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i think i read somewhere the weather isn't going to be too pleasant for the chiefs game, hopefully zimmermann gets his inning in. and mike o'connor will get bumped up to AAA when JZ gets the nod up here. I still would like to see O'Connor move to the pen, b/c when Matt Chico gets healthy he'll probably take a spot in the 'Cuse rotation.
Forecast is 51 degrees and partly sunny for first pitch
Another Title Run for the Potomac Nationals?By ROBERT DASKIPublished: April 8, 2009Boomer Whiting remembers the night the Potomac Nationals uncorked the champagne bottles and came together for a wild celebration after winning the 2008 Mills Cup title.Plastic sheets covered the lockers in Pfitzner Stadium's home clubhouse as players soaked the floor with champagne before returning to the field to run around the bases a final time before exiting for the eve-ning.While Potomac's players, fans and front office members will not forget watching the players clinch the franchise's first championship since 1989, Whiting knows players must turn their attention to a new season."Last year is over and even though we had a great year last year, it's time to put it behind us and concentrate on the 2009 season and what we're going to do this year," said Whiting, a returning outfielder.Fourteen other players who finished last season in Potomac return and seven come to Woodbridge from Low-A Hagerstown."If we do things the right way and everybody reaches their potential, I feel really good about the ball club," manager Trent Jewett said. "I think it's got a nice mix. I think the personalities are good."Jewett, a longtime Pirates minor league manager, takes over for Randy Knorr, whom the Washington organi-zation promoted to be the parent club's bullpen coach.Pitching coach Paul Menhart begins his first season at Potomac after spending the previous two at Hagers-town. Hitting coach Jerry Browne returns for his second stint as Potomac's hitting coach.Potomac's returning offensive players showed an ability to hit for average, power and drive in runs last season. Whiting hit .284, Francisco Plasencia hit .278 and Michael Burgess swatted six home runs and had 19 RBI in 19 games.Infielder Tim Pahuta arrives after hitting 17 home runs with 73 RBI and shortstop Danny Espinosa hit .328 at short-season Vermont, collecting 21 hits in 19 games."We've got a bunch of great returning guys, but on top of that we've got some new guys that can swing the bat well," third baseman Stephen King said. "We should have a pretty potent offense."Right-handed pitcher Erik Arnesen, the starter in Potomac's Mills Cup clinching game last September, will start Thursday's season opener against Lynchburg.Returning starter Jeff Mandel will pitch Sunday's series finale.Left-hander Will Atwood, ranked 24th on industry magazine Baseball America's list of Washington prospects, comes to Potomac from Vermont where he went 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA in 12 starts."It's my first full season in pro ball and my arm's in good shape so I can stay healthy for the whole season," Atwood said.He spent last fall in Washington's instructional league and feels his curveball has improved because of that experience."I've worked on tightening it up," Atwood said.Atwood will follow Arnesen in the rotation. Tom Milone (0-3, 2.89 in Hagerstown) and Brad Meyers (9-7, 4.79 in Hagerstown) will be the third and fifth starters.As players and coaches board the bus to Lynchburg, they will be closer to starting their 140-game season. This comes after a winter of working out individually and a spring training of playing exhibition games instead of ones that count."It's always exciting to get the season underway," Whiting said. "After a long off-season and spring training, you're always eager and anxious to get that first game under your belt."We've got a great squad coming back, a lot of returning guys from the championship team. We've got a nice core group of guys that understand what it takes to win ballgames. We've got a good mix of starters and relievers and guys that can really swing it."
