Will the Nationals sign right-hander Stephen Strasburg? Why isn't Josh Bard on the disabled list? Those are two of the many questions Nationals fans have been asking. Here some answers to their queries.
What's the deal with Strasburg? Will the Nationals sign him? -- Jeff G., Esperance, N.Y.
I know the Nationals are trying hard to sign him. I think it will go down to the wire before we find out anything. That is always the case when a player is advised by Scott Boras. I'm still confident that acting general manager Mike Rizzo will get a deal done with Strasburg. The club has until midnight ET on Aug. 17 to sign him.
How do you think Adam Dunn is doing at first base right now? -- Yu-Hung S., Chiayi, Taiwan
It appears that he has problems backhanding ground balls. Other than that, I think he has done an OK job at the position. By no means is he a Gold Glove first baseman. During the offseason, the hope is that he works on being an even better first baseman.
The Nationals have been a totally different team after the All-Star break. How has Jim Riggleman changed the attitude and approach of the ballclub? -- Asher K., Birmingham, Ala.
I think it started to change after they made four errors in a July 24 loss to the Padres. Riggleman was upset and lectured his players after that game. From that point on, the Nationals played better baseball, winning 12 of their next 16 games. I've always believed that a little old-school yelling can't hurt once in a while.
I was surprised by your answer that sticking with Austin Kearns too long was former manager Manny Acta's worst move, even though I totally agree. Weren't you the first to defend him all the time, saying that he was a superstar and could hit 40 homers? -- Alex C., Montreal
I never said Kearns was a superstar and could hit 40 homers. I often complimented Kearns for his work ethic. Last year, for example, it always stuck out because there were players on that team who didn't give it their all.
How much longer do the Nationals have Nyjer Morgan under contract? I think he's the answer in center field and in the leadoff spot. He could contribute for many years in D.C. -- Chris M., Springfield, Va.
Morgan is under the Nationals' control for several more years. He is not arbitration-eligible for another two years and they have three years of arbitration.
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I have a great admiration for Bard for playing in such pain. But why do the Nats keep playing him when he is obviously injured? -- Roy H., Fredericksburg, Va.
This one is on Bard. He wants to play. He keeps playing because he is a very good at handling a young pitching staff.
I think the Nationals have a nice young core of young starting pitchers. If the Nats could add a veteran through free agency this offseason, who would be a good fit? -- Bryan A., Fairfield, Conn.
The person who comes to mind is John Smoltz, who was recently designated for assignment by the Red Sox. I think he could teach not only the starters, but the relievers as well. The question is, does Smoltz have anything left in the tank? I spoke to a member of the Nationals recently and he thought Smoltz may not have anything left.
I was wondering the status of catcher Jesus Flores. How is he doing in his rehab? -- Roy H., Charleston, S.C.
Flores is still recovering from his right shoulder injury and I don't expect him to be back this season. He is hoping to play winter ball and be ready for the 2010 season.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.