Monday, February 21, 2005

Jose Rijo's home for wayward boys

The mound of reading material that reporters are producing is doubling daily. How many articles will there be to read in 64 days at that rate? According to the Times, Sports Illustrated is going to add to the pile, as they're doing a story on F-Rob, and there's a good chance he and the Nats will beat out the Daytona 500 for this week's cover.

There were lots of items that were mildly interesting at best for people who follow the team obsessively. Much of it you probably know, but there were some juicy tidbits scattered about.

Hopefully, regular readers know that everyone hopes the 2003 Loaiza shows up and that on-base percentage is a problem, particularly with Chavez and Guzman. We know that CF is a bit of a question mark, and that, if Chavez chokes and Escobar or someone else does well, Chavez might not make the cut (we can only hope). We should all know that defense isn't much of a concern.

It's nice to see Bowden paying attention to pitching prospects, but that's not too interesting.

There were new profiles that may be worth a read. The Times looks atJeffery Hammonds(who has absolutely no shot at a major league spot), and the official site looks at Chad Cordero, Esteban Loaiza and Zach Day, who really wants to remain a starter.

Several sources reported that Guzman will have a continual green light to steal more bases than he has in the past. We'll see how that works out. Francis Beltran is shut down, at least until an MRI is done on his sore elbow. His odds of making the team just went down by 90%, leaving them squarely at 0.

F-Rob did an interview with MLB.com, where he admits that Rauch, Patterson and Hinkley are probably not going to make the rotation. If they do well, he'll be wary that it's "fool's gold". It does seem from F-Rob's words that Day is the default, and it would be tough to unseat him.

The Times has an article covering an interesting potpourri of things overheard during spring training. I think that was the one article I really enjoyed end-to-end this weekend.

But, the most interesting thing I picked up came from the bottom of this article. Apparently, Jose Rijo has a huge baseball academy with eight baseball fields in his back yard in San Cristobal. It's now the official Nats acadamy, replacing the one in Santo Domingo. Apparently, these facilities are much better. I'm impressed that the Rijo strategy is already progressing fairly far. Hopefully, this will pay off reasonable dividends within a few years.

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