NATIONALS NOTEBOOK

Rauch Defies Definition, but Not the Mets

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 14, 2006

In spring training, right-hander Jon Rauch just wanted a major league job. That he has developed into the key setup man for the Washington Nationals is a result of how he has pitched, a preseason injury to right-hander Luis Ayala and last month's trade of Gary Majewski and Bill Bray to Cincinnati.

Rauch, though, clearly is not into defining his role or discussing how it might change over time.

"I just do my job," he said over the weekend. "If you guys want to put a title on it, put a title on it. But my job is to go out there and get guys out, whether I'm starting, closer, setup, whatever."

Yesterday, Rauch was called upon in the eighth inning of a tie game against the New York Mets, and he had one of his only poor outings of the last four weeks. He gave up a solo homer to Michael Tucker to give the Mets the lead in the eighth, then allowed another run on a walk, wild pitch and sacrifice fly in the ninth, the decisive runs in a 3-1 loss.

Rauch left the clubhouse before speaking to reporters, but said through a team spokesman, "I was off on my location and didn't execute pitches in situations when it mattered the most."

Rauch's previous 13 appearances had yielded just one run.

Jackson Shows His Frustration

Before the game, utilityman Damian Jackson tossed a chair across the clubhouse -- not in the direction of anyone in particular, but alarming nearby reporters and team personnel. "It was more me being frustrated with me," said Jackson, who said he was miffed by the way he was swinging in the batting cages. He said he threw the chair "as a joke, as a way to get them riled up and get something exciting going." . . .

MASN play-by-play man Bob Carpenter will be away from the team Tuesday through Thursday taking his eldest daughter to college. Radio announcer Charlie Slowes will move to TV for those games. He'll be replaced on the radio by Wizards play-by-play man Dave Johnson on Tuesday and Wednesday and former Redskins announcer Frank Herzog on Thursday.


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