Suns try to buck trend of minorsBy BOB PARASILITIAPRIL 9, email@example.comEven in his first year as a manager, Matt LeCroy knows the painful truth of minor league baseball.“Minor League baseball isn’t always about winning,” the Hagerstown Suns manager said.Then he added a personal qualifier.“But winning makes it more fun.”The Suns start a quest to change the minor league motto by molding into a winning Washington Nationals-affiliated team when they open the 2009 season tonight in Eastlake, Ohio, against the Lake County Captains.The Suns are in their third year with the Nationals, but are gunning for their first winning season under the parent club. LeCroy says anything is possible if the Suns keep with the “dirtbag” identity they groomed at spring training.“They aren’t big. You see them at the mall, you wouldn’t think they were baseball players,” LeCroy said. “But they come to the park ready to play. They get dirty, play hard, play defense and run the bases.”The first person to test the Suns’ formula will be opening day starter Brad Pea****. The right-hander is beginning his second stint with the Suns after spending part of the 2008 season with Vermont in the New York Penn League. He was 0-5 with a 9.09 ERA in Hagerstown.“I want to prove myself this year,” Pea**** said. “I’m going out there and I want to keep the ball down. We have a great defense behind us. I’m going to be able to go out there and throw strikes.”Pea**** is one of nine former Suns returning to Hagerstown to start the South Atlantic League season. His experience in the league could help show the rest of the Suns staff the ropes, but he gets the first start for more natural reasons.“He’s getting the start because it is just his turn to pitch,” Suns pitching coach Rich Gale said. “Pea**** has three solid pitches, including a live fastball and an outstanding changeup. He can throw 90 to 94 mph and his change can be really good because he has a short, fast arm.“The first series with the Captains will be an audition of sorts for the Suns pitchers because Gale plans to get all 13 members work in the first four games. No roles or overall strategies will be decided. It’s just a chance to give the pitchers work in game conditions.The Suns offense is being built around speed to disrupt and influence opposing defenses and create scoring opportunities for the stronger bats in the lineup, which include third baseman Stephen Sousa, catcher Derek Norris and center fielder Marcus Jones.“They love to go out and take extra bases,” LeCroy said. “As a former catcher, I know how much speed can change defenses and add pressure on teams.”But in the bigger picture of things, LeCroy’s job is to get the Suns ready to advance through the system to a possible big-league career with the Nationals.“I hope I can help them get focused and into a routine to help them move up,” LeCroy said. “I want them to be professionals. If they work hard, they will give the team a chance. If we come out and play the way we have in the spring, we’ll be fine.”Hagerstown SunsOpening Day lineupChris Curran LFSteve Lombardozzi 2BStephen Souza 3BDerek Norris CMarcus Jones CFRon Labria 1BStephen Englund DHMichael Guerrero RFNick Artia SSBrad Pea**** RHP
P-Nationals' Marrero won't let setback derail his goalsChris Marrero taking assignment back to Single-A Potomac Nationals in strideDate published: 4/9/2009BY RICH CAMPBELL--Chris Marrero's master plan for reaching the major leagues did not include taking batting practice for the Potomac Nationals on the eve of Opening Day. The 15th overall draft pick in 2006 hoped--at the very least--to be in the highest levels of the minor leagues by now.Yet here was Marrero, one of the Washington Nationals' top prospects, inside the batting cage yesterday at windswept Pfitzner Stadium launching balls over the outfield fence and into the woods.His fast track to the majors took a detour last June when he broke his right fibula and tore ankle ligaments while sliding into home plate. Nine months later, he's eager to resume his climb to the big leagues, even if it means doing so from Single-A Potomac instead of a higher level."I'm not the one who makes the decisions," Marrero said regarding his assignment to Potomac. "But wherever I'm at, I'm going to play 100 percent. I want to have fun where I'm at. We have a great team here and guys that I really haven't played with. I look forward to playing with the guys we have on the team here."Considering the path Marrero was blazing to the big leagues before his injury, it wouldn't be a surprise for him to speak those words through clenched teeth. But he feels no bitterness. After missing so much valuable time, he simply wants to play baseball again.Marrero, 20, entered last season ranked as the Nationals' top prospect by Baseball America magazine. He led Washington's farm system in 2007 with 88 RBIs at two Single-A levels, and he was named to the South Atlantic