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Lo Duca Out 4 to 6 Weeks

A couple of things regarding Paul Lo Duca that happened last night, but the most significant is this: He swung at a Roy Oswalt pitch in the seventh and, an MRI revealed today, fractured the the fourth metacarpal bone in his right hand, the hand that originally sent him to the DL on April 13.

Lo Duca is expected to miss four to six weeks. No move is expected tonight, being the last night of a road trip, though we should find out the club's plans for a move tomorrow within the next couple of hours.

Quite a night for Lo Duca. First, he allowed two stolen bases. He is now 0 for 10 this year throwing out base runners. Only one NL catcher, San Francisco's Steve Holm, has allowed more stolen bases without throwing anyone out.

I talked to Lo Duca about this problem before hand, and the note got cut when he was injured (which we'll get to).

"I haven't thrown the ball well at all, to be honest with you," Lo Duca said. "I'm trying something new, and I'm going to keep working on it. My arm feels fine. I think it's going to get better, but it's got to get better quick."

Manny Acta on the problem: "We knew when we signed Paul, that we would have to deal with that. It's been there for years."

Acta believes the runners are stealing on the Nationals pitchers, who aren't quick enough to the plate and who aren't varying their times to screw up runners. Whatever the cause, the Nationals have thrown out five would-be base stealers while allowing 30 steals, a success rate of 14.3 percent -- worst in the NL. Ugh.

Let's move on to the injury. Lo Duca swung at and fouled off an 0-1 pitch from Oswalt. He immediately felt a sharp pain. "It's probably the most pain I've ever felt," he said. "It hurt."

He came out of the game, clearly upset. As he was leaving the field, Lo Duca got into a jawing match with some fans in the first row right behind the Nationals dugout. Apparently, the fans had been using vulgar language from the first inning, and much of it had been aimed at Lo Duca. In fact, it was bad enough that Manny Acta had mentioned it to a security guard in the dugout early in the game. After the Lo Duca incident, three fans were ejected by security.

So I put the question to Lo Duca afterward: What happened? His answer was classic.

"The guy was being obnoxious the whole night," Lo Duca said. "I just kept my mouth shut and didn't say anything. And then I was coming off the field, and he told me I was a [wimp]. I said, 'If I'm a [wimp], come outside and wait for me then, if you've got an issue with me.' And he turned red as a freakin' ketchup bottle."

Lineups aren't out yet, but I have to believe Wil Nieves will be behind the plate for John Lannan tonight. It'll be interesting to see if the Nationals call up Jesus Flores (continuing to have three catchers) for this extended period of time. Flores is struggling at Class AAA Columbus, hitting .153 in 17 games with one homer and seven RBI.

They could also bring up an extra arm.

It's always something around here, isn't it?

And check out these lineups:

Washington:
Harris -- 8
Guzman -- 6
Zimmerman -- 5
Johnson -- 3
Kearns -- 9
Belliard -- 4
Mackowiak -- 7
Nieves -- 2
Lannan -- 1

Houston:
Bourn -- 8
Matsui -- 4
Tejada -- 6
Berkman -- 3
Lee -- 7
Pence -- 9
Wigginton -- 5
Towles -- 2
Backe -- 1

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 8, 2008; 3:19 PM ET
 
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Next: Lo Duca, Estrada both on DL tomorrow; Flores up, Dukes back

Comments

LoDuca just spared Mackowiak for another 15 days.

Posted by: nook logan circle | May 8, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

You know, steroids user or not, I kinda feel bad for Lo Duca...

Posted by: BigNatsFan | May 8, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The Onion has a hilarious story about the Nats. The link is below in case you haven't read it.

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nationals_book_it_after_foul_ball

Posted by: Nats Fan | May 8, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

So Lo Duca breaks a bone in his hand while fouling off a pitch and is visibly in excruciating pain, but according to some "fan," he's a wimp for coming out of the game? Idiot . . . .

