Johnson back in Baltimore (plus rehab updates)

Making his second rehab appearance for Triple-A Syracuse last night, Henry Rodriguez walked two batters but worked a scoreless ninth inning in the Chiefs’ win over Pawtucket.

This comes after Rodriguez delivered a scoreless frame for Syracuse on Tuesday, but tossed a pitch to the backstop. The control issues will need to get worked out at some point before Rodriguez works meaningful, high-leverage innings for the Nationals again. The righty landed on the DL on June 7 with a strained right index finger.

Infielder Mark DeRosa kicked off his rehab assignment yesterday with Single-A Potomac, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout. DeRosa, who is working back from a left oblique strain, played five innings at third base.

Catcher Carlos Maldonado will join DeRosa at Potomac tonight; Maldonado will begin his rehab assignment tonight as the P-Nats host Winston-Salem. Maldonado has been dealing with a lower back strain.

Meanwhile, tonight will mark the first time in 15 years that Davey Johnson has managed at Camden Yards. Made aware of that tidbit yesterday, Johnson smiled.

“Time flies,” he said.

Davey Johnson 1970s Reunion tall.jpgWhile the Nats’ manager was back at Camden Yards in 2010 when the Orioles celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1970 World Series team that Johnson was a part of, this will be his first time stepping inside a clubhouse at the stadium in quite some time.

It’s something Johnson seems to be looking forward to.

“I think so highly of Baltimore,” he said. “That’s where I broke in, that’s who I chose to sign with. My kids were all born there. We won championships there. It was like a family there. I came back and managed there. I own several homes there. I like the area, and that’s why I like Washington so much.

“I’ve been booed there before, though. I just love the ballpark. It’s a nice hitters ballpark. And I hope they pack it. I’m used to seeing it pretty packed.”

When the Nats and O’s met back in mid-May, both teams were comfortably above .500. That hasn’t changed going into this three-game set, as the Nationals sit 13 games above .500 and in first place in the National League East, while the Birds have a 39-30 record and sit in second place in the American League East.

Johnson will enjoy being back in a stadium that he likes and competing against a team he has fond memories of. But his goals this weekend are clear.

“I know they beat us two out of three (in Washington),” Johnson said. “I’d like to return that favor.”

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