Courtesy of the Washington Nationals | 7/8/2009, 12:32 p.m.
Zim makes all-star team
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been selected as a reserve in the All-Star Game, which will be played on Tue. July 14 in St. Louis. The all-star selection is the first of Zimmerman's career.
"The fans mean everything to this game, but to get voted in from the people you play against day in and day out, you want them to have that utmost respect for you," Zimmerman said. "I'm going to try to do everything I can. You might not get to do it again. It's a huge honor."
Zimmerman is hitting .293 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs. Earlier this season, Zimmerman had a 30-game hitting streak.
The Washington Nationals added outfielder Nyjer Morgan and left-handed pitcher Sean Burnett to their 25-man roster and optioned outfielder Elijah Dukes to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Morgan and Burnett were acquired on Tuesday from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for outfielder Lastings Milledge and right-handed pitcher Joel Hanrahan.
The 28 year-old Morgan was batting .277 (77-for-278) with six doubles, five triples, two home runs and 27 RBI in 71 games with Pittsburgh prior to the trade. Thanks to a career-high 29 walks and a .351 on-base percentage, Morgan has scored 39 runs this season, or two fewer than his career total in 86 games entering 2009. His five triples rank among NL (tied for second) and MLB (tied for third) leaders. Morgan paced the Pirates in batting (.322, 66-for-205) against right-handed pitchers in 2009.
Morgan is blessed with the brand of speed that the Nationals were lacking both on the basepaths and in the outfield. Morgan currently ranks fifth in the National League with 18 stolen bases, and his eight swipes in June are just one less than the nine registered by Washington in the month. Morgan played primarily left field for the Pirates. He currently leads all MLB left fielders in total chances per 9.0 innings and range factor per game.
Morgan's patience (3.9 pitches seen per plate appearance) and batting eye (career-best walk ratio of one base on balls per 11.1 plate appearances) have both played a role in his breakout 2009 season.
Burnett, 26, was 1-2 with six holds, one save and a 3.06 ERA (11 ER/32.1 IP) in a team-leading 38 appearances for Pittsburgh at the time of the trade. A two-time (2001 and 2002) Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Burnett is 7-8 with 14 holds, one save and a 4.54 ERA (81 ER/160.2 IP) in 109 games (13 starts) spanning three big league seasons with Pittsburgh. Burnett sports a .200 (22-for-110) batting average against in 2009, and has been nearly equally effective against left-handed batters (.189, 10-for-53, four walks) as those that hit from the right side (.211, 12-for-57, one home run). Burnett shifted exclusively to relief in 2008 and in 96 appearances since, has neutralized opposing left-handed batters with a stingy .178 (23-for-129) batting average against.
The Pirates' No. 1 selection (19th overall) in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, Burnett is currently tied for seventh in the National League having allowed only four of 28 inherited baserunners to score. His .345 slugging percentage against is .067 better than the NL average of .412.
Dukes, 25, batted .244 (47-for-193) with 13 doubles, one triple, six home runs and 30 RBI in 57 games with the Nationals.