Posted by: rbpalmer | May 8, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if this is related to the fact that he is a former roider. Man the nats must be furious. He signed just before the mitchell report came out and exposed him as a cheater and his numbers as inflated. And then these post-steroid injuries. Well, he sure appears to have scammed them for $5MM.

Posted by: jk | May 8, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

No great loss, except in bucks. He was underperforming anyway. Perhaps Nieves will get some extended playing time now, or not. Estrada I suppose will have to step it up. Well, not really, I mean, if they were letting a slumping Lo Duca play so much, there shouldn't be any pressure on anyone else. SoCH could probably fill those shoes.

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 8, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

All I can do now is shrug my shoulders and chuckle. At least Wil Nieves has an arm. He nearly threw out Matsui (I think) last night.

Once he heals up, any bets as to how long Lo Duca will stay healthy before he reacquaints himself with the DL once again?

Posted by: Juan-John | May 8, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Sad to say, the Nats are better off. They would have felt compelled to play LoDuca despite his defensive shortcomings (his offense hasn't been much either). Bowden continued his lack of concern with defense behind the plate by signing LoDuca. Let's not even talk about the outfield.

Posted by: Timo | May 8, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Now if we can just do something about that laggard, Lastings Milledge. That guy is underperforming more than Lo Duca. What is it about those x-Mets?

Yeah, I know Matsui was on 3rd when the last pitch came, but Milledge should have at least given the ball a shot. Instead he fans at the ball coming toward him and then trots off the field. What a bum! Acta should bench him.

Posted by: Section 202 | May 8, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a big fan of Lo Duca, but I do feel bad for him too. The guy is still human.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Tough break for Lo Duca. Hope he gets well soon!

One of the best breaks the Nats have had this year, however.

Posted by: Ira | May 8, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't wish an injury on anybody, but I think this is good news for the Nats if it means more PT for Wilbert "Agent 53" Nieves. And when I say that it's not because I'm expecting him to keep hitting, I just think there is something to be said for defensive competence. Last year we had Church and Nook and Schneider and struggled to score. But at least we were competent. This year we have Pena and Milledge and Lo Duca/Estrada and have still struggled to score while looking incompetent. A dose of Nieves (and Willy Harris, for that matter, who is beginning to grow on me) is a good thing in my view.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 8, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Future Hall-of-Fame catcher Mike Piazza is available and DC could throw him a great retirement party in 4-6 weeks.

Posted by: KC | May 8, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Bob L.: Makes you look forward to seeing Dukes, doesn't it?

Posted by: Dick | May 8, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

LoDuca is no loss, he's over the hill. He is weak defensively and he can't hit anymore. The Nats peed away $5 mil on this turkey and another mil or two on Estrada. Why isn't there ever any accountability for all the dumb moves Bowden makes???

Posted by: Mike Hunt | May 8, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

That's what Steven on Capital Hill wants to know! Estrada is only $750,000 or so.

Posted by: Ira | May 8, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Mr. Hunt, how did the Post servers not pick up on that one?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 8, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to the Astros for throwing those guys out immediately. Classy team.

Posted by: BMac | May 8, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Tough break for Lo Duca. Hope he gets well soon!

"One of the best breaks the Nats have had this year, however."

Yup. It sounds like it is unanimous among the constituency.

=====

Paul,

Maybe this will give you some time to explore all the various options for Italian food that DC has to offer.

http://www.yelp.com/c/dc/italian

Can't wait to read your top-ten-tiramisu list.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 8, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Full [redundant] disclosure: I dislike Paul Lo Duca. I dislike him immensely. I try to remain objective, but I am viewing this through the lens of immense dislike.

That being said, I hate how Lo Duca handled that situation with the fans last night. I know what "[wimp]" translates into, and it's no excuse to respond in kind, especially with a challenge to fight. I don't care how much pain you're in, that behavior demonstrates a lack of professionalism.

And honestly, the fan should have waited for him. Lo Duca hits the fan with his broken hand and he's now out eight to ten weeks and has a lawsuit to boot.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 8, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

John: What's to like?

