Posts Tagged ‘Harrisburg Senators’

Strasburg Optioned To Double-A Harrisburg

Stephen Strasburg was the Washington Nationals’ best pitcher this spring. In nine innings, he had a 2.00 ERA (both runs coming on solo homeruns) and a 12-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Despite that, and a recent outing in which he struck out eight Cardinals in four innings, the Nationals optioned Strasburg to Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday.  There are two possible reasons as to why: one, starting him in the minors and keeping him there for awhile delays his arbitration and saves money in the long run, and two, getting him a few professional starts in the relative quiet of the Eastern League will allow him to gain experience and work on his weaknesses before being unleashed on the National League.

About two weeks ago, I wondered about Harrisburg’s schedule should Strasburg end up there. Here are the road dates again through the end of June:

April 8-11 @ Altoona
April 12-14 @ Bowie
April 22-25 @ New Britain
April 26-28 @ Reading
May 10-12 @ Altoona
May 21-23 @ Akron
May 28-31 @ Erie
June 1-3 @ Richmond
June 8-10 @ Altoona
June 15-17 @ New Britain
June 18-20 @ Bowie
June 28-30 @ Portland

Will I be watching the matchups and considering a trip to New Britain in April (it’s only 2 1/2 hours away)? Sure, why not? I could probably get to two of the four games if need be, so it can’t be ruled out. Aside from that, the people of Harrisburg will have something to look forward to for at least a few weeks.

Strasburg might be joined in Harrisburg by fellow first-round pick Drew Storen.  Storen was also sent to minor league camp on Saturday, but the news report didn’t say where he would begin.  In his professional debut last season, Storen saved nine games in ten appearances for the Senators after stops at Hagerstown (Low A) and Potomac (High A).

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Friday Night Was The Right Night For Pitching

For whatever reason, there were a bunch of good pitching performance across the minors last night, with several starters taking no-hitters late into games.

For the second night in a row, New Hampshire’s bats were silenced, this time by Altoona’s Tim Alderson.  Alderson pitched six no-hit innings, walking one and striking out three, before being pulled after reaching his pitch count.  It was the second time this season he shut down the Fisher Cats – back on May 10, he struck out ten and took a no-hitter into the seventh.

There was no no-hitter drama in the Harrisburg-Trenton game, just a good old-fashioned pitchers duel.  Jeff Mandel went eight shutout innings for the visiting Senators, allowing three hits, walking two, and striking out four.  He was outdone by Ryan Pope, however, who allowed two hits and struck out eleven without walking a batter.  Both pitchers came out after the eighth and did not factor into the decision (the Thunder won it in the ninth on a single, sacrifice bunt, and a walkoff RBI single).

David Bromberg scattered three hits and struck out nine in a complete game shutout for Fort Myers, improving to 11-1 and taking over the Florida State League’s strikeout lead.

Anibal Sanchez made a rehab start in the Florida State League for the Jupiter Hammerheads, and he was pretty good.  6.2 innings, two walks, five strikeouts, no hits.  Daniel Jennings got three outs in relief before allowing a two-out single in the eighth.

And finally, just so you don’t think that all the good performances came from the Florida State and Eastern Leagues, Randall Delgado pitched seven no-hit innings for the Rome Braves in the South Atlantic League.  He struck out nine and walked one to earn his fourth win of the season.

(Oh, and just a slight hint of offense: Layton Hiller went 4-for-5 with three doubles and eight RBI for the GCL Braves.  Elys Blanco also had a fun game for the Braves, finishing 1-for-2 with four runs scored.)

We Haven’t Seen This Many Zimmermans Since Bob Dylan’s Family Reunion

It’s no secret that the Washington Nationals have struggled a bit since their move from Montreal. One bright spot is the presence of former Virginia star Ryan Zimmerman on the roster. His 2008 campaign hasn’t lived up to the promise of his near-ROY 2006 season, but the kid’s young – he’ll bounce back.

But no team can win on offense alone, so the Nats have been looking for some quality pitching to revive the team’s sagging fortunes. And the buzz from the farm system says they may have a fair expectation of help, soon. 22-year-old Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann is currently with the AA Harrisburg Senators, and some scouts say he may be ready to make the leap.

