Nats designate Atilano for assignment

Nats designate Atilano for assignment

Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 8:51 a.m.
By Mark Zuckerman


VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals announced this morning they designated right-hander Luis Atilano for assignment, the long-awaited move that reduces their roster to the maximum 40 one day before pitchers and catchers hold their first formal workout.

Atilano was a surprise contributor to the Nationals' rotation early last season, summoned from the minors after a spate of injuries. He went 5-1 over his first eight career starts, then lost six of his next seven decisions to wind up 6-7 with a 5.15 ERA.

The Puerto Rico native went on the disabled list in July with bone chips in his throwing elbow and missed the rest of the season after having surgery to remove them.

Meanwhile, three pitchers and catchers have yet to report to spring training due to visa issues: Dominican right-hander Elvin Ramirez (a Rule 5 draftee) and Venezuelan right-hander Henry Rodriguez (acquired from the A's in the Josh Willingham trade) and catcher Carlos Maldonado (invited to camp as a non-roster player).

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Morning tip: What could 9-10 man rotation for Wizards look like?

Morning tip: What could 9-10 man rotation for Wizards look like?

With the roster down to the league-mandated maximum of 15 for the Wizards, the next step by coach Scott Brooks is to pare down his rotation with the regular-season opener Thursday at the Atlanta Hawks. 

“I like a nine-guy rotation," Brooks said after the preseason finale.

"Occasionally, 10 guys. The 10th guy doesn’t play as many minutes.”


According to what Brooks has more or less hinted already, the starting five remains as expected: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. But how he slots the rest of the players, taking into account matchups, health and foul trouble, will vary during an 82-game season. 

The most tenuous spot appears to be behind Wall. While Trey Burke received more preseason minutes than Tomas Satoransky, the 6-7 Euro eventually could jump ahead of him if he's not careful. Satoransky's shot needs work but his passing, off-the-ball movement and defense look superior.

Since recovering from a thumb injury, Marcus Thornton registered time behind Beal.

Kelly Oubre battled Porter for the starting job and is the logical backup at small forward. Andrew Nicholson has secured his spot behind Morris, but because of an injury to Ian Mahinmi (knee) he's also spending time behind Gortat. Jason Smith can play power forward and center, too. 

That's 11 players, 1-2 more than Brooks would like for his rotation. The educated guess here is it'll be Burke or Satoransky to fall by the wayside with Thornton being that 10th player who gets the spot minutes. There's no rule against playing three forwards, for instance, with a point guard and a center. 

When Mahinmi returns to top form, Smith's minutes would seem the logical ones to get cut unless he develops a three-point shot to increase his value as a spread option.





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Did DeSean Jackson take a shot at Redskins' offense on Instagram?

Did DeSean Jackson take a shot at Redskins' offense on Instagram?

DeSean Jackson's stats from the past four games look like numbers that a block first, catch second tight end would post, not numbers that one of the NFL's most premier receiving talents would have. But, for a combination of a few reasons, the electric wideout has been unplugged since Week 3.

In Sunday's loss against the Lions, Jackson caught five balls for 35 yards, good for seven yards per catch. On most days, his average reception goes for double that, and pretty often, he's good for triple that.

Therefore, you would expect that No. 11 would be a little frustrated with how things have gone as of late, especially considering that he's in a contract year. That's why this picture on Instagram, which Jackson put up Sunday evening, could be interpreted as a showing of displeasure with his role in Washington's offense since a 96-yard performance in New York: 

I'm tellin ya ' đŸ¤”

A photo posted by Desean Jackson (@0ne0fone) on

For the year, DJax has one score, and since September 25, he hasn't topped five grabs or 55 yards. Some questions as to why they can't get him the ball on anything more than some short comebacks or shallow crossers should be expected this week.