Posted by: Dick | May 8, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Bob's absolutely dead on. This is a good "break" for us, and I suggest that mgmt. feels the same way because they aren't yet forced to release Estrada and eat his salary. RE: the outfield, I'm also sickened by the lack of competence defensively and feel that our starters that continue to give us good outings could really use some help. Can we please just bring up Escobar? I don't care what he's hitting in the minors, he's proven he can hit at the MLB level but just couldn't stay healthy. He can hit, field, and run. Now that he's healthy, why are we wasting him in AAA?

Posted by: macman | May 8, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Manny Acta on the problem: "We knew when we signed Paul, that we would have to deal with that. It's been there for years."

So let me get this straight. JimBo gets rid of a good defensive catcher, Schneider and in his place trades for a guy who "we would have to DEAL with..." Nice job, JimBo.

Posted by: rg019571 | May 8, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@202 -- I can't see how you are upset over Milledge's play in that last at-bat. With a runner on third and less than two outs, all OF'ers are playing shallow. Anything hit beyond them wins the game. Even if he cathces it, there is no way he'll throw out the runner from third. This happens all the time in baseball ...

Posted by: e | May 8, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

PLoD was a free agent. JimBow didn't trade for him.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Mr. Hunt, how did the Post servers not pick up on that one?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 8, 2008 4:27 PM
----
it's aural...?

Posted by: Ben Dover | May 8, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

You got your wish. Harris will be roaming CF tonight.
-------------------------------
Milledge should have at least given the ball a shot. Instead he fans at the ball coming toward him and then trots off the field. What a bum! Acta should bench him.

Posted by: Section 202 | May 8, 2008 4:13 PM

Posted by: gnatsgnation.blogspot.com | May 8, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Lo Duca's signing was Bowden's way of giving swanni and Lerners are Cheap a sop.

Posted by: Ira | May 8, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Milledge out of the lineup.

(maniacal hand wringing) innnnnnteresting. what can this possibly mean?

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of the steriod kid LoDuca. The Nationals should ask for their money back.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | May 8, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

John in Mpls: I think that the parking lot at Minute Maid Park has already had its fair share of fights:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/news/2003/0716/1581601.html

Posted by: Nat Gas Futures | May 8, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Don't you mean S.O.B., Ira?

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 8, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Milledge out of the lineup.

(maniacal hand wringing) innnnnnteresting. what can this possibly mean?

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2008 4:37 PM
---
yes, very diabolical indeed!

Posted by: N@sfan | May 8, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Interesting Nats lineup tonight. I very much welcome the changes. After the last two sloppy games, it's time for a shake-up.

Posted by: macman | May 8, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Love the Onion article!!

Tough break (hehe) for Lo Duca. He's not my favorite, but like many here I do feel bad for him too. Maybe the catcher-by-committee will settle down a bit and Nieves will get into a groove - maybe our stolen bases count will go down some too.

Posted by: Patty | May 8, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't necessarily blame LoDuca for responding the way he did to those jackasses.

He's struggling and is frustrated by it. He's getting yelled out with what sounds like constant profanity. He hurts himself and is in enormous pain and probably realizes he is headed back to the DL and these fools are reveling in it. It is a lot to ask a man to keep his mouth shut. Should he have? Yes, but it's a lot to ask.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | May 8, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Manny's statement about defense? The two biggest offenders are given the night off & Lo Duca probably wouldn't have played tonight even if he hadn't punched out his supplier.

Any guesses on why Lopez is out? He's 3 for 8 lifetime against Backe with 4 walks & Belliard has never hit against him. His defense has seemed OK--Guzman is the one who can't get seem to get a grip on the ball.

Milledge should have gone after the ball, e. Matsui could have fell down. Not likely, but it's the same reason that pop flies should be run out by the hitter.