league all-star game.He started slowly in 2008, but he batted .352 in the 14 games that preceded his injury and accumulated 11 homers in 70 games. It was easy to see him finishing the year at Double-A Harrisburg or Triple-A Columbus, and the Nationals, in a way, were counting on it.With the contracts of incumbent big league first basemen Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young set to expire after this season, Marrero was a prime candidate to be Washington's starting first baseman in 2010.Instead, he watched the second half of last season from his home in Miami with a boot on his surgically repaired leg, trying not to dwell on all his missed at-bats."I definitely felt like I could have progressed a lot," Marrero said. "I was hitting the ball great before I got hurt. I felt bad. It was horrible being hurt."Rather than wallow in self-pity, Marrero became determined to improve himself the only way he could with a broken leg: eating healthier.His grandmother was around to cook his favorite meals while he was in Miami, but Marrero resisted the temptations. He showed up to major league spring training in February appearing as muscular as anyone in the Nationals' organization had ever seen him."This year I just told myself that whether I didn't like the food or not I was going to do the right thing and eat the right food," he said. "I took it on myself. Guys in the big leagues do it, so why not start now?"Marrero was invited to major league spring training largely because that begins three weeks before minor league camp. After missing so much time in 2008, the Nationals believed Marrero would benefit from the extra work.Plus, it never hurts to be around the big league club and play in front of the organization's top decision-makers.Marrero made the most of his opportunity by going 4-for-12 (.333) with two RBIs before being reassigned to minor league camp."He looked real good," said Bobby Williams, Washington's director of player development. "You could tell he put in the work this winter to get in shape as far as the weight room and conditioning, and he improved his eating habits. It was a real good experience for him to come into big league camp and get some at-bats. We're expecting big things out of him."Said Marrero: "It was a spring I'm never going to forget. It's different up there. It makes you want to work harder. You realize up there is where it's at."But Marrero knows he won't be promoted simply because of his pedigree as a first-round draft choice. He has to earn it.An important part of that is patience. Marrero, as most top prospects do, keeps an informal timeline for his ascent to the majors in the back of his mind. But after his setback, his performance will likely suffer if he gets impatient."He's still young and he's still learning," Potomac hitting coach Jerry Browne said. "He's got a long way to go. I think he's got a bright future ahead of him. It's just going to have to be where he's taking it one day at a time and not trying to rush it."Marrero says he is fully healthy and ready to pick up where he left off. The balls cracking off his bat and flying all over Pfitzner Stadium yesterday support that.If he carries that over to games beginning with today's opener at Lynchburg, he won't stay in Potomac long."I'm just telling myself that I want to get ahead here," he said. "I want to do the right thing and play hard every day, and hopefully the decision is made for me to go up."
ON DECK FOR THE SENATORSTEAM: Reading Phillies (0-0).WHERE AND WHEN: FirstEnergy Stadium, Reading, 7:05 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 6:05 p.m. Saturday.FORECAST: Thursday: high of 59, mostly sunny; Friday: high of 57, 40 percent chance of showers; Saturday: high of 52, 50 percent chance of showers.READING PROBABLE STARTERS: RHP Tyson Brummett (7-12, 4.98 ERA at Reading, Clearwater and Lakewood) Thursday; LHP Joe Savery (9-10, 4.13 at Clearwater) Friday; RHP Vance Worley (3-2, 2.48 ERA at Lakewood and Williamsport) Saturday.HARRISBURG PROBABLE STARTERS: LHP Michael O'Connor (6-4, 3.00 last year at Washington, Columbus and GCL Nationals) Thursday; LHP Justin Jones (6-6, 4.30 at Harrisburg, Potomac and Hagerstown) Friday; LHP Ross Detwiler (8-8, 4.86 at Potomac) Saturday.READING TOP HITTERS: OF Michael Taylor (.346, 19 HR, 88 RBI at Clearwater and Lakewood); OF Quintin Berry (.272, 3 HR, 43 RBI at Clearwater); 2B Brad Harman (.208, 17 HR, 57 RBI at Philadelphia and Reading).HARRISBURG TOP HITTERS: OF Leonard Davis (.308, 25 HR, 76 RBI at Columbus, Harrisburg and Potomac); 2B Seth Bynum (.264, 21 HR, 79 RBI at Harrisburg and Potomac); OF Marvin Lowrance (.274, 20 HR, 63 RBI at Harrisburg and Potomac).NOTES: FirstEnergy Stadium was recently ranked as the third best ballparkin minor league baseball by Baseball America. Built in 1951, it's the oldest ballpark to make the Top 10. All others on the list were built this decade. "No