Mike Rizzo on Nationals Rumors:
As usual, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo was clear when he spoke to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies this morning, that he doesn't respond to rumors in the press.
Doing so, at this time of the year especially, is of no benefit to anyone who is talking with other teams and potentially trying to work out trades.
A lot of talks take place throughout the season and in the weeks leading up to the non-waiver deadline, but as Rizzo put it, "... for every deal that you do you work just as hard and just as many man-hours on twenty deals that you don't do."
Asked about a particular rumor from FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi that cited a source who said the Nationals expressed interest in Colorado Rockies' outfielder Charlie Blackmon, however, Rizzo went off script briefly.
"I don't comment on anything we're trying to do or not trying to do," he said, "but no, that one is not accurate."
Would he have admitted it if it was? Will anyone believe what he says either way? There are a number of reports that say the Nationals are interested in adding a bat to the lineup.
Asked if he had faith in players like Ben Revere and their track records or if he thought he needed to make a move, Rizzo said he didn't think the Nationals "had" to make a "major" move.
"I don't see a major hole that we have to fill," he explained. "I think we have a good team. We're not a perfect team by any means and I don't think there is a perfect team, but if there are ways to improve ourselves...
"Ben, the last four years he's hit close to .300 every year. He's a good player. We've got guys with track records that show us that they're second-half-type of guys.
"We've got Ryan Zimmerman on the DL that's coming back pretty soon. So, we like the team that we have, that's not to say that if an opportunity arises that improves us not only for this year but for the future, we certainly have to explore it.
"Sometimes you have to make moves, we've been in positions where we had to make moves in the past and we made them. I don't see any type of rush to make a move because I don't think we have any major holes that we have to fill.
"There are a lot of teams that would like to be in our position. We've got seven or eight really good, young controllable starters throughout our system and a lot of good position players and we're in first place in the standings, we've got a good group of guys in the clubhouse so, we're in a good spot, but like I said, if we can improve ourselves and it makes sense to do a deal that helps us we will."
Nationals Injury Updates:
• Mike Rizzo mentioned that Ryan Zimmerman is close to returning. He's scheduled to come off the 15-Day DL on Friday.
Here's what Dusty Baker told reporters about Zimmerman's status yesterday as he recovers from a rib strain:
"He was running the bases because you don't want your legs to get out of shape while you're trying to get the rest of your body in shape. That's the thing. We've got to make a decision whether we send him off for a rehab assignment -- I think he's eligible to come off the DL on Friday I think. We'll continue to make an evaluation. I think he might even hit on the field today. We'll see. The thing you don't want is a setback in this situation. That's the one thing you don't want."
• Anthony Rendon has been dealing with flu-like symptoms. Baker provided the following update on the third baseman before yesterday's game when asked if Rendon was still sick:
"Sick. That's pure and simple. He might be available to pinch hit today. He wasn't available at all the other day, just didn't want to tell you guys, because the other team still thought that he might be available while we were playing the Pirates. So he is available to maybe pinch hit today. He hasn't slept or ate much, you guys know how it is when you get sick in the heat. It's terrible. Just hope it doesn't go throughout the club cause these things kind of sometimes happen that way."
• Joe Ross, who's dealing with right shoulder inflammation, threw a simulated game against his teammates yesterday in Nationals Park. Here's what Baker had to say about the 23-year-old right-hander:
"Joe, he looked very good today. I think he threw 35 pitches or something like that, consecutive pitches. So that's a pretty good sign. He had good velocity, good slider, and barring any setbacks he might go out this weekend to pitch somewhere. I'm not sure where because we don't know the minor league schedule, so..."
As for how many rehab starts Ross might need before returning to the Nationals' rotation?:
"You don't just take him to 90 [pitches]. Today was 35, so the next step would probably be 50-60 maybe and then we'll see how he comes out of that one."