Jason Michaels

Washington Nationals sign Jason Michaels

The Washington Nationals have signed outfielder Jason Michaels as a player and hitting coach for the team's minor league system, according to William Ladson of MLB.com.

Michaels is likely looking for an opportunity to transition from playing professionally to coaching, and his contract with the Nationals should allow him to begin that switch. Presumably he will help coach his teammates while he continues playing until he takes on a more permanent coaching role.

Michaels spent the 2012 season with the Nationals' Triple-A affiliate. Totaling 113 plate appearances in 35 games, the 36-year-old hit .202/.265/.288 with three doubles and two home runs.

Michael last appeared in the majors in 2011 as a member of the Houston Astros. That season he hit .199/.256/.295 with nine doubles and two home runs over 169 plate appearances.

Prior to his disappointing 2011 campaign, Michaels had been a relatively productive reserve player for the Astros. He hit .246/.315/.452 as a backup outfielder and pinch hitter from 2009-10.

Michaels only totaled north of 500 plate appearances in a season once over his 11 years in the majors. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and did well after debuting with them in 2001, hitting .292/.382/.444 from 2002-05.

Michaels played in the majors as a member of the Phillies, Astros, Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates. He owns a career batting line of .263/.335/.407.

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Nationals officially bring Michaels back into fold on minor league deal

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When the Washington Nationals decided to reassign outfielder Jason Michaels to minor league camp last Thursday, manager Davey Johnson called it the "hardest" cut he had to make that day.

The Nationals liked what Michaels brought as a veteran presence in their clubhouse and the experience he could impart, particularly to Bryce Harper, whose locker his was conveniently located next to.

But as far as an on-field fit, Michaels was beat out by Brett Carroll and late-entrant Xavier Nady for an outfield/bench spot. By the end of the day Thursday, the Nationals had announced they'd released Michaels, making him a free agent who could sign with any team.

Monday morning, he officially chose them to be that team -- even if it meant going to Triple-A a month before his 36th birthday.

"I have a great affection for Jason," said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, the day after the team had released him. "He played great here, he was an outstanding teammate. It was no coincidence he was lockered next to Harper. He just wasn't a fit at this time but I'd love to have him in the organization. I think he'll help us or somebody in the big leagues very soon."

Johnson joins a crowded outfield at Triple-A. Bryce Harper will get most of the reps in center field, sharing time with Corey Brown. Chris Curran and Jesus Valdez are also already on the outfield roster for Syracuse. The Nationals look poised to open the season with Jayson Werth, Roger Bernadina, Carroll, Nady and Mark DeRosa as their primary outfield options with Michael Morse likely to open the year on the disabled list and Rick Ankiel possibly starting there as well. 

Michaels hit .220 with one homer and one double during his time in major league camp with the Nationals. He also dropped two routine fly balls in left field. 

Johnson said on Saturday that he expected Michaels to return to the organization, this move makes that expectation complete. 

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Jason Michaels happy to be with Chiefs

Viera, Fla. – When an 11-year major-league veteran such as outfielder Jason Michaels finds himself in Triple-A, he’s usually not happy.

But Michaels, who was released by the Washington Nationals earlier this week, but signed a minor-league contract to play in Syracuse, genuinely appears happy to have a job.

“I still love the game, that’s No. 1,’’ Michaels said during his first day with the Chiefs. “No. 2 , I still feel like I can contribute in some way. I just need to keep playing and keep my at-bats up.’’

Michaels, 35, has played in the big leagues with Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Houston, He spent the last three seasons with the Astros. When Michaels played for the Pirates in 2008, first-year Chiefs manager Tony Beasley was the Pirates’ third base coach.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said cutting Michaels was one of the more difficult decisions of the spring.

“I really like him,’’ Johnson said. “He’s a major-league player. He just wasn’t a good fit for us right now.’’

Johnson expressed hope that Michaels would go to Triple-A, which eventually happened.

Michaels said he might even be inspired playing in Syracuse with top prospects such as outfielder Bryce Harper and first baseman Tyler Moore.
“We’ll win some games down here and have some fun,’’ Michaels said. “That’s what I like to do, have fun.

“It looks like we’ll have a good competitive team,’’ Michaels added “I really do look forward to it.’’

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Jason Michaels won't make Nationals' roster

Jason Michaels told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he won't make the Nationals' Opening Day roster.

Michaels, a non-roster invitee, is batting just .220 (9-for-41) with one home run and seven RBI this spring. The 35-year-old outfielder has expressed a willingness to open the season with Triple-A Syracuse.

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Jason Michaels hoping for bench role

Nationals outfielder Jason Michaels told MLB.com on Friday that he is hoping to catch on as a bench player with the club this spring. He signed a minor-league deal with Washington in the offseason after batting .199 with two homers and 10 RBI in 89 games for the Astros a year ago. 'I still feel I have a lot to improve on. Everything,' Michaels said. 'The main thing is to try to have a good at-bat, trying to swing at strikes. A walk is just as good as a hit, just get on base. I'm always trying to improve. As a player you always have to think that way. You can't be complacent or satisfied.'

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Jason Michaels Could Make Nationals' Roster

Of the Washington Nationals outfielders in camp on non-roster invites, pay attention to veteran Jason Michaels and former perennial prospect Xavier Paul. At 35, MIchaels is a pro's pro who hits from the right side, comfortable in a backup role and able to play all three outfield position. Paul will be 26 later this month, boasts speed and versatility, and is still waiting for his power to develop. He's flamed out with the Dodgers and Pirates, but a new club gives him new hope.

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