They noticed how Zimmermann’s fastball hit 94 mph, and how it brushed the plate’s edges. They noticed how his wind-up depends on a driving lower-body push, mechanics that make Harrisburg Manager John Stearns think of Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. They noticed how he cleaned up a first-and-third, no-out mess with a popup and a double play. When scouts see something that cannot be measured, they become most convinced of talent.

‘When you need to get somebody out, can you do it?’ said Washington scouting director Dana Brown, who watched the game from behind home plate. ‘You see that, like with Zimmermann, you see somebody very close to being major league ready, if not right there scratching at the surface.’

[Washington Post]

That will be confusing, if he gets called up, though. Too many Zimmerman(n)s on one team can wreak havoc. Not like too many Dukes or Youngs would, but still.

Since the nearest MLB club for me is the Nationals, I hope this is true. I’m one of those suckers who will go to a ballgame even when the team blows, but I’d much rather take my son up to see a contender if I’m going to drive 2 1/2 hours and deal with D.C. traffic.

Hat tip to Brian Foley from The College Baseball Blog.

Steak Grows on Dmitri

This story is the perfect storm. It involves the insanely entertaining Dmitri Young, a short stint in the Bus Leagues with the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals), and Washington Post Bogger Dan Steinberg.

If you’re not familiar with Mr. Steinberg, he has one of the best jobs a writer can get – he gets the legitimacy of the Washington Post mixed with the free-form quest for entertaining subject matter that defines blogging. And, he’s a damn nice guy.

Dan says our favorite rotund one spent a little bit of time in double-A recently, and made headlines for ordering $3,000 worth of food in three days. Now, the immediate reaction is “damn, I didn’t think even Dmitri could eat that much that quickly”. But the reality is, Da Meat Hook was spreading his major-league salary around, buying food for everyone in the clubhouse, right down to the bat boys.

Dan gives us the rundown:

Dmitri nightly ordered enough to feed not only the players but also the trainer, the clubhouse staff, the coaching staff, the strength guy, and presumably the mascot and peanut salesmen as well. “We’re talking quite a bit of food,” Watson said.

And most importantly, the menu? If you were a finger-nail painting, three-bills-pushing, fan-favorite Major Leaguer spending three nights in central PA, where would your meals be coming from?

Night One: Outback Steakhouse

Night Two: Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Night Three: The Texas Roadhouse (home of “large portions and great value to give you Legendary Food at a reasonable price,” which counts when you’re ordering for 35.)

Yeah, the menu included rib-eye steak, if you were wondering.

[DC Sports Bog]

I’m heading up to D.C. on Sunday to catch an afternoon Brewers-Nationals game with Marco from STF, who used to be an intern with the Senators. I’ll be sure to reserve a few special cheers for Dmitri. I might even eat a third bratwurst in his honor.

He may be crazy, but he’s also awesome.

Spotlight on AA Ball – 4/23/2008

Lots of great promotions coming up in AA ball. The Reading Phillies have the most charming this week, as they celebrate local legend Joey Bago Donuts, a longtime employee of the team who has grown into a cult favorite between-innings entertainer. [MiLB]

The Huntsville Stars (Brewers) are encouraging people to skip work and come out to the ballpark on the 28th. And you have to love language like this in an official press release: “Naturally, it’d be a great idea to invite the boss, however, if he or she is a complete tool, c’mon out and work on your savage tan and get your drink on with your co-workers instead.” [Huntsville Stars]

Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) catcher Luke Montz is flashing some serious offense (.432) and defense (10 of 15 attempted steals snuffed out). What’s a guy got to do to be called “catcher of the future” around here? [MiLB]

John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Jon Jay is a Springfield Cardinals OF who went 4 of 4 to help Mark Mulder win his second rehab start on his way back to the Bigs. [Wikipedia][SpringfieldCardinals.com]

You hear a lot about the great promotions in the minors, but I don’t think we’ll ever see a better draw than the Midland RockHounds’ (A’s) Trauma Awareness Day, coming your way in May. [Midland RockHounds]

Spotlight on AA Ball – 4/16/2008

OK, for starters:

