Notes: Bacsik's role keeps changing

Notes: Bacsik's role keeps changing

HOUSTON -- It has been, shall we say, an unusual year for Mike Bacsik.

The Nationals left-hander has been mostly a starter, an occasional reliever and, of course, an instant celebrity on Aug. 7.

That was the night he gave up Barry Bonds' record-breaking 756th career home run in San Francisco. That only made this otherwise good year for Bacsik a little strange.

Bacsik returns to his role as a starter on Wednesday night against the Astros after spending the last week in the bullpen. The shifting roles are no problem for him.

"Not for a guy like me," he said. "I've been around. I've done that before. I know who I am. It might be difficult for a younger guy but I don't mind it.

"I'm pitching in the big leagues more than I ever have. For the first time in my career, I'm pitching a lot. You can't ask for any more than that."

Bacsik, who pitched for the Indians, Mets and Rangers before coming to Washington this season, brings a 5-6 record and 4.61 ERA into Wednesday's game that includes 16 starts.

But none of that made him famous like his 3-2 pitch to Bonds that night at AT&T Park. As the answer to a trivia question, he now frequently gets recognized.

"Yeah, people ask for autographs all the time now," he said. "Before that pitch, nobody asked for my autograph."

They also get a little pushy about the autographs occasionally.

"Some of them ask me to put the date and the place it was hit and all that stuff on the ball," Bacsik said. "I've decided not to do that. It's his record. He can put that stuff on it, but I'm not going to."

Though it was a negative at the time, it might be lucrative for Bacsik in the long run. He is still getting requests for interviews about the pitch, has received offers from Steiner Sports and Mounted Memories and is talking to card companies such as Topps and Upper Deck.

Bacsik says he still hasn't grasped the enormity of the pitch.

"It's something that after the season's over, I'll sit down and think about it," he said. "It was just a bad pitch but it has become something big."

Familiar role: Outfielder Nook Logan has done this before and he's not complaining. But he sometimes wonders how it would be if he weren't in and out of the lineup.

Logan was starting regularly the first couple of weeks of August. Then, Wily Mo Pena arrived in the trade last Friday and Logan's role changed. He's now rotating with Pena, Ryan Church and Austin Kearns in the three outfield spots.

"I've just got to prepare myself like I'm going to play every day," Logan said. "Even when you're not playing, you've got to prepare like you are."

Logan felt he was just starting to show what he could do. He hit .350 (21-for-60) while playing every day through the first 18 days of August.

"I was just getting consistent at bats," Logan said. "I got comfortable the last month or so and my numbers showed it."

Logan isn't unhappy. He figures that's just life in the Majors.

"Ever since I've been in the big leagues, this has happened," he said. "I can't complain. I'm in the big leagues."

Trade completed: The Nationals completed that three-way deal that brought Pena to the team.

The Nationals acquired first baseman/outfielder Chris Carter from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handed pitcher Emiliano Fruto. The Nats then immediately traded Carter to the Red Sox as the player to be named later in the Pena deal.

Fruto was 3-9 with a 5.26 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A Columbus. Carter hit .324 with 18 homers and 84 RBIs with Triple-A Tucson.

Injury update: First baseman Nick Johnson, who is out for the season after he fractured his right leg on Sept. 23 and had surgery to place a rod and a pin in it, had surgery on Tuesday to remove the rod and pin.

Left-handed pitcher Micah Bowie, out with synovitis of the left hip, had a slight setback on Monday while making his fifth rehab start at Columbus. Bowie strained his left groin while going four innings and allowing just one run.

"Obviously that's going to delay his return," manager Manny Acta said. "We'll deal with it when he's ready to go. When he's ready, he'll be up here."

Right-handed pitcher Jason Bergmann, on the DL since July 27 with left hamstring tightness, is getting closer.

"He needs one more [rehab] starts to be 100 percent," Acta said. "He'll be with us soon."

Coming up: The Nationals play the third game of the four-game series at Minute Maid with Bacsik facing the Astros' Woody Williams (7-12, 4.92) at 8:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

Jim Carley is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.