Before the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg in early September, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports brought up a unique contrast to how the Atlanta Braves have handled their own post-Tommy John pitcher in Kris Medlen. The Braves started Medlen in the bullpen this season before putting him in the rotation and as a result he is still with the team and will be for the postseason.
Medlen has pitched just 132.0 innings on the season and is still going strong as one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.
The scenarios are different in many ways with Strasburg being a former first overall pick and Medlen being selected in the 10th round, not to mention the financial considerations. The Nationals also have never wanted to have Strasburg be anything but a starting pitcher.
Rosenthal himself pointed out those differences and so did we when we had the story, but nonetheless Nats manager Davey Johnson is bothered it was ever even brought up. He, in fact, seems to disagree with how the Braves are handling Medlen in the first place.
This via Dan Steinberg of DCsportsbog, it comes from an excerpt of Sports Illustrated's new article on the Nationals skipper.
No! Its a crock of bleep what theyre doing with Medlen. It aint anywhere close to Strasburg. Theyre trying to act like geniuses. Heres the deal. And their whole life theyre raised to go through a certain process at certain times of the year. And ballplayers go through them in the spring. Now you take Doc Halladay or anybody, and if you start varying that dont let him pitch for a month? You dont know whats going to happen.
Now the Nats and Braves are of course still fighting for the division as the season comes to a close. It will be hard for Atlanta to catch the Nationals in the regular season, but they could very well meet in the playoffs. Boy, would that be fun.
When it comes to sports, we sometimes forget that the athletes we look up to are just normal people. Normal people who have a lot to prove to millions of people on a weekly basis. Former Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel has discussed one his human moments in an interview with 590 The Fan in St. Louis.
Ankiel admitted to drinking vodka during his plight as a pitcher. He referenced his first two starts of the 2001 season, in particular against the his opener Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to giving in to alcohol to soothe him. In the previous postseason, he became the first pitcher since 1980 to throw five wild pitches in a single inning.
It may have worked for a couple of games but Ankiel eventually realized it was only making matters worse.
Ankiel began playing in the MLB at the age of 19 and has had a fluctuating career through six teams. All the while, he has keep a “never give up” mentality.
Why the sudden need to vent? The St. Louis baseball pitcher is getting up close and personal with his upcoming book, “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed my Life” which is co-written with sports writer, Tim Brown will be released on April 18.
His two seasons with the Nationals, resulted in 127 hits and 52 RBIs as an outfielder.
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The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports.
Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.
The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras.
The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity.
The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117.
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