Posted by: 307/418 | May 8, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Belliard needs some at bats, so that move doesn't surprise me. But the Milledge more can't be anything but a repudiation. Who cares if it's a game ending sac fly, put the sac in it!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 8, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

could be reading way too much into milledge finally getting a night off. who knows.

while i feel bad for loduca, and he doesn't have a great arm, none of the catchers on this team have much of a chance at throwing out runners. randy needs to do remedial "base runner holding" training with all of his pitchers. even when nieves makes a perfect throw on a rope and gets it out in lightning fashion, he stands little chance of throwing runners out. the pitchers should be ashamed of themselves with how poorly they hold runners. might as well just put NJ 10 feet from the bag.

Posted by: 231 | May 8, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the perspective, Nats Gas Futures. Not sure if it's what you intended, but I've certainly tempered my argument that Lo Duca acted unprofessionally.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 8, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Ira the LoDuca signing didn't move my needle one bit. It was a non-event, a signing for one year after management had already decided to give up on the year.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 8, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

He struck out on a ball that hit him and was demoted to 1/2A.

-----

Any guesses on why Lopez is out? He's 3 for 8 lifetime against Backe with 4 walks & Belliard has never hit against him.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 8, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm a bit surprised by the comments here. Mitchell report... Steroids...

The guy has broken a bone in his hand. This is not caused by steriods. This is caused by taking a fastball in the back of the hand, having a hairline fracture, then jarring that fracture loose during a swing.

Look, I'm not happy that PLD used performance enhancing drugs. That being said, if he can fully recover from this injury, he will hit .290 and drive in more than 70 runs. He's an offensive upgrade over Schneider and a competent veteran catcher on a team that could really use that. Estrada is fairly useless as anything more than a pinch-hitter. Nieves is playing way above his career numbers and will probably drop back to the .220s with regular playing time. Flores just isn't ready.

The performance sample for PLD this year is SO tiny as not to be any kind of indicator of his likely performance on the season. He is a good contact hitter--something unaffected by performance enhancing drugs. People take that stuff to get more power and I'm sure that PLD was pegged as the next Mike Piazza and felt pressure to put up 20 HR+ seasons. HRs aside, he has been a pretty good offensive player--and great for a catcher.

The other beef about PLD is that he is a clubhouse cancer. I don't get this one either as his teams have flat-out won.

I'm not saying he's likely to be an all-star or even a fan-fave, or that we should forgive his use of illegal stuff, but if we can cheer Dukes and Young, can't we find a place in our fan-box for PLD?

Posted by: Section 112 | May 8, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Whoa! Be careful what you wish for! (For the record I pined for the Wil(lie)s above before the lineups came out, and not only got them but Mack and Belly as well).

(Hi Manny!)

Methinks this lineup is designed to send a message. I wouldn't be surprised if Manny doesn't admit that though.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 8, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

he he. I was just asking about Belliard too. 'Bout time they showed him a little love.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"randy needs to do remedial "base runner holding" training with all of his pitchers."

Addendum: randy needs to do remedial "base runner holding" training WITHOUT BALKING IN A RUN with all of his pitchers.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 8, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"It is a lot to ask a man to keep his mouth shut. Should he have? Yes, but it's a lot to ask."

Tell that to Jackie Robinson.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 8, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

OR WILD-PITCHING IN A RUN!!

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

IHW, jackie robinson is a pretty high standard to hold people to.

Posted by: 231 | May 8, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

OR WALKING IN THE WINNING RUN!!

Posted by: BSG | May 8, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Good point, IHW. There is a reason why #42 is retired throughout baseball.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | May 8, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"It is a lot to ask a man to keep his mouth shut. Should he have? Yes, but it's a lot to ask."

Tell that to Jackie Robinson.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 8, 2008 4:58 PM
___________________________________________


Good Point. But, Jackie Robinson was very special person, one that comes along once every lifetime.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | May 8, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

OR FAILING TO MAKE ANY EFFORT WHATSOEVER TO COVER FIRST BASE LEAVING A HUSTLING NICK WITH NOBODY TO THROW THE OUT TO

Posted by: NatsFly | May 8, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

LoDuca was starting to raise his average a bit, and I am disappointed he was injured. He does nothing for us on the DL, and although I have been won over by Nieves, too, he also isn't throwing many out.

