Desmond surge a good sign, even if he still isn't 100 percent

Shortstop Ian Desmond went 0-for-11 in his return from a left oblique strain that forced him to miss 25 games on the disabled list. But in the last two games Desmond has returned to his All-Star form with home runs in his first at-bat.

Desmond smacked a two-run shot off of Braves' starter Tim Hudson in the first inning Monday, capping a four-run inning that gave the Nationals a 4-1 lead. He finished with two hits in the 13-inning marathon.

On Tuesday, with rain pouring down, Desmond connected against Braves' starter Paul Maholm to break the ice and allow the Nationals to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Desmond now has four hits, a double and two homers in the first two games against Atlanta to start the new week.

His 19 homers this season are a franchise record for shortstops. Orlando Cabrera hit 17 homers for the Expos in 2003.

Coming into this season, Desmond hit 22 homers in his first 329 major league games from 2009 to 2011. This season, he now has 19 homers in 94 games.

Desmond said the Mets series was tough and even though he didn't get hits in that weekend series, he still was getting some good swings at the plate.

"Every day I am feeling a little better," Desmond said. "Against the Mets, we ran into three pitchers that were really on. I felt good in those three games. Obviously, I am feeling pretty good now. It is still a work in progress."

Similar to manager Davey Johnson saying we haven't seen all we can see from a pitcher like Stephen Strasburg, you get the feeling that Desmond is still working his way back to 100 percent from the oblique strain. Desmond knows his body and doesn't want to push it.

With Desmond surging at the plate, in an incredibly important series against the Braves, it is certainly a good sign. Power from the lower half of their order is what Johnson has hoped would make the lineup complete, just in time for a big September in D.C.

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