Lineup hits four homers in breakout showing
It was a tough day to be a Double-A pitcher in the big leagues.
After a one-hour, 20-minute rain delay pushed the scheduled 7:05 p.m. start time back, the Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles turned to a pair of rookie starters with five innings of major-league experience between them. The results weren't unexpected.
Orioles rookie Kevin Gausman, who pitched in Bowie a week ago, gave up home runs to Adam LaRoche, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina. That more than offset the two homers allowed by Nats rookie starter Nathan Karns in his big-league debut. Washington earned a 9-3 victory to split the brief two-game series at Nationals Park. The two teams will meet again in Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday.
LaRoche struck first with a three-run homer to right-center field in the bottom of the first inning. Baltimore tied the game with an RBI double by Matt Wieters in the second and solo homers from Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy in the fourth.
But Washington regained the lead immediately with a four-run fourth inning. Moore hit a two-run homer to left and Bernadina followed with a solo shot. Denard Span's RBI double made it 7-3. LaRoche hit his second homer in 8th inning. Karns pitched 41Ú3 innings with three runs allowed on five hits and three strikeouts.
Pitchers remember surgeon Yocum, 65
Dr. Lewis Yocum was not a player or a coach. He didn't draft amateur athletes or represent them in contract negotiations.
But as one of the chosen few to take players' careers into his own hands, Yocum had an outsized impact on the sport. Few orthopedic surgeons were more respected. He performed elbow ligament replacement and shoulder surgeries on hundreds of athletes over his distinguished career. Yocum died at 65 over the weekend from liver cancer, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"He's a legend. An outstanding talent," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said before the game. "Doctors are such a big part of this. ... They're just as much a part of the game as the players."
That's because they help get them back on the field healthy. Yocum was tabbed to perform Tommy John surgery on two of Washington's five starting pitchers -- Stephen Strasburg in 2010 and Jordan Zimmermann in 2009. He evaluated the left shoulder injury sustained by second baseman Danny Espinosa last summer that was eventually diagnosed as a small rotator cuff tear and advised the Nats that surgery wasn't necessary. Yocum also performed the Tommy John surgery for Washington's 2012 first-round draft pick Lucas Giolito.
"[Yocum] saved my career," Zimmermann told reporters on Tuesday. "I wouldn't be here without him."
Yocum was based in Los Angeles and part of the renowned Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Dr. Frank Jobe invented Tommy John surgery, the now-ubiquitous procedure that repairs torn elbow ligaments. Robert Kerlan founded the center with Jobe in 1967 and they quickly forged a national reputation.
Yocum joined the center in 1973 and became -- along with Dr. James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala. -- the country's preeminent orthopedic surgeon. Yocum became the team physician for the Los Angeles Angels and served in that capacity for 36 years. The team on Tuesday announced his death over the weekend.
"The Kerlans first, then the Jobes. I don't think anybody in baseball has passed through without being in front of Yocum, Kerlan or Jobe, [James] Andrews," Johnson said.
Notes » Johnson started his pregame chat with local reporters Tuesday with what he termed a "MASH report". The injury list has been a long one this season. But second baseman Danny Espinosa (fractured right wrist) was available in an emergency during Monday's game. Johnson is hopeful if there was no further swelling after an afternoon workout that Espinosa could play as soon as Wednesday in Baltimore. ...
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Ross Detwiler is still on track to start Sunday's game in Atlanta. He is on the disabled list retroactive to May 16 because of a strained right oblique. The news wasn't so good on outfielder Bryce Harper, who has an inflamed bursa sac in his left knee. Until that swelling goes down, he's probably not going to play. Johnson hoped to have Harper as the designated hitter in the two games at Baltimore this week, but that now seems unlikely. ...
Outfielder Jayson Werth, out since May 2 with a strained right hamstring, could make a minor-league rehab start as soon as Wednesday. Those plans remain day-to-day, according to general manager Mike Rizzo.