrific, major league, back of the bullpen guy in the very, very near future."
"[Rodriguez] came in, remember, as a seventh inning guy for us out of Spring Training," Rizzo said, "and was thrown into a ninth inning role extremely quickly. No one expected [Drew] Storen to go down and [Brad] Lidge to go down, our two closers that we felt very comfortable with before the season started. And all [Rodriguez] did when he was thrown in quickly was [go] 9 for 12 in save opportunities, then had some struggles for sure with his command, but you give up on these guys too quick and they turn out to be Joel Hanrahan on you and it makes you look pretty bad."
According to the Nats (again on Twitter @NationalsPR), both Henry Rodriguez and right-hander Cole Kimball, who underwent surgery last season to repair a torn rotator cuff, are set to begin rehab stints as they work their respective ways back to the mound:
RH Henry Rodriguez (Syracuse) and RH Cole Kimball (GCL Nats) begin rehab assignments today. Kimball pitched 1.0 scoreless inn. this morning.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 19, 2012
• The Nationals also announced tonight's starting lineup for the first game of three with the Tampa Bay Rays:
#Nationals lineup 6/19 vs. #Rays- Espinosa 4, Harper 8, Zimmerman 5, Morse 9, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Moore 7, Flores 2, Wang 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 19, 2012
• And Here's the Rays' lineup courtesy of St. Petersburg Times' Rays beat writer Marc Tompkin on Twitter (@TBTimes_Rays):
#Rays lineup: Jennings lf, Pena 1b, Upton cf, Joyce rf, Zobrist 2b, Lobaton c, Johnson ss, Rhymes 3b, Price p— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) June 19, 2012