Tag:Nyjer Morgan
Posted on: March 27, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: March 27, 2011 12:14 pm

Brewers trade for Morgan

By Matt Snyder

Just a few days after Nyjer Morgan suggested he was done in Washington, it became reality. The center fielder was traded to the Brewers Sunday morning. (MASN.com )

Morgan, 30, hit .253 with a .319 OBP last season. He stole 34 bases, but was caught 17 times. He scored 60 runs. The previous season, however, Morgan had a bit of a breakout. He hit .307 with a .369 OBP, 74 runs and 40 stolen bases.

The Brewers traded Chris Dickerson to the Yankees for pitcher Sergio Mitre earlier in the week, so there was a bit of a void in terms of outfielding depth -- especially with Corey Hart having to start the season on the disabled list. Ryan Braun is obviously going to play every day in left. Carlos Gomez is expected to man center, but Morgan can lend a hand. Either one of the two can also fill in over at right field along with Brandon Boggs as long as Hart on the shelf with his oblique injury. It's really a mutually beneficial move, as the Nationals needed to move Morgan and the Brewers were pretty thin on outfield depth.

Morgan had fallen out of favor with the Nationals, who have decided to go with Rick Ankiel in center -- though general manager Mike Rizzo said Morgan's recent comments about not being a fit with Washington were not the reason for the deal.

"Nyjer was a terrific guy in the clubhouse," Rizzo said. "He did everything right. Yeah, I was comfortable with the dynamic in the clubhouse. The dynamic in the clubhouse had nothing to do with the trade today." (CSN Washington )

Ian Desmond will bat leadoff, with Jayson Werth in the two-hole .

The Brewers sent minor-league infielder Cutter Dykstra and cash to the Nats. Dykstra had a .416 OBP in Class A last season. He's the son of former major leaguer Lenny Dykstra.

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Posted on: March 26, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 1:19 pm

Nats' manager 'disappointed' in Morgan's comments

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Nyjer Morgan told MLB.com on Friday that he thought he was on his way out of Washington, and he's probably right.

Nyjer Morgan

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he was "disappointed" by Morgan's comments. From the Washington Post:

“Somebody brought it to my attention, and I did read it,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “The thing about it is, Nyjer has been a tremendous worker this spring. He’s been the first guy here. He’s putting in the time in the cage, working with [third base coach] Bo Porter on his base running. He’s been an outstanding all-around guy. So I’m disappointed that he feels that.

“I’m sure it’s based on seeing the two or three other guys he’s competing with. Maybe he feels like we’re sending him a message that he’s not our center fielder. We’re still determining that. We’re still determining where he fits on the club if he’s not our center field. So, yeah, I’m disappointed. I understand where it’s coming from.”

Friday, Morgan said he could see the writing on the wall with Rick Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. getting the bulk of playing time in center field.

"I'm a realist," Morgan told MLB.com's Bill Ladson. "I'm not going to sit here and be like, 'Oh, no. I want to finish my career here.' I just think this place isn't for me. I'm not saying there are bad people here. It's just that, maybe, I'm not a fit here anymore. It's time to move on."

The Nationals have made it clear that Morgan is on the block. He didn't do himself any favors with his comments on Saturday, but the reaction seems to prove his point.

Morgan is hitting .241/.328/.315 with a home run and six stolen bases this spring. Ankiel, his main competitor, is hitting .229/.288/.500 with three homers this spring. Hairston is hitting .174/.235/.304.

Morgan was the center of several incidents last season, including a brawl with the Marlins. Florida, incidently, may be the best fit for Morgan. The Marlins don't think Matt Dominguez is ready at third base and are unsure if Chris Coghlan can play center field. He could return to third base and the team would be able to use Morgan in center.

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 7:04 pm

Cardinals, Nats have words

Livan Hernandez

UPDATED 6:58 p.m.

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Benches cleared Monday in the Cardinals-Nationals game, but they may have emptied at the wrong time.

The two teams met on the field -- with the managers, Jim Riggleman and Tony La Russa yelling each other -- in the seventh inning after Cardinals reliever, and former National, Miguel Batista hit Ian Desmond.

That got the Nationals' Nyjer Morgan's ire, and the two teams met in the middle of the field for a typical baseball millabout.

However, it was the third time a player had been hit in the game.

Chris Carpenter hit Laynce Nix with a fastball in the fifth inning and then the Nationals' Livan Hernandez hit Colby Rasmus.

While Carpenter denied hitting Nix on purpose -- "Not at all," Nix told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It was either cutting or moving back over the plate."

Of course, it may be noted that Carpenter only had trouble locating after Morgan bumped into Albert Pujols when running into first base that inning and a trainer had to be called onto the field.

Nix felt like he was hit on purpose.

"There's no question about that," Nix told reporters, including the Washington Post. "As for why, I think you have to ask them."

