Saturday, March 12, 2011;
Meredith released; Mock to Syracuse
The Nationals made their second and largest round of cuts this spring on Friday, slicing their big league camp to 46 players. Reliever Cla Meredith was released and pitchers Garrett Mock and Adam Carr, both on the 40-man roster, were optioned to Class AAA Syracuse.
Mock made one start last year as part of the season-opening rotation before landing on the disabled list with a neck injury that required surgery. Nationals officials agree on his potential, his arm strength and his raw stuff. But Mock, 27, allowed 11 runs (five earned), nine hits and six walks in 42/3 innings this spring.
"He's shown so many flashes," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "I can remember talking to an opposing manager in '09 after he pitched in a ballgame against a very good ballclub. The manager was talking to me the next day, [saying] 'Our guys are raving about Garrett Mock's stuff. They didn't know anything about him.' He just dominated a very good lineup. And then maybe he takes a step backwards."
Thursday night's game against the Astros, then, was a fitting end to Mock's latest spring stay with the Nationals. He entered in the third inning with two men on base and made a mess of the inning, hits flying all over the field. Then he utterly shut down the Astros for an inning.
"It's very confusing," Riggleman said. "Last night, he gave up some hits, and then he was untouchable. That's kind of been what he can do. I think he's at the optimal age. It's time for Garrett to become a starting pitcher and get stretched out down there. If he comes back and joins us, great."
In other moves, the Nationals assigned pitchers J.D. Martin, Luis Atilano and George Washington alum Josh Wilkie, catchers Carlos Maldonado and Jhonathan Solano, infielders Michael Aubrey and Kevin Barker and outfielders Jeff Frazier and Jonathan Van Every to Class AAA Syracuse.
Martin, along with Mock the only player cut who was with the Nationals last season, made nine starts last year, going 1-5 with a 4.13 ERA, before undergoing season-ending back surgery.
Meredith, who signed with the Nationals this winter as a minor league free agent, underwent Tommy John surgery this month.
Harper keeps hitting
Bryce Harper made the latest round of cuts, and while his chances to make the Nationals out of spring training appear to remain nil, the team's comfort with him staying in major league camp reiterates his remarkable transition to pro baseball.
Harper, 18, is 6 for 16 (.375) with three doubles and two walks while appearing in every Nationals game as a substitute. Thursday, he played in both Nationals games, both at home in Viera in the afternoon and away in Kissimmee at night. He went 1 for 2, running his recent streak to five hits in seven at-bats.
In the night game, Harper made a throwing error in the ninth inning that allowed the game-winning run to score, his first defensive blemish of the spring.
- Adam Kilgore