Nationals Notebook

Nationals Notebook: Cintrón Trying to Give New Club Something to Remember

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 11, 2009

PHOENIX, May 10 -- For Alex Cintrón, the recognition was a reminder. When he bought a shirt at Macy's this weekend, the sales assistant recognized his face. When he went out to dinner, a fan approached him and asked, " Are you Alex Cintrón?"

Cintrón had his best years with Arizona, the organization that drafted him. Here, he won a World Series ring. He was an everyday player. He is still remembered.

By returning to Phoenix as an opponent, though, Cintrón was forced to acknowledge the contrast. Once a higher-profile name, the 30-year-old is now trying to find a comfortable role -- or merely a hit, for that matter -- with the Nationals. Stuck behind Cristian Guzmán, Cintrón, who joined the Nationals on April 18, entered Sunday's game with just one start. Sunday was his second. He went 0 for 3 and is 0 for 19 this season.

"It's tough mentally," Cintrón said. "But I can't put that as an excuse. I feel much better now than at the beginning."

Relief on the Way?

So long as the Nationals' bullpen remains in constant reshuffle mode, with jobs available for any temp worker with big league experience on his résumé, it's worth keeping tabs on bullpen developments in Class AAA Syracuse. And this week, there have been plenty.

When the latest free agent signee, Mike MacDougal, 32, joined the Chiefs on Saturday, Washington released right-handed reliever Gary Glover, who has spent parts of eight years in the big leagues.

"We crafted out who would help us most in the big leagues, and he was just the guy we didn't think would help us," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We didn't want to send him to Class AA; we didn't want to disrespect him. So we just released him to give him another opportunity."

Soon, another veteran will join the Syracuse mix: On May 22, Jorge Sosa -- currently suspended for amphetamines -- will again be eligible to pitch. Sosa is working out in Viera, Fla., in extended spring training.

Washington has been so desperate for help that the front office, when considering earlier roster moves this year, has debated recalling Sosa directly to the big leagues. Sosa's suspension applies only to the minor leagues.

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