The latest on Paul Lo Duca’s knee surgery is that he is going to be out 4-6 weeks, and back in time for opening day. Of course, without the benefit of any non-prescription medicine, that could be longer. Actually, he probably won’t be hurt too much by this setback, he is a veteran player who starts off strong at the beginning of the season. Hey, maybe this will push his annual second-half statistical skid to late August or even September. In fact, with most players of his age, you wouldn’t mind them sitting out a couple of early games. This could be a blessing in disguise. With Lo Duca unable to play, Flores will get much more time in spring training. He’ll get a great deal of good game time experience, even if it is in the grapefruit league.

The other side is that we still don’t know what sort of punishment, if any, Lo Duca will receive for his love letters. But if he get suspended say, 2 weeks, and basically shows up at the end of April without having gone through spring training, without having played since September, the Nats may need an additional backstop. On top of that, one presumes that Lo Duca wasn’t brought in because of his power bat, or his friendship with Lastings Milledge, but because of his ability to handle a pitching staff. It isn’t much of an extrapolation to believe that the powers-that-be in the Nats organization think he can help groom a young inexperienced pitching staff. Well that’s gone for almost all of spring training now – while he will most likely be present, that can’t substitute for in-game experience working with the pitchers. All in all, the Lo Duca era in Washington has started off about as poorly as it could.

Of course, Damien Miller is still out there (and maybe Lieberthal could unretire)…

By Charlie