Nationals stick with Riggleman as manager

Leave a comment

It looks likes Bobby Valentine will be spending 2010 doing studio work at ESPN, as the Nationals confirmed Wednesday that they’re sticking with Jim Riggleman as the manager for 2010.
Riggleman took over the team on an interim basis midway through last season, and the club improved from 26-61 under Manny Acta to 33-42 the rest of the way.
The Nationals are the fourth team Riggleman has managed. Overall, he’s 555-694, good for a .444 winning percentage. Just once in seven full seasons has he managed a contender; his 1998 Cubs beat the Giants in a one-game playoff to finish 90-73 before being swept by the Braves in the NLDS.
Riggleman and Valentine appeared to be the only serious candidates for job. The Nationals wanted to interview Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly, but he wasn’t interested. Former Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin was mentioned as a possibility, but he might actually be in line to take over as the team’s bench coach.
No one has ever accused the Nationals of making inspired choices, and they certainly took the cautious route here. Valentine would have brought moments of brilliance and occasional controversy. Riggleman will do neither, and that’s just fine with a Nationals organization still trying to distance itself from the Jim Bowden circus.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

G
12 Comments

Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

Getty Images
45 Comments

SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.