For those of you out there distraught because your NCAA brackets are in total shambles (like me, thanks to Villanova and the rest of the Big East) and want some distraction from the demolition, I have complied some interesting links from this past weeks Nats camp. So, if you need something to break your basketball hangover, check out what is going on around Nationals camp.
With all of the Strasburg hoopla, an interesting local appearance flew under the radar. On March 9, the game Strasburg made his debut, Jay Sborz pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Tigers. Sborz, formerly of Langley High School is trying to join Joe Kennedy in the ranks of former Northern Region pitchers in MLB. After being a second-round pick by the Tigers in 2003, Sborz has struggled to climb the ranks of the Tigers organization. Therefore, it is nice to see Sborz (who I used to catch for in Little League) make four appearances for the Tigers this spring. He was optioned to AAA Toledo this week, but this might be the year he finally breaks in with the big club.
Mike Rizzo hopefully put the final word on Elijah Dukes, claiming that the move was strictly baseball-related. Soon, people will just admit Dukes was just not good enough to cut it, and hanging on to him for one more year was not necessary.
As I reported on earlier in the week, Adam Dunn’s agent and Mike Rizzo are thankfully starting to talk contract. Dunn has also relaxed his stance on negotiating during the season, and sounds like he wants to stay (after claiming he does not want his name in trade rumors). Considering he is a likely Hall of Famer, this is very good news.
The fifth starter battle is really heating up as Matt Chico was sent down. It looks like Garrett Mock is going to be in rotation, and the team’s website breaks down the rest of candidates. I will stick with my guess that Livo will be in the rotation, and J.D. Martin will start in the ‘pen.
Speaking of starters, the great news out of Viera this week was that Jordan Zimmermann threw a bullpen session. The second-best young starter in the organization and second-best Zimmermann (albeit with an extra “n”) spoke with MASN’s Debbi Taylor about his rehab.
Wang is in the house.
Finally, a bitter Mark Zuckerman reports on yesterday’s game with the Marlins. Other than Drew Storen’s 1-2-3 ninth inning, not much else went well. Mike Morse failed to solidify his spot in right, bouncing into a double play with the bases loaded. Cristian Guzman looked horrible in the field, and if his throws keep sailing Ian Desmond will be the starting shortstop come April (if he is not already).
That should be plenty of Nats-related information for you to handle for the next couple of days. I’ll even give you some good music to listen to while you plow through it. Enjoy, and check back with me over the course of the week to track the Nationals’ progress and the remaining position battles at short, right field, and the pitching staff.