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Wire Taps: Nationals pick 18th in 2014 MLB Draft, Matt Williams on Don Zimmer

The Washington Nationals have the 18th pick of the 2014 MLB Draft tonight. Baseball America just released their 4th Mock Draft and went with a different name this time, but one that's been mentioned often in connection with the Nats.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 MLB Draft takes place tonight. The Washington Nationals have the 18th pick. We'll have more on the draft later this afternoon. For now, before we get to the links, here's what Nats' skipper Matt Williams had to say about the passing of baseball lifer Don Zimmer last night. The one-time player, manager and coach ended his playing days in a Washington Senators uniform, playing two and a half seasons in the nation's capital from 1963-65. Williams knew and learned from him and spoke about him after last night's game.

"It’s a sad day for everybody that knows Don and his family. I got a chance to sit with him a little bit last year and talk to him. Taught me a lot about baseball and he’s taught a lot of people about baseball. Fantastic ambassador, great coach/manager and we all mourn the loss of him today. Great memories, provided many, many baseball players and fans and organizations with great memories."

Links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!:


• "Zimmer, a baseball icon for the past six decades -- most recently as a senior advisor for the Rays -- passed away on Wednesday at BayCare Alliant Hospital in Dunedin, Fla. He was 83." - "Baseball icon Don Zimmer dies at 83" - Marty Noble, News

• Baseball America's Latest Mock Draft:

• "GM Mike Rizzo’s track record with Scott Boras Corp. clients leads to the Nationals being viewed as a landing spot for injured UNLV righthander Erick Fedde, who had Tommy John surgery in May." - "Mock Draft 5.0: Aiken Looks Like No. " - John Manuel,


• "The current draft class, Nationals evaluators say, is deep with hard-throwing pitchers and left-handed power bats." - "Nationals are willing to take a risk with the 18th pick in Thursday’s draft" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "The Nationals have proven to be a team that is willing to take a risk on an injured player, and they've seen it work both ways." - "Nats not afraid of draft prospects deemed injury risks" - Chase Hughes, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "Williams went into greater detail about how the recovery for Harper's torn ligament is a longer process when compared to Zimmerman's fracture." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams on Harper: 'I'd like to see him back by the first of July'" - Josh Land,

• "Triple-A Syracuse right-hander Christian Garcia was placed on the seven-day disabled list Wednesday because of shoulder discomfort, has learned." - "Shoulder woes send prospect Garcia to DL" - Daniel Popper, News

• "Harper has been on the disabled list since April 26 with a torn ulnar collateral in his left thumb that required surgery. The timetable given then was a 6-8 weeks." - "Nationals hopeful of July 1 return for Bryce Harper" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "It’s only five games. That qualifier needs to be made. Five days from now, the storyline could be completely reversed." - "Washington Nationals starting to look like a contender again" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• " What a difference a month makes. On May 3, the Nationals couldn't touch Phillies right-hander A.J. Burnett." - "Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals - June 4, 2014" - Bill Ladson, WSH Recap

• "Over the past 18 2/3 innings spread over those 21 appearances, Clippard has allowed only 12 hits and struck out 20 batters." - "Tyler Clippard returns to form in Nationals’ bullpen" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "They had to sit through nearly a two-hour rain delay before they could finish it off, but the Nationals picked up their fourth win in their last five games..." - "Nationals Pastime: Hearing from Williams, Strasburg and Span after Nats' 8-4 win" - Dan Kolko,

• "Manager Matt Williams has noticed that the speedy center fielder is seeing the ball particularly well." - "Span heating up by slowing down" - Daniel Popper, News

• "The rain arrived in earnest just as the Phillies trimmed into the Nationals’ comfortable lead in the top of the seventh inning..." - "Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals handle Phillies, 8-4" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "The only member of the Nationals’ Opening Day lineup still on the disabled list is Bryce Harper, and team officials are hopeful the star outfielder will be ready to return in less than a month." - "Nationals hoping for Bryce Harper’s return around July 1" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Fister said his mentality doesn't change regardless of the score, though. It's always a 0-0 game in his head, which helps the right-hander not lose focus." - "Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals - June 5, 2014" - Daniel Popper, Preview

• "Harper has been on the disabled list since April 26 with a torn ulnar collateral in his left thumb that required surgery. The timetable given then was a 6-8 weeks." - "Nationals hopeful of July 1 return for Bryce Harper" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "'He may play first; he may play third during the course of this time that Bryce is still out, but he was open to it and he worked at it...'" - Matt Williams on Ryan Zimmerman -"Williams Doesn’t Rule Out Zimmerman Return to Third" - Chris Lingebach, CBS DC