THE ALTOONA CURVE (PIRATES!) HAVE A ROLLER COASTER BUILT IN THE OUTFIELD! I TEND TO THINK THAT IS FAIRLY BAD-ASS! I wonder if anyone has ever been beaned by an errant homer while riding in the cars? [Baseball Pilgrimages]

It was a chilly night in Norwich, CT. Thirty-six degrees, to be precise. Obviously, visiting Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox) lefty Dustin Richardson wanted to spend as little time on the mound as possible. He fanned double-digit Connecticut Defender (Giants) batters to earn the win. [MiLB.com]

28 is not the ideal age for a AA player, but 3B Yurendell de Caster is tearing it up for the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals). The Curacao native is hitting .366 with 4 homers, 13 RBIs and 9 runs. He’s even legged out four doubles in just 11 games. Think the parent club could use that kind of production? [MiLB.com]

This isn’t so much news, per se. But if you’ve spent time looking at minor-league websites at all, you know most of them follow a pretty predictable template. Which is fine, but the Carolina Mudcats (Marlins) have a nice, refreshing setup, including video. [GoMudcats.com]

The Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros) play in Whataburger Field. Which is a pretty funny name, after all. But when you look at the photos of the park, and the surrounding area, it looks pretty damn sweet. [CCHooks.com]

That’s the AA news for this week. Look for the Z-Meter tomorrow, and AAA news on Friday.

Spotlight on AA Ball – 4/2/2008

rascal-and-grounder.jpgAs a way to keep up with 300+ Minor League teams, we’ll be spreading things out a bit. We look at Rookie and A Ball on Monday, AA on Wednesday, and AAA on Friday. In-between: whatever strikes our fancy.

Here’s today’s AA roundup:

The Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) have a bit of a problem: Legislators do not make for good mascots. They have a large dog named Grrrrounder, but he isn’t the only costumed team rep, nor was he the first. Since 1998, Sens fans have rooted for Rascal (now that’s a name for a Senator!), who is an 8-foot-tall blue-and-yellow creature of indeterminate genesis. He claims his favorite shows are Sponge Bob Square Pants and Baywatch. Hey, everybody loves the Hoff!

Did you know there are Turf Awards for groundskeepers? Me either. But I say good for these guys, and good for the Sports Turf Managers Association, who took it upon themselves to honor the guys and gals who keep our fields of dreams green and beautiful.

You may remember the Birmingham Barons (White Sox) as the team that let Michael Jordan take his cuts during his first retirement. But they’re also the double-A team least likely to send you home hungry. A quick glance at the daily promotions for 2008 looks like this:

  • Monday: All-you-can-eat menus turn this into “Belly Buster Monday”.
  • Tuesday: Quarter hotdogs (and it’s also Zoo Day, so you can see where your mystery meat came from).
  • Wednesday: Nothing listed. If I were Alka-seltzer, I’d be giving these guys a call.
  • Thursday: “Thirsty Thursday” means dollar drinks and 20-cent wings.
  • Friday: Um. Just Fireworks.
  • Saturday: This is more like it. Super Saturday Fireworks and $5 Little Ceasers Pizza.
  • Sunday: Dreamland Ribs. I’ve never eaten ballpark ribs, but I’m pretty open to the concept.

There’s also something scheduled for August 9th called “Pyro-palooza!”, which might attract the wrong crowd.

The Tulsa Drillers (Rockies) have an exciting season ahead. Not only are they feeding talent to the World Series runner-up, but the club has reached an agreement to build a new stadium in downtown Tulsa. They also host parts of the Bedlam Series between the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, which is one of the best rivalries in college athletics, no matter which sport you prefer.

And, finally, the San Antonio Missions (Padres) will bring an accomplished coaching staff to the diamond this season. New manager Bill Masse comes to the defending Texas League champs from OMDQ’s neck of the woods, where he managed the Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) to a third-place finish. He has also won an Olympic Gold Medal, as a player in 1988, and acted alongside Kevin Costner in “For the Love of the Game”. Masse’s hitting coach is four-time MLB all-star catcher Terry Kennedy, and his pitching coach is Steve Webber, who coached the Georgia Bulldogs to the 1990 National Championship.

That’s it for today. Look for the AAA news on Friday.