Although it's unlikely Bud Selig and Joe Torre will agree with me, I find it refreshing that Hernandez went ahead and said he hit Rasmus on purpose. He told MLB.com's Bill Ladson he hit meant to hit Rasmus. We all know it's part of the game and it happens, it's actually nice when someone's honest about it, so kudos to Hernandez there. Here's the entire quote, thanks to MASNSports.com:

"You hit somebody on purpose and you know I'm going to hit somebody because I'm old school. I hit somebody and it's over right there. ...You got to take care of your teammates," Hernandez said. "If something happen to your teammates, you got to go and step up and do something. This is what I do. Take care of my teammates. Always."

Any admission is good for a fine and/or suspension, which is why most pitchers will just wink and smile before their denial. 

As for the hit batter who actually got people off the bench, Desmond said he didn't mind getting hit by Batista, because "Miggy throws like Miss Iowa, anyway," he told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore (via Twitter). That, of course, is an allusion to last year when he famously said about fans booing him while starting instead of Stephen Strasburg, "Imagine, if you go there to see Miss Universe -- and you end up having Miss Iowa."

However, Hernandez wasn't happy another guy got hit.

"I hit [Rasmus] because [Carpenter] hit somebody. ... I was surprised [Desmond got hit] because you're not supposed to hit [a third] guy," Hernandez said. "That one's a problem. In the old-school baseball, and La Russa knows, if you hit somebody first, you're supposed to take the next one. That's it, it's over. Then you hit another guy again. It's not fair. That one's not real baseball."

There was bad blood between the two teams last year after Morgan ran into Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson in August. Riggleman apologized after that game and kept Morgan out of the lineup the next day for fear of retaliation.

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:18 am

Pepper: Nationals may leave spring-training home


By Evan Brunell

LONELY ROAD: The complexion of spring training has changed drastically over the last couple decades. There has been a seismic shift with central- and west-based clubs flocking to Arizona where the weather is friendlier and the commute between spring training homes shorter. 

Meanwhile, in Florida, the eastern coast is struggling to keep its business with only the Mets, Cardinals, Marlins and Nationals its occupants. The other clubs are based in west Florida and the Nationals are one team weighing its options on relocation. Although Washington's lease on its spring training complex in Viera, Fla., runs through 2017, that is not expected to be a major hurdle should the club deem its time in Florida untenable.

The major issue at hand is transportation, as Washington routinely requires over 1 1/2 hours of travel time to get to other spring complexes for exhibition games. Those missed hours all add up significantly in expenses as well as lost time. (FloridaToday.com)

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal steps into the time machine and revisits the Yankees' occupation of Fort Lauderdale as spring training home from 1962-95. The one unfortunate byproduct of time marching on is sometimes it forces us to abandon places with great historical weight, such as Fort Lauderdale or the Dodgers' famed -- and now abandoned -- spring training home of Vero Beach, Fla.

I AM NO. 5: With the news that Aaron Cook will miss extended time due to injury, there is a battle for the No. 5 spot in Colorado. Felipe Paulino is out of the race, as he is now being converted to a reliever. That leaves two favorites for the spot in Esmil Rogers and Greg Reynolds. Despite Reynolds' strong season, it may be prudent to keep him in Triple-A for now. (Denver Post)

HEY, WHAT ABOUT ME? Yesterday, all attention was on Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan for alleging his hit-by-pitch in Sunday's game was on purpose for a dustup last season. But lost in all this was Danny Espinosa also being plunked, this one in the head. Espinosa turned out fine, but admitted to being surprised. (Washington Times)

PRETTY BOY: You won't find Eric Hosmer in Hollywood any time soon. The first baseman is jockeying with fellow teammate Mike Moustakas for title of best hitting prospect in the Royals system and is already on manager Ned Yost's good side. "The thing that I like about [Hosmer] is that being pretty is not high on his list of priorities," Yost said. (MLB.com)

FLOWERS BLOOMING: Count White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen among Tyler Flowers' fans. Flowers was once a top catching prospect whose luster wore off in recent years, but a strong spring training has Guillen excited about the future. (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

RUN GRADY, RUN: Grady Sizemore ran the bases successfully Sunday and is on track to play in a spring-training game in several days. It will mark his first game since May 16, so will need some time to get acclimated. He is not expected to be ready for Opening Day but could be ready to go shortly thereafter. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PLAY OR GO HOME: Braden Looper hopes to make the Cubs after taking a year off. The former closer and starter appears to have a good shot of making the club and is drawing interest from other teams. One issue: Looper isn't interested in playing anywhere but Chicago and will go home to his family if he doesn't make the Cubs. (Chicago Sun-Times)

ONE IN, TWO OUT: Reds manager Dusty Baker appears settled on Chris Heisey making the team as a backup outfielder. That would leave Fred Lewis and Jeremy Hermida on the outside looking in. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

SURGERY DEFERRED: Braves minor-league manager Luis Salazar will undergo eye surgery (again) Tuesday. This is a delaying of surgery originally scheduled for Sunday as doctors wanted to wait for swelling to go down. He is expected to make a full recovery after taking a line drive off the face last Wednesday. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

NOT DONE: So, has the 48-year-old Jamie Moyer changed his mind about coming back to baseball after undergoing Tommy John surgery? Nope. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Posted on: March 13, 2011 8:12 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2011 8:17 pm

Morgan says Marlins still targeting him

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Nyjer MorganThey say time heals all wounds. But different wounds have different timetables.