team has done more with less than Reading," the magazine said. "The R-Phils managed to turn the same ballpark that once hosted a rising prospect named Roger Maris into one of the top places to see a game." ...Harman, who led Eastern League middle infielders in home runs last year, started at shortstop for Team Australia in the World Baseball Classic. ... Reading skipper Steve Roadcap, an Upper Dauphin High School product, played five seasons ('82-86) as a catcher in the Chicago Cubs' farm system. He batted .199 with three homers and 61 RBIs in 294 career games, twicereaching Class AAA. ... Eighteen of Harrisburg's 24 players previously played for the Senators. The six who are making their Senators' debuts: Detwiler, right-handed relievers Matt Avery and Josh Wilkie, catcher Jhonatan Solano, utility infielder Michael Martinez and first baseman MattWhitney. ... In addition, Senators manager John Stearns returns for this third season in charge. And assistant coaches Troy Gingrich ('01-03) and Randy Tomlin ('89-90) spent time with the Senators during their playing careers. ... Under manager Scott Little, Harrisburg opened in Reading in 2007, losing 4-1. The Phillies swept the series, and the Senators lost their first six games en route to a 55-86 campaign. ... Stearns and the Senators won their season opener in 2006, 2-1 in 10 innings at home against Erie. The team also won a 10-inning game for Stearns on opening day last year when Luis Jimenez's three-run, walk-off homer on City Island gave theSenators an 8-5 victory over Akron. ... Harrisburg's roster features six players born outside the continental United States: RHP Luis Atilano and OF Edgardo Baez from Puerto Rico, LHP Yunior Novoa and Martinez from Dominican Republic, Solano from Colombia and 3B Ofilio Castro from Nicaragua.
The Chiefs are set to begin their season led by their "Accidental Manager"by Bud Poliquin/The Post-Standard's sports columnistThursday April 09, 2009, 12:02 AMSyracuse, N.Y. -- You know, this new skipper in town, this Tim Foli, has landed among us with quite a resume.He was the overall No. 1 pick, by the New York Mets, in the 1968 draft. He helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series in 1979, which was the same season in which he struck out once every 42.4 plate appearances. He led all National League shortstops in fielding percentage in two different years. And he once he even hit for the cycle.But Foli -- who believes not at all that the older we get, the better we were -- isn't the least bit impressed."Who cares what I did?" he asked earlier this week. "I was a survivor, that's all. I survived. I played because I could catch the ball and throw it across the diamond. Nowadays, I don't know if I could even get in a lineup."Apparently, Foli -- who played nearly 1,700 games across 16 major-league seasons and committed errors back then as often as Howie Mandel now reaches for a comb -- hasn't merely checked his ego at the door. He's bound it, gagged it and locked it away.And now he's here in our town as the 39th guy over these past 74 years to serve as the manager of the Syracuse Chiefs. Reluctantly, it turns out."I wanted to be a major-league manager a long time ago, but now I don't," said Foli. "Don't get me wrong. I like this part of the game, but I really enjoy roving and teaching and working with kids. The people above me, though, feel as the manager of this team I'm in the best position to help the organization. I'm doing this because I was asked."He is, then, the Accidental Skipper. And his first regular-season shift with the Chiefs is scheduled for this afternoon when his Syracuse club, now the affiliate of the Washington Nationals, hopes to play the Rochester Red Wings at Alliance Bank Stadium beginning at 2 o'clock.That everybody in the north-side joint will be shivering is a given, of course. This is, after all, Syracuse. And wearing thermal underwear on Opening Day is a local custom that seemed on Tuesday to have been lost on Foli."They don't get," he said as he gazed out an ABS window on a ghastly 35-degree afternoon, "the whole global warming thing, do they?"Oh, we're going to like this dude. And not just because he's honest enough to have evaluated his earlier self -- the one nicknamed, by a Mets coach, "Crazy Horse" thanks to his mad ways -- as follows: "I wasn't fiery. I was a hothead. Yeah, a hothead. And when I was with New York, I wasn't even a hothead then. I was just basically nuts."All of that misbehavior, however, has been stowed along with the ego. Foli, 58 and the possessor of a legendary batting-practice pitching arm, swears that he's long since calmed down. Which means that he'll likely not choose to rip up a base and toss it into the outfield, Piniella style, as a way of expressing his disagreement with an offending arbiter's call.Nah, Tim Foli, married for 35 years, a father of five and walking with the Lord, insists "Crazy