No Free Pass For Bergmann After Struggles

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 7, 2007

Anyone who was at Jason Bergmann's start Thursday night -- one in which he needed 50 pitches to survive the first inning -- might have some questions for the Washington Nationals' right-hander. General Manager Jim Bowden was among those watching -- and with questions.

Bowden had a lengthy -- and, at times, animated -- conversation with Bergmann during batting practice before last night's 7-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bowden wouldn't comment on the specifics of the conversation afterward, but Bergmann said a clear message was delivered.

"He basically expressed his disapproval in six walks," Bergmann said, noting his total in his 3 2/3 -inning outing. "I think that's the biggest thing. Obviously, it's not something I'm proud of. I agreed with everything he said."

Bergmann and last night's starter, Jerome Williams, will switch spots in the rotation. Williams will pitch Wednesday at Atlanta, Bergmann in Thursday's series finale.

Last night, Williams became the first Nationals pitcher to reach the sixth inning. "You just want to try and go out there and just pitch," he said. Williams's six-inning performance in which he gave up four earned runs wasn't as unsightly as Bergmann's, but it still left the rotation with an ERA of 9.67.

Expanding Viewership

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network reached an agreement with the largest holdout among potential carriers in the region, the satellite DISH Network. The agreement means nearly all cable or satellite households from North Carolina to Pennsylvania have access to MASN, which carries both the Nationals and Baltimore Orioles.

Some DirecTV customers, however, missed much of last night's game because DirecTV thought it should be blacked out. A MASN spokesman said the company called DirecTV after it received complaints, and DirecTV turned the game on midway through. . . .

Infielder Bernie Castro, on the roster at Columbus, is serving a 15-game suspension for violating baseball's minor league drug policy in 2005, according to Bowden.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company