It's been a while, and we're a few days late, but it's time to answer the latest edition of the Nationals.com mailbag! Here's how it works: 1. Fans email their questions to Nationals beat writer Bill Ladson at MLB.com. 2. We copy and paste the questions over here. 3. We make a half-assed attempt at answering the questions.
As always, keep those e-mails coming to Nationals.com, and we'll keep copying and pasting them over here and giving our half-assed answers. Thanks a bunch.
What's the deal with right-hander John Patterson? I know it's early, but he barely reaches 90 miles per hour on his fastball.
-- W. M., Woodbridge, Va.
Great question. The deal is that Patterson is still hurt. Actually, that's not true. I don't know. I've stopped trying to figure out Patterson.
When will Michael O'Connor and Jason Simontacchi come off the disabled list?
-- D.O., Arlington, Va.
Great question. Simontacchi is working in extended spring training and will be ready to replace someone in the rotation in May probably. The team is still trying to track down O'Connor, who got left behind on one of the Winter Caravan stops...so sometime later this summer?
With Ryan Church hitting the way he is, how long do you give it until general manager Jim Bowden trades him?
-- D. F., Seaford, Del.
Great question. Bowden won't trade him.
Two years ago, then-Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez had a fit and said he was done for the season. He wouldn't say why he was upset, but he said he would say why after the season. The day after his temper tantrum, he calmed down. I was wondering if he eventually said anything about it or what the reasons were that he almost quit on the team.
-- C. D., Montreal
Great question. I think it was because his car got broken into. Or was that Marlon Anderson? Or Marlon Byrd? This much I know: it was one of the Marlons. What was your question?
What is Alex Escobar's prognosis for returning to the Nationals?
-- S. J., Washington
Ha ha, good one.
Cal Ripken made the change from third base to shortstop successfully. Why not shift Ryan Zimmerman to short, insert Kory Casto at third and use an outfield of Church, Logan and Kearns?
-- C. N. W., Keswick, Va.
What will be the underlying philosophy behind the Nationals' First-Year Player Draft class this year -- high-ceiling high school prospects or more-ready-for-the-Majors college prospects?
-- J. E., Washington
Great question. Pitching, pitching, pitching!