Flores is in a slump and hasn't earned a call-up. I don't see the point in 3 catchers now, anyway. The point was mainly to keep Nieves. If we wanted to call up another catcher, I would love to catch lightning in a bottle and call up Luke Montz from Harrisburg. He may never get another chance, and he is on fire. Remember, Flores came to the bigs from A-ball last year.

What I would rather they do, though, is bring up Elijah Dukes. It doesn't matter a bit to me that Langerhans and Orr are having good months in Columbus. They are not the future, in the least. Let Dukes come up, and perhaps light a fire under WMP.

Also, yet again, I am all for Milledge, right or wrong. I think I will be right.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 8, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

O. Perez is one of those sad-sack guys who deflates every time something negative happens, starts pouting and then stumbles into disaster. F. Lopez is the position-player version of O. Perez.

Posted by: Timo | May 8, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Note the similarities

http://tinyurl.com/4u26ge

http://tinyurl.com/3kvjbk

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 8, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

(unless, of course, you have a very good excuse for losing your head, like puking-sick, for example)

_______________
OR FAILING TO MAKE ANY EFFORT WHATSOEVER TO COVER FIRST BASE LEAVING A HUSTLING NICK WITH NOBODY TO THROW THE OUT TO

Posted by: NatsFly | May 8, 2008 5:10 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Ooooh. Even bigger shake up.

New post ya'll.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 8, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

LoDuca and Estrada out. Flores and Dukes in - I'd like to see Flores stay for good.

Posted by: Anon | May 8, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I don't think it's too much to ask of our players to not engage in taunts, challenges, or insults with fans, be it home or away.

And it's not just my blind, searing dislike of Lo Duca. Had, say, Nick Johnson done the same, my rebuke would be just as automatic.

I'm not saying those fans were in the right, mind you. I'm just saying Lo Duca's response was unprofessional.

Posted by: John in Mpls | May 8, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

1. good break for the nats (no pun intended).
2. except now you cant showcase lopuca to try and pawn off on yanks. oh well.
but lets see what nieves got. i like the way he throws.
3. 3b coach tolman has to go. two 1 run losses in a row that he gets runners blown away at home. the guy obviously cant read hits to the of.
4.tonights lineup is brutal. if youre lannan youre looking at the scorecard goin where is my run support comin from.

Posted by: dk | May 8, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I thought that the drugs would prevent these thing from happening. If not won't they help him heal quickly? Another great trade by the Nats. Who do they think they are, the Arizona Cardinals?

Posted by: Michael1945 | May 8, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Paul Who is on the what now?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Based on what?

*************
O. Perez is one of those sad-sack guys who deflates every time something negative happens, starts pouting and then stumbles into disaster. F. Lopez is the position-player version of O. Perez.

Posted by: Timo | May 8, 2008 5:14 PM

Posted by: Perez's primo | May 8, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Whaaat? He got hit with a pitch--how the [AB] are steriods going to keep that from happening?? And for the record, as a matter of fact, they tend to cost you bone density.
But you go ahead and criticize anyway.

************
I thought that the drugs would prevent these thing from happening. If not won't they help him heal quickly? Another great trade by the Nats. Who do they think they are, the Arizona Cardinals?

Posted by: Michael1945 | May 8, 2008 5:32 PM

Posted by: ggggggggggggg | May 8, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

or any number of NJ denizens...

**************
"It is a lot to ask a man to keep his mouth shut. Should he have? Yes, but it's a lot to ask."
Tell that to Jackie Robinson.
Posted by: i hate walks | May 8, 2008 4:58 PM

Posted by: RSq | May 8, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Of course I will continue to be critical. Pro sports are loaded with dopes using dope, whether it be HGH or steroids. Pro sports will now, and always will be suspect. Suck it up many g's, because it doesn't matter because sports don't matter anymore. Spend your money on tickets to these events. I would much rather see a good movie.

Posted by: Michael1945 | May 8, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

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