Horse" is long gone. And in his place has come a more rational fellow who fully comprehends life with one's foot on the top step."When I used to want to be a manager," Foli said, "I used to think, 'Boy, I know this and that about the game. So I could take a mediocre team and compete because I'll find the edge.' But the bottom line, and I understand it now, is that talent wins."When you put two teams up and they play 162 games, talent is going to win out. That's all there is to it. The players win; not the people who are sitting in the dugout. When you have good players and they execute, you look like a genius. If they don't, you're not a very good manager. Those are just the facts of life."Now, he has come upon this enlightenment honestly because in addition to those 16 campaigns spent in the majors, Foli has been a coach for four big-league teams (Texas, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Cincinnati) and has managed four minor-league seasons. So, he's been around a lot of baseball savants and knows all that is possible to know about the hit-and-run.And here he is, Syracuse Manager No. 39, ready to lead by example and not by resume."What it comes down to," Foli said, "is this: When I was a player, I always wanted to be an impact player. Well, I wasn't an impact player. I was a role player. I did some little things that were good, but only on a good team. If I saved a run in a 7-2 loss, nobody really cared. But if I saved a run in a 3-2 win, that was special."So, when you're on a good team, everybody has to contribute. It takes 20-25 guys over a full season. They all have to be part of it. Even though I wasn't one of the big cogs on that '79 club -- not with Stargell and Parker and Madlock and Garner -- I was a little cog that needed to be there for that engine to keep running. It took me a long time into my career, but I finally understood that."He'll pass on that wisdom beginning, officially, today. And by doing so, Tim Foli will answer his own question. Who cares what he did? Only those Chiefs on his watch who hope to learn just a little bit more about the game they play.------------------------------(Bud Poliquin's column, his "To The Point" observations and his on-line commentaries appear virtually every day on syracuse.com. Additionally, his work can be regularly found on the pages of The Post-Standard newspaper. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
WASHINGTON NATIONALSTRIPLE-A SYRACUSE: RHP Jordan Zimmermann earned the No. 5 starting job for the Nationals, but fans in the team’s new Triple-A outpost in Syracuse will get to see him until Washington needs a fifth starter on April 19.DOUBLE-A HARRISBURG: LHP Cory VanAllen and RHP Zech Zinicola return to try to master the Eastern League, while LHP Ross Detwiler gets his first crack. SS Ian Desmond is also back, but reports of his strong spring suggest he might not be there for long.HIGH CLASS A POTOMAC: The P-Nats could have an elite power-hitting duo in OF Michael Burgess and 1B Chris Marrero, who returns to the Carolina League for the third year in a row. He was starting to master the league last summer before breaking his fibula and tearing ankle ligaments in June. The top two college products from the 2008 draft—SS Danny Espinosa and LHP Will Atwood—jump short-season Vermont to Potomac.LOW CLASS A HAGERSTOWN: LHP Jack McGeary has put his Stanford education on hold to focus on baseball full-time, instead of joining the organization after spring classes ended. His catcher will be Derek Norris, an advanced offensive player looking to improve behind the plate.EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: Three of Washington’s top prospects—C Adrian Nieto and OFs Destin Hood and J.P Ramirez—were 2008 high school draftees, and the Nationals chose not to push any of them to start their first full season.
milb gameday is still frozen ...
Syracuse does an audio broadcast (listening to it right now)Hagerstown also does an audio broadcast
good to hear casto is having a solid day. i like scott leo - the clippers pbp guy - a bit better than this guy, maybe it's b/c i was so used to listening to clippers casts. how has jz been doing? looks like his first two inning were pretty darn good.casto again comes through good job kory
Let up two runs so far, his pitch count is pretty high as well I believe. Not positive, though, as I just tuned in also.Casto just a triple away from hitting the cycle. I still believe that Casto could be a useful utility guy one day for the Nats.I like this PBP guy so far, but I am really going to miss the P-Nats PBP guy. I think he left to go to another team.
P-Nats already up 3-0 after 5 hits in the first. Potomac looks like they might have a pretty potent offense this year.Arnesen strikes out the first two and then gets Pedro Alvalrez to ground out. Beautiful way to start the inning.
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