Teahen a nice choice at third if Zimmerman is out for extended time

With the status of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman up in the air, the Nationals have been essentially playing on the penalty kill (using the NHL analogy) for almost a week.

Zimmerman has not played since Saturday, out with right shoulder inflammation. It has to be testing general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson as to what they should do for next week when Arizona and Philadelphia arrive at Nationals Park.

You would expect the team to continue with just 24-man roster through the weekend in Los Angeles, but if the team goes through an offensive drought against the Dodgers over the next three games, will Johnson push for a disabled list designation for Zimmerman and a call-up from Triple-A Syracuse?

Knowing how much Johnson likes to tinker with his lineup, have a good mix of veterans and a wide selection of lefty and righty bats available, you would expect him to ask for the top third base candidate available.

Off to another good start at Syracuse is left-handed-hitting utility man Mark Teahen. Teahen can pretty much play any position, having held the distinction, while with the Kansas City Royals, of being the opening day third baseman in 2005, right fielder in 2006, left fielder in 2007 and second baseman in 2008. Teahen has played a few games at third with Syracuse, and also first base, right field and left field.

Rizzo has spoken glowingly of how excited the franchise was to be able to secure a veteran like Teahen in the offseason, because Teahen could play so many positions and also hit at the major league level.

A career .264 hitter, Teahen has 759 major league hits, with 163 doubles, 26 triples, 67 homers and 332 RBIs in six seasons.

This year, Teahen is hitting .284 with a grand slam and 16 RBIs in 20 games for Syracuse. He has recently played left field and first base for the Chiefs. But he can also be a nice substitute at third base, and hits left-handed, which would give Johnson more roster flexibility.

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