(Staff writer Carroll Rogers if filling in for David O’Brien this series.)
Washington – It’s a 12:35 p.m. start today, kind of strange, so the masses (ahem) that will come out of this Nats game today won’t have to deal with rush hour traffic, or perhaps crowded metro trains.
But we are set to go on a quick turnaround today and hammering out a quick blog to get up for your chatting enjoying during the game.
Bobby Cox had originally given Jason Heyward the day off in right field today against lefty Scott Olsen, wanting to get Omar Infante in there. But that was before he knew that Alex Gonzalez came in today with 101-degree temperature and flu-like symptoms. So Infante is in there at shortstop today, and Heyward back in at right.
For Infante, it’s his first start since July 20 (third base) against Padres left-hander Wade LeBlanc.
“I had to get him in there today on way or another,” Cox said. “The guy is hitting .330 (.327); I ought to be able to get him in there somewhere.”
I’m told what Gonzalez has is not the same thing as Eric O’Flaherty (viral infection) so that’s good news anyway.
Cox did say O’Flaherty did well yesterday with his round of catch. So that’s a good sign.
“He did OK yesterday,” said Cox, who had the upbeat sound when he said ‘OK’ (a good OK, not a so-so OK). “He played catch, 40 (throws). He got fatigued but he’s coming along a little better.”
The Braves can’t count on him the rest of this road trip to Cincinnati or the next home stand. Cox said he’ll need to get some rehab work in after he gets his strength back up.
“He’s got to regain a lot of stamina,” Cox said.
There’s still been no word on Jonny Venters’ appeal. He’s eligible for today’s game if the Braves don’t hear by first pitch. But he’s pitched 2 1/3 innings in the last two games, as the Braves tried to get the most out of him before he had to serve his suspension. And now MLB has taken longer than the Braves originally thought. Cox said Venters would only pitch today, “if it goes extra innings, to the 18th.”
Strasburg to DL
The Nats went ahead and placed Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) on the disabled list today when they reinstated Scott Olsen for today’s start. So there won’t be teasing any fans over whether Strasburg makes his next scheduled start Sunday.
The move is retroactive to July 22, which would mean he’s eligible to return Aug. 7. The Nationals are on the road until Aug. 10 so chances are they wait until they return home, and see how he feels by then.
Sounds like, barring something unforeseen, the Nats will not shut him down for the rest of the season. When asked if he’d pitch again this year, Nats manager Jim Riggleman said “absolutely.”
Based on what Frank Wren told me yesterday, the Braves are biding their time, getting closer to the deadline, to see if any of the asking prices they’ve been hearing fall. I don’t think they’re going to pull the trigger unless it does. And Wren has said in the past the Braves could wait past the non-waiver deadline and into August. You have to wonder if that’s posturing. It’s hard to imagine the Braves not making a move Saturday but as both Wren and Cox have said, they made their move with Gonzalez.
The Phillies are on the cusp of getting Roy Oswalt, and that would be a tremendous piece to add to their pitching staff. Thought I’d share with you what esteemed Daily News writer and notes group colleague Paul Hagen just sent today on the subject this morning:
All indications are that, if Roy Oswalt was sincere about preferring to pitch for a contender, that he could be with the Phillies by the end of the day. Multiple outlets are reporting that the deal is done, pending Oswalt waiving his no-trade clause.
This is obviously an evolving story, but I’ll just say a couple things:
Yes, although GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will never say it, this is a tacit admission that trading LHP Cliff Lee when they got Roy Halladay was a mistake. They are now giving up even more prospects from an already-depleted farm system plus LHP J.A. Happ who was the NL Rookie of the Year runner-up last season. They are also adding to a payroll that they liked to pretend was pushing its limit. And as good as Oswalt is, Lee is better.
The one caveat is that the Phillies traded Lee, in part, because they didn’t think they could sign him past this season. Oswalt, though expensive, is controllable through 2012.
This may end badly in a few years if the Phillies roster is choked with older, expensive players who are well past their prime and have no prospects to bring up because of the trades to get Lee, Halladay and Oswalt (and Joe Blanton before that). But in the short run, it probably gives the Phillies the best 1-2-3 top of the rotation in the National League with Halladay, Cole Hamels and Oswalt.
Wren on Freeman
I did ask Wren about Freddie Freeman yesterday after he’d hit his second home run in as many days and is making a lot of noise down in Gwinnett.
“He’s handling Triple-A very well, doing everything we hoped he would do,” Wren said. “That’s good for us. It puts us in a position to have another young player ready to play here very shortly.”
So I asked if he had a shot before the season is out.
“I wouldn’t want to speculate about that,” Wren said. “But I think right now we’re just real happy with him doing what he’s doing in Triple-A.”
So wouldn’t rule out a call-up this season?
“I wouldn’t rule out anything,” Wren said. “He’s a good young player. But at the same time we don’t have a timetable.
Minor league deal
The Braves made a minor trade yesterday, acquiring minor league second baseman Michael Noboa from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named. He was assigned to the Dominican Summer League. Noboa, 5-8, 160 pounds, has hit .196 (57-for-291) with no home runs and 23 RBIs in 117 games, with just six games above the rookie league level.
Pitching matchups for the Reds series:
RH Kris Medlen (6-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. RH Johnny Cueto (10-2, 3.18)
RH Jair Jurrjens (3-3, 4.37) vs. RH Bronson Arroyo (10-6, 4.21)
RH Tommy Hanson (8-7, 3.99) vs. RH Edinson Volquez (1-1, 8.25)
DOB will be re-joining you guys from Cincinnati. I’m sure you’ll be glad to get him back but thanks for staying with me!