Logan Gets A Start Facing Right-Hander

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nook Logan, the right-handed-hitting half of the Washington Nationals' current-but-unstable center field platoon, got a start last night against Houston right-hander Chris Sampson, a position granted over the left-handed-hitting Ryan Langerhans because Manager Manny Acta has been impressed by Logan's recent approach.

"I kind of like what he's been doing lately for us, getting on base and taking some pitches and stuff," Acta said.

But almost in the same breath, Acta added, "We all know the platoon will be history when Escobar comes over here."

The Escobar in question would be outfielder Alex Escobar, whom Acta intends to insert in the lineup immediately upon his return from a rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Columbus. While Logan went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in a 4-2 loss, Escobar went 1 for 4 at Columbus. Acta said the loose plan was for Escobar to join the team on Tuesday. But General Manager Jim Bowden said, "I'm not ruling out this weekend."

Meantime, "I'm just trying to stay ready, to be prepared to see the ball," said Logan, who is 3 for 15 with three walks since the all-star break.

Detwiler Impresses

Bowden said Tim Foli, the Nationals' minor league field coordinator, watched first-round pick Ross Detwiler in a simulated game Monday and came away stunned.

"I know you can't base it off the 'sim' game," Bowden said Foli told him. "But from what I saw in the simulated game, he'll be the best pitcher you've ever been associated with in the game."

Detwiler, the sixth pick overall, is due to make his first professional start tomorrow for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League team in Viera, Fla. . . .

Josh Smoker, the left-handed pitcher from Georgia whom the Nationals took with the 31st pick in last month's draft, switched advisers yesterday, hiring the Octagon firm from McLean. Bowden hoped that would spur talks. Bowden also dismissed a Web site report that the Nationals had offered first-round money to high school pitcher Jack McGeary, their sixth-round pick. He has committed to Stanford and was considered a gamble when the Nationals selected him.

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