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[[March 9th] -- The Washington Nationals announced Thursday that the contracts of general manager Jim Bowden and assistant GM Tony Siegle have been extended for the end of the season. Like "Big Red" or not, there has to be some continuity this year, and to have the new owner replace the management team in mid-season would hurt the Nats far more than it would help.

The team also began the mass-cuts that were promised following the team's poor play against the Marlins two days ago. Larry Broadway was reassigned to the New Orleans Zephyrs and pitcher Mike Hinckley is now with the Potomac Nationals. Assigned to the "minor league camp" was Frank Diaz, Cristian Guerrero, Kory Casto, Josh Labandeira, Erick San Pedro, Andrew Good, Francis Beltran, Mike Bacsik, Micah Bowie and Jim Crowell. No surprises there. Although Broadway was playing well with the "big boys," the team likely wanted him to begin to get as many at-bats as possible as the team continues to groom their heir-apparent at first base. Hinckley will start at Potomac, but look for him to advance quickly with a couple of good performances.

Now on to today's games.

The Nationals' lost both halves of their split-squad double header, losting to both the Indians 10-5 and the Marlins, 5-4. The Cleveland game was played with a combination of reserves and minor leaguers; not a single starter played in the game. Billy Traber was very impressive, throwing one-hit ball over four innings, striking out four. Jason Bergman also pitched a scoreless inning. Travis Hughes & Billy Bray, however, were terrible, allowing a combined nine runs in the fifth inning. It's looking less and less likely that Hughes will make the team. Marlon Anderson hit a home run and went 2-4. Damian Jackson also got two hits. Brendan Harris continues to push to make the opening day roster, going 2-4 against the Indians. The Indians played most of their starters, so this game, although a loss, was a positive nonetheless.

Livan Hernandez pitched for the first time this spring against the Marlins, giving up a run and a hit over three innings; he struck out two. Pedro Astacio also played for the first time, throwing a scoreless 4th inning. Kevin Gryboski and Mike Stanton pitched poorly, allowing a combined four runs and five hits in four innings. Marlon Byrd was the only player with multiple hits, going 2-3 with two RBI's. Jamey Carroll's brother, Wes Carroll, went 1-2. I didn't know that Wes was Jamey's brother.

The Nats are now 1-8-1 in Grapefruit League Play. No big deal. Now that the minor league players are being reassigned and the team begins to play it's regulars on an every-day basis, the wins should become more frequent.

Chin up, buckaroos. Happiness is on the horizon [I hope!] ....

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