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Nationals Notes: Pudge, Flores, Wang, Fielder

Down 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth last night, the Nats rallied back to tie the game against Phillies closer Ryan Madson and then won it on Ryan Zimmerman's walkoff grand slam.  Here's the latest from Washington as the Nationals continue their series with the first-place Phils....

  • Ivan Rodriguez's chances of returning to Washington next season depend on Jesus Flores' ability to stick as the Nats' backup catcher, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson.  Manager Davey Johnson called Rodriguez "a valuable asset" who he'd like to see back in 2012, but "it's also a valuable time for Flores to try to regain the status that he had a couple of years ago. That will weigh more than Pudge coming back. Everybody knows what Pudge can do."
  • Johnson is also interested in seeing Chien-Ming Wang pitch for the Nationals in 2012, reports Ben Goessling of MASNsports.com.  Wang is finally back after two injury-plagued years, and Johnson hopes his club's patience with Wang would help convince him to return next season.  I think a key for Wang this offseason will be to look for a team who can give him a clear path to a starting job, whereas in Washington he would be one of "seven or eight options" for the Nats' rotation in Spring Training. 
  • There are some similarities between how the Phillies built their World Series-caliber team and how the Nationals are trying to turn themselves into contenders, writes The Washington Post's Dave Sheinin.
  • Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington doesn't think the Nationals will be one of the teams bidding on Prince Fielder this winter.  Zuckerman notes that the Nats already have Mike Morse and Adam LaRoche under contract next season, plus GM Mike Rizzo "loves defense at 1B."  Also, Zuckerman says that between Jayson Werth's contract and a possible extension for Zimmerman, Washington won't be able to afford Fielder.  (Both Twitter links)








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