Inbox: Will Strasburg be an All-Star?
Beat reporter Bill Ladson answers Nationals fans' questions
I know this might sound crazy. Do you think if Stephen Strasburg can repeat everything he does in his first two outings, he might make a trip to the All-Star Game with less than a month left?
-- Alex P., St. Louis Park, Minn.
Funny you asked this question -- I was thinking the same thing this weekend. No question he would be a great draw for the Midsummer Classic. However, I don't see it happening because Strasburg is on an innings limit. He is expected to throw a combined 150-160 innings in the Minor and Major Leagues this season. I don't see an inning going into the All-Star Game, which will be in Anaheim.
Would you agree that Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham are the best heart of the lineup the Nationals/Expos have had for a long time? It is so exciting to see them perform the way they do right now.
-- Alex C., Montreal
I would agree they are productive in the three-, four- and five-spot, respectively, in the order. But you know what I would like to see one of them do? Carry the team for one month like Reggie Jackson used to do with the Yankees in the 1970s. That would mean a lot of victories for the Nationals and MVP consideration in the National League.
Is there a reason for Nyjer Morgan's low batting average and poor stolen-base/caught-stealing ratio?
-- Jerry B., Washington D.C.
I don't know what the problem is. Morgan said he is healthy and just in slump. I think he has to learn to hit lefties better and be more patient at the plate. As far as the stolen bases go, I think it's pretty obvious that he is not reading the opposing pitchers correctly. I don't think you can blame it on his sliding technique. He is now getting caught sliding headfirst.
If Morgan continues to play mediocre baseball, I would not be surprised if manager Jim Riggleman used Morgan against right-handers only and put Roger Bernadina in center and Mike Morse in right against left-handers.
Are you worried about the amount of errors the Nationals have made recently?
-- Clarence C., Washington D.C.
Yes and no. Mostly yes, because the errors are the reason the Nationals have lost most of their games. This is one area I can't blame it on Willingham and Dunn like I did in the past, because they have improved dramatically with the leather. Why the team is making errors I don't know. I can tell you that it works hard before games on its defense. So it isn't because of lack of effort.
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I can think of one right fielder who is doing fairly well this season, a person who would come cheaply. What do you think about Austin Kearns?
-- Bob C., Columbia, Md.
Why would the Nationals want to go there? He is arguably the biggest disappointment in their history after signing a three-year, $17.5 million deal after the 2006 season. Granted, he is having a nice season, but I don't know if he is going to keep it up. Ask me this same question after the season. I may give you a different answer.
Outfielder Jayson Werth becomes a free agent after this season, unless the Phillies give him contract extension. What do you think about Werth coming to D.C. to help solidify the Nats' right-field situation, and give them another solid bat?
-- Nate H., Potomac, Md.
I believe they are in good hands now with Bernadina and Morse. Let's give these guys a chance before we pass judgment. To me, Werth is not a difference-maker. I would rather take my chances on the players I mentioned.
When should we see Derek Norris?
-- Dylan H., Leona Valley, Calif.
I think we will see Norris in two years. I hope injuries don't stand in the way. He has been hurt quite a bit this year. Assistant general manager Bob Boone told me that Norris is ready for the big leagues as a hitter right now, but still needs work behind the plate.
If the Nats stay competitive for the next two months, do you think management will be active before the July 31 Trade Deadline? If so, what does management feel the biggest need is?
-- Dean O., Winnipeg, Canada
The answer is yes. I see the Nationals going after a starting pitcher and another bat. I think they have the players -- both in Majors and Minors -- to get trades done. We'll see what happens as the season moves along.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.