"I look beyond the contract and look at the execution and performance of the player, and it wasn't up to par. I was tired of watching him." --Mike Rizzo, May 26, 2009.

THE RESULT: Livan Hernandez threw a complete game, leading the New York Mets over the Washington Nationals, 6-1, before 39,376 at Citi Field.

The Nats managed nine hits and a walk off Hernandez (W, 4-1, 4.28), but could not group enough together to push across any runs. The only Nats score was an Adam Dunn solo home run. Dunn added a single for his 1000th career hit.

Washington falls to 13-32-1 for the season.

Craig Stammen (L, 0-1, 5.56) made his second start for Washington, and while he wasn't quite as impressive as his debut, he kept his team in the ball game, allowing just three runs in five innings.

Jason Bergmann allowed a three-run home run Gary Sheffield, the veteran outfielder's second three-run shot in as many games.

After the game, pitcher Daniel Cabrera was designated for assignment. The Nats have 10 days to trade or release the enigmatic hurler. Cabrera (0-5, 5.85, 35 BBs, 16 Ks in 40 IP) indicated after the decision that he would not accept a demotion to the minors, and would opt for free agency if the Nats could not work out a deal to send him elsewhere.

THE TAKEAWAY: The Cabrera move was a long time coming. Those of you that had May 26 in the poll can collect your winnings. By cutting Cabrera, the Nats will eat the remainder of his $2.6-million contract, but it's not about the money anymore.

GM Mike Rizzo sees the young pitching talent the Nats have and knows there's no room for the momentum sucking Cabrera on the squad. As brutal as he was as a starter, Cabrera would be double that in the pen, and they don't need any more negativity out there, right as it seems they might have taken a collective turn for the better.

I really wish today's column was just about Cabrera though. I've been looking forward to writing the words "Cabrera Gone" since the day they signed him.

But a potentially much bigger story has developed in central Florida, and we're just starting to get the facts in.

As reported earlier on NNN, a Lakeland, FL man and his wife were arrested yesterday for possession and intent to sell or deliver anabolic steroids, and the man implicated professional athletes as clients, including players on the Washington Nationals and Washington Capitals.

Richard and Sandra Thomas are each charged with 10 counts of possession of anabolic steroids with intention to sell and deliver; one count of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony; 10 counts of importation of anabolic steroids in Florida; and one count of maintaining a residence for selling drugs.

While the initial report is certainly troubling, from the tone of the initial reports, police seem to be skeptical as to whether Thomas is telling the truth in his claims. In a segment aired on WFLA-TV last night, the sheriff's office made a statement that they have no evidence of specific players involved in this investigation to this point.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said,
"The only thing [Thomas] said specifically was he sold to the Washington Capitals and the Washington Nationals. We asked him, because we knew that would create a firestorm, on two more occasions because we don't want to be quoted as saying that. Richard Thomas told us that he sold steroids to ballplayers on those teams. Now is that one ballplayer? Is that two ballplayers? We don't know."
This may be the case of a roided up musclehead ranting during an arrest that it reportedly took three pairs of handcuffs to restrain him, but it's troubling nonetheless that the two teams he managed to implicate both reside in DC.

Are his claims truthful? Where are his ties to these teams? What players did he provide drugs to? Is he really the "largest anabolic steroids dealer in central Florida", as he proclaimed?

Questions we will no doubt find out the answers to very soon.

Back to the game:

THE GOOD: Adam Dunn. He continues his good work at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk.

THE BAD: Nick Johnson. 0-for-4, with four left on base. Rough night for Nick.

THE UGLY: Jason Bergmann. He got through his first inning unscathed, going 1-2-3. But then he couldn't get an out in his second inning of work. Single, single, homer, hit batter.

NEXT GAME: The Nats close out a three-game series with the Mets. Jordan Zimmermann (2-1, 5.71) faces Johan Santana (6-2, 1.50). Reverse lock, anyone?

NOTES: Ryan Zimmerman's consecutive on-base streak ended at 43 games. Zimm went 0-for-4 with two Ks.

3 comments

  1. Groundskeeper Willie // May 27, 2009 at 1:27 PM  

    Well at least no one watching the team could credibly say that any of the Nationals were using performance enhancing drugs...

  2. Dave Nichols // May 27, 2009 at 2:03 PM  

    at least in the bullpen...

    seriously though, if this guy is credible, not to be melodramatic, but it could kill this franchise.

  3. Deacon Drake // May 27, 2009 at 3:48 PM  

    I don't know... I was always suspicious of Bowden's Reds for juicing (amongst other teams). It would not surprise me if he brought that atmosphere to DC to get an edge.