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):


• "The soaking rain arrived too late for A.J. Burnett, the 37-year-old righthander who eschewed retirement for $16 million and one more shot at a championship, only to pitch through a hernia on a miserable Phillies team." - "Burnett battered as Phils fall to Nationals" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

• "But Shane [Shepard] has received some serious interest from area scouts from the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and he has attended "tryout" camps for both teams." - "Area high-school, college players await MLB draft results" - Lee Wagner, Port City Daily

• "'He's a belated Christmas present and Valentine's Day present that I've been waiting for,'" manager Ryne Sandberg said on Feb. 16." - "Phillies lose their fifth straight game" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News

• "Baseball America ranks him the No. 29 prospect.’s Jim Callis slots him No. 18 to the Washington Nationals." - "Casey Gillaspie ready for name to be called in MLB draft" - Paul Suellentrop, Wichita Eagle

• "The Washington Nationals selected [Reid] Humphreys in the 36th round of last year’s draft." - "Take 5: MLB Draft could deplete Mississippi State pitching staff" - The Clarion-Ledger

• "So hard-throwing UNLV right-hander Erick Fedde, who's being advised by Boras and who would have gone higher had he not gone under the knife, makes sense." - "MLB Mock Draft: Astros skip Rodon at No. 1 in deeper-than-expected draft" - Jon Heyman,


Triple-A Syracuse: "Taylor Hill, a 6-foot-3, 233-pound sinker-balling right-handed starter at Class AAA Syracuse, has an 8-1 record and a 1.57 ERA over 12 games..." - "Taylor Hill dominating at Syracuse" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Perez, Pleffner Named To Carolina League All-Star Team" - Luke Erickson,

• "Washington Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for the Class-A Advanced Potomac Nationals at Pfitzner Stadium on Friday, June 6th as the P-Nats host the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Kansas City Royals) at 7:05pm." - "Nats' Gio Gonzalez to rehab in Potomac on Friday" - Augusta Free Press

• "The Hagerstown Suns (40-19) put up five runs in the fifth inning on Wednesday night to erase a three-run deficit, and they held on for a 5-4 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds (34-25)." - "Suns down Delmarva 5-4, sweep series" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

• "Nationals starter, RHP Brett Brach (1-0) was exquisite through 6.0 innings in which he allowed one unearned run on just three hits while striking out four batters, hitting one batter, and walking none." - "Brach Shoves P-Nats Past Blue Rocks to Force Rubber Match" - Potomac Nationals News

• Senators 5-4 over Fightin Phils: Michael Taylor, 1 for 3, 2 R - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

• "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, fell to the Indianapolis Indians on Wednesday night from NBT Bank Stadium." - "Indians beat Chiefs, 11-2, on Wednesday" - Syracuse Chiefs News


• "Strasburg had yet another excellent start in seven innings: seven hits, four runs, two of which were earned, and 11 strikeouts." - "Washington Nationals Top Philadelphia Phillies 8-4 Following Extended Rain Delay To Win Series" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Anyhow, ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian recently wrote a lengthy piece on the sport’s unwritten rules, and Nats utility man Greg Dobbs played a starring role." - "Don’t pimp your home runs in front of the Nats’ Greg Dobbs" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog

• "Entering Wednesday’s game, Stephen Strasburg had not allowed an earned run in 21 consecutive innings against the Philadelphia Phillies." - "Washington Nationals Game 57 Review: Strasburg Continues Run Vs. Phillies in Nats 8-4 Win" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• "When Don Zimmer was a Washington Senator" - Nats Enquirer


• Phillies: "With no sign of a miraculous turnaround coming, a Phillies' fan has started a petition to get rid of the man who put together this mess of a team." - "Fire Ruben Amaro Jr.? Petition starts for Phillies to get rid of GM" - Eliot Shorr-Parks,

Mets: "For the second straight year, the Nationals’ on-paper talent is not translating to NL East supremacy." - "Mets must seize unexpected opportunity and spend" - Joel Sherman, New York Post

Marlins: "Meanwhile, Turner is also coming off a loss. The Braves took advantage of four walks and put five runs up on the righty in five innings Saturday." - "Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays - June 5, 2014" - Maria Torres, Preview

Braves: "Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is hopeful Heyward's hot streak will rub off on his club, which has failed to score a run in 16 straight innings." -  "Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks - June 6, 2014" - Joe Morgan, Preview