"I'm trying to get more depth on the slider. That has been probably my third
best pitch for the most part," Schroder said. "The fastball has always been
good. That's how I get my strikeouts, always up in the zone. Sometimes I
don't always have good control. It's probably because of the quality of [his]
On Saturday, Rijo continued to tutor Schroder. Following his bullpen session,
Rijo told the right-hander that he had his hands up too high during the stretch and that he needed to get them near the chest area.
Front-office change: The Nats announced that assistant general manager Bob Boone has accepted the resignation of Andy Dunn, who was the club's director of player development.
Boone and the remainder of the baseball operations staff will assume all of Dunn's duties. Further restructuring within the Nationals' player development department will be announced at a later date.
When reached by phone, Boone declined to say why Dunn resigned.
"I respect Andy and we'll move forward and build the best player development program in baseball," Boone said.
Meeting of the minds: According to a baseball source outside of the
organization, the Nats are still talking to free-agent second baseman Ronnie Belliard's
If Belliard signs with Washington, he will join the team
immediately, the source said on Saturday. However, Belliard would have to take a huge pay cut -- he made $4 million in '06, but
might have to settle for $700,000 to $1 million.
The best that he can be: Ryan Zimmerman, arguably the best defensive
third baseman in baseball, said recently that he made some silly errors in '06.
Zimmerman is working with Barry Larkin, the special
advisor to the general manager, twice a week on his footwork at Space Coast
In practice, the young third baseman was seen on his knees fielding ground balls, working on his throws
at third and shortstop and also turning the double play at second base.
"There were four or five errors I could have avoided if I used my feet a
little more," Zimmerman said. "We were concentrating on not ever stopping my
feet. Just getting my feel planted. It's also going to save my arm a lot
more if I get all of my momentum toward first base."
Future plans: Manager Manny Acta announced that Kory Casto will get
most of his Spring Training at-bats as a third baseman. Acta said that Casto
wouldn't have received many at-bats playing in left field, because Ryan Church, Chris
Snelling and Alex Escobar are fighting for time there.
The Nats still look as Casto as their future left fielder, and he will work
at the position during batting practice.
"When [Zimmerman] is out of the game, Casto is the guy. We have enough guys
in left field," Acta said. "We want to get Casto as many at-bats as possible,
so we can take a good look at him and make a decision at the end of camp."
According to Casto, assistant general manager Bob Boone informed him of the
team's plans a few weeks ago and believed it was a good idea.
"Whatever it takes to get at-bats, I'm going to do that," Casto said. "It will give them a
better feel on what I can do [with the bat]."
He's here: Infielder Tony Womack arrived in camp and said that he
signed with Washington, because he wanted to help the
Womack, 37, had his best season under hitting coach Mitchell Page in 2004, when both
were with the Cardinals. That season, Womack hit a career-high .304
with five home runs and 38 RBIs, but he declined to say what the secret of his
success was with Page.
In case you're wondering: Juan Brito, Jesus Colome, Anastacio
Martinez, Luis Martinez, Arnie Munoz, Felix Diaz and Edward Valdez arrived
in Viera on Friday and participated in their first workouts Saturday
morning. All six players had visa problems early in the week.
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