August 1, 2011 |
At the trade deadline last year, Rick Ankiel landed with the Atlanta Braves , the team that he grew up rooting for. He experienced the finest moment of his singular career playing for them, an October home run that won a playoff game. He still thinks of those times in almost whimsical terms. "There are two places to play: one is the big leagues, and the second is the playoffs," Ankiel said. "It's a magical time. It's what you work hard for all the time. " The Washington Nationals ...
June 5, 2011 |
PHOENIX — So much had happened by the time Michael Morse walked into the batter's box at Chase Field late Sunday afternoon. The managers and two pitchers, including one working on a shutout, had been ejected. The Washington Nationals had built a four-run lead. The Arizona Diamondbacks had erased a three-run deficit in the ninth against an imploding closer. The Nationals had taken the lead back in the 11th inning when Rick Ankiel stepped into the batter's box, dug in and...
February 18, 2013 |
VIERA, FLA. — The work is what Micah Owings missed most. Being a pitcher meant a structured, protective routine, a limit to how much baseball he could play. Being a hitter means all the batting practice he wants, extra groundballs after workouts, staying late to catch more flyballs. "That's what I'm looking forward to," Owings said. "Getting after it and working. " The Washington Nationals are short on underdogs and experiments this spring, but Owings counts as both. A...
June 7, 2012 |
Bring back a healthy Stephen Strasburg , add all-star southpaw Gio Gonzalez , then call up breakneck Bryce Harper , all of them big talents but with personalities so different they triangulate the possibilities of locker-room temperament. Mix a stoic perfectionist, a grin-on-the-mound extrovert and a teenage demiurge in the Nats ' clubhouse and what do you get? Are they combustible or compatible, contentious or complimentary? This...
April 2, 2011 |
Sean Burnett had not been told when he might pitch Saturday afternoon, so he waited in the Washington Nationals' bullpen for the phone to ring. He watched his teammates build their first victory of the season using stellar defense, a sustained spurt of offense and even a suicide squeeze bunt. The phone rang for Burnett only when the Nationals needed someone to close it. "For a pitcher who was drafted as a soft-tossing lefty starter," Burnett said, "it's pretty cool to pitch the ninth in a big league game.
August 2, 2011 |
It was no secret that what the Washington Nationals wanted before last Sunday's trade deadline was a center fielder. They wanted a player with a stellar glove who could get on base and set up the offense and stabilize the leadoff spot — a position that had seen seven different Nationals this season. But in the past month, since returning from the disabled list with a strained rib muscle in early July, Rick Ankiel has made his case to be and remain the Nationals' center fielder...