The wounds created by last year's brawl between the Marlins and Nationals haven't seemed to heal. Sunday, Florida starter Ricky Nolasco hit the Nationals' Nyjer Morgan, the center of last year's brawl.

Morgan charged the mound after Florida's Chris Volstad hit him twice in a Marlins victory on Sept. 1, the day after running over catcher Brett Hayes.

Coming to the plate to a chorus of boos from Marlins fans on Sunday, Nolasco hit Morgan with his first pitch of the game. Morgan didn't charge the mound. Instead, he took his base, stole second and later scored on Rick Ankiel's single.

Nolasco was making his first start since last August. Nolasco missed the end of last season with a  knee injury and then injured his thumb in late February. He blamed that injury on the errant pitch, saying the ball slipped out of his hand. Nolasco also hit Danny Espinosa later in the innning.

"Obviously, no matter who is up there, I'm not trying to do that. It's my first outing coming off an injury," Nolasco told reporters.

Morgan, though, had no doubt that it was intentional. From MLB.com:

"No question, without a doubt. It's obvious because of what happened last year. Obvioulsy, they haven't turned the page. But I'm going to be a stronger player, better person. I'm not going to react to it. I felt better by going out there and being able to steal that bag, getting myself over to third and generating a run.

"I felt more satisfied after that than starting at him and putting on my mean mug. Basically, what am I going to get out of it [by fighting]? I'm just going to hurt my team and somebody could get hurt. It's spring training, anyway.

"It's a plus on our side because they know we are not going to react to their negativity. It's part of the game. I know I got tested for a reason. It will probably be the last test I will get. I felt a lot better by just walking down to first, stealing second and generating a nice rally in the first inning."

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 5:10 pm

Yankees' Gardner working on bunting

Brett Gardner

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In today's Pepper, we talked about Brett Gardner maybe getting a shot at supplanting Derek Jeter as the Yankees leadoff man. It makes perfect sense, Gardner is crazy fast and gets on base at a good clip.

The one thing he may have to improve upon is bunting. In 995 plate appearances in the big leagues, he has just 10 bunt hits. You'd think with his speed, which is truly elite, he'd try to lay down more bunts. 

"The last few years, I just kinda got away from it, it's something I didn't really try to do, I guess it's something I didn't use as much as I should have," Gardner told CBSNewYork.com. "It's not something I've completely lost, it's something I'm going to continue to work at, something that will make more of a complete player and give me another weapon to use to get on base, get guys over and put the ball in the defense's hands and make them make mistakes."

Gardner had 18 bunt hits in 251 plate appearances at Double-A Trenton in 2009 in 2006, so it's not like he can't do it.

I'm not normally a big fan of the bunt as an offensive weapon, but for someone with superior speed such as Gardner, it can be a game-changer. At the very least, just the danger of him laying down a bunt could benefit the Yankees.

Gardner said he's been good at sacrifice bunts, but needs to work on bunting for hits.

"The thing for me is, I could sit out here all day and practice and do it right and do it right and do it right, but in game situation, your adrenaline is pumping and I'm always try to put the ball on the ground and run," Gardner said. "So it's a matter of staying in there a split-second longer and making sure I get the bunt down and a good bunt and then run as opposed to running out of the box and losing my angle and letting the bat head drop and fouling the ball off, which is a bad habit I've gotten in the last couple of years. I'm much better on a  regular sacrifice bunt because I take my time and I don't rush and I make sure I put the ball on the ground where I want to and for the most part I've been able to do that when I slow things down."

Gardner had seven bunt hits last season, so he is working on it. Still, he was successful on just 36.8 percent of his attempts for a base bunt hit, it's something with work he could improve upon.

The Angels' Erick Aybar and Julio Borbon of the Rangers led the big leagues last season with 18 bunt hits, while only seven more players had as many as 10 bunt hits. Texas' Elvis Andrus had 13, while Angel Pagan, Gregor Blanco, Juan Pierre and Nyjer Morgan each had 12 bunts hits and Michael Bourn had 10. In that group, Blanco had the best percentage at 57.1 percent, while Pierre was the lowest at 21.8 percent.

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Posted on: March 6, 2011 9:34 pm

Heyward gives Braves a scare in return

Jason HeywardBy C. Trent Rosecrans

After missing three games with groin discomfort, Braves right fielder Jason Heyward gave his manager a scare when he landed oddly trying to avoid a tag at home.

Washington's Nyjer Morgan and Danny Espinosa gunned down Heyward, who was trying to score from first on a double by Alex Gonzalez in the second inning. Heyward slowed down and slid awkwardly in an attempt to avoid Wilson Ramos' tag.

"When he comes to the plate, you go, 'Get up, get up,' and then he got up," Fredi Gonzalez told MLB.com's Mark Bowman. "He's fine."

Heyward stayed in the game long enough to get two more at-bats. In three plate appearances, he walked once, was hit once and singled. He left the game for a pinch-runner following his seventh-inning single.

"It all felt good," said Heyward, who played in the field. "I didn't hold anything back."

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Posted on: January 20, 2011 12:44 pm
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