Anyone else heard enough about that Phillies pitcher hitting that 19-year-old phenom?
OK, good. We can talk about something else now.
While tonight will mark the first game of many that the Nationals will play without right fielder Jayson Werth, they could very well be getting both Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche back in their lineup in Pittsburgh.
We can be almost certain Zimmerman will come off the disabled list today after missing the last 17 days because of inflammation in his right shoulder. Zimmerman took batting practice twice Sunday, and unless he suffered a setback yesterday during another day of workouts, the third baseman should make his return tonight.
LaRoche is less of a certainty, as his sore oblique might still be an issue.
The easy roster move here would be just to have Werth take Zimmerman’s place on the DL and make the swap straight-up. There’s a chance the team opts to make another move and promotes an extra outfielder with Werth going down, but because Chad Tracy and Steve Lombardozzi can also help out in left, they should have enough options there.
A large part of the reason why the Nats still find themselves owners of one of the best records in baseball at 18-10 despite all the injuries is because of the play of guys like Tracy, Lombardozzi and Rick Ankiel, who all stepped up in a major way during the last homestand.
Those three men combined to hit .367 (22-for-60) with two homers and six RBIs in the six games against the Diamondbacks and Phillies.
When you can get that kind of production from your role players, you’ll have a good shot to stay in ballgames. The Nats have to hope that Roger Bernadina and Xavier Nady can play follow the leader and hold down the fort in left field for the time being, as well.
Meanwhile, Chien-Ming Wang will make a rehab start tomorrow for Triple-A Syracuse. It will be his third rehab outing since suffering a left hamstring injury in spring training.
Wang has gone 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his previous two starts between Single-A Potomac and low Single-A Hagerstown.
This upcoming outing could possibly be Wang’s last before returning to the Nationals, although the team has not announced its plans for the veteran righty just yet.