Nationals manager Dusty Baker is known as a motivator more than as an in-game tactician, but James Wagner of the Washington Post suggests that the veteran skipper may be under-sold in the game management department. Numerous players say that they are believers in the way that Baker has operated, and he has managed to coax plenty of quality innings from his rotation while making situational use of his pen. Baker also chatted with MLB.com’s Bill Ladson about his first six weeks at the helm of the division-leading Nats. He says he’s pleased with the construction of the ballclub and intends to remain steady with the approach that has worked for the team out of the gates. Baker praised GM Mike Rizzo for his work and said their relationship has been very positive thus far.
More from the NL East…
- The Mets are relieved to have received good news on the elbow of left-hander Steven Matz, reports Newsday’s Marc Carig (via Twitter). Per Carig, tests on Matz’s elbow revealed that he does not have any ligament damage or any form of serious injury in his pitching elbow. The 24-year-old missed his most recent start due to some soreness in the elbow, but it sounds for now as if Matz has avoided a prolonged absence from the active roster. The Mets will make a more formal announcement on Matz’s health tomorrow, Carig notes. Matz has a 2.86 ERA through his first 34 2/3 innings of the season.
- The Phillies placed a claim on infielder Jimmy Paredes, who was claimed by the Blue Jays earlier today, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). However, the Jays had an earlier crack at Paredes due to the league-specific nature of outright waivers at this juncture of the season, though Kubatko points out that even if the order were based on record, the Jays would’ve had priority over Philadelphia due to the Phillies’ surprisingly strong start. The Phillies hired former Orioles special assistant Ned Rice as an assistant general manager the offseason, so it’s perhaps not surprising that Philadelphia would have interest in the now-former Orioles infielder/designated hitter.
- Meanwhile, the Phillies got some positive news on outfielder Aaron Altherr, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Altherr is two weeks away from picking up a bat, meaning he’s progressing as hoped, though Gelb says he could still land at the longer end of the four-to-six month timeline he was given for a full return. Philadelphia obviously still can’t count on much from the 25-year-old in the current season. With a surprising run out of the gates coming in spite of dreadful production from the corner outfield, it will be interesting to see whether the team is able to do anything to boost its lineup even while staying committed to a rebuilding effort.