Shoulder surgery puts Flores' status for 2010 in question

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Jesus Flores got off to a great start this season, as the 24-year-old catcher was handed the starting job in Washington and hit .301/.371/.505 through 106 plate appearances while nearly matching his walk total from all of 2008.
Everything changed when he took a foul ball off his right shoulder on May 9. Initially diagnosed as a bruise, Flores was later found to have a stress fracture in the shoulder and ended up missing four months of action.
He finally rejoined the Nationals last week, serving strictly as a pinch-hitter to protect his shoulder, but began complaining of pain in the area anyway and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum today.
Labrum injuries are basically the worst-case scenario for pitchers, so naturally they aren’t great for catchers either. Flores is expected to be sidelined for 3-6 months, putting his status for next season in some doubt. “He should be ready for the middle of spring training, worst-case scenario,” general manager Mike Rizzo said, adding that the Nationals are unlikely to pursue another starting-caliber catcher this offseason.
Flores’ injury is just another tough break for the Nationals, who had already lost fellow long-term building block Jordan Zimmermann for 2010 thanks to Tommy John elbow surgery. Obviously they weren’t going to compete for a playoff spot next season anyway, but the Nationals need guys like Flores and Zimmermann to develop into impact players and the injuries diminish those odds significantly.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.

Wanna feel old? Dusty Baker’s son Darren is graduating from high school

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Remember Darren Baker, the son of Nats manager Dusty Baker? If you do, it’s because you remember him as a three-year-old bat boy for the San Francisco Giants who, during Game 5 of the 2002 World Series, was almost run over at home plate only to be saved by Giants first baseman J.T. Snow. Simple math makes it obvious that the kid is now 18, but it still feels weird that so much time has passed.

Now Darren is graduating from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California, so father Dusty will miss the Washington Nationals weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend the ceremonies and festivities. Baker will rejoin Washington when they begin a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday. In the meantime, bench coach Chris Speier will assume managerial duties.

Time flies, man.