Despite nagging oblique, Desmond unlikely to land on disabled list

The Nationals will continue to take things day-to-day with Ian Desmond, who is out of the lineup today because of a strained oblique.

Manager Davey Johnson said the disabled list is not currently an option for Desmond, despite the fact that the shortstop has been battling the oblique injury for over a month.

"Don't really wanna go there," Johnson said.

Desmond was out of the starting lineup for five straight days coming into this series, but he started Friday as well as both games of yesterday's doubleheader. During the second game of the twin-bill, Desmond told Johnson the oblique was bothering him, and the manager took Desmond out after seven innings as part of a double-switch.

"He was hurting last night," Johnson said. "I knew before I got here (today), he wasn't playing. But he told the trainer it felt like he got hit by a bat in the side, so obviously it's barking."

Johnson admitted he probably shouldn't have started Desmond both games yesterday. The shortstop, who leads the Nats in home runs with 17 and now is hitting .286 on the season, was on the field for a total of 16 innings yesterday and 25 innings over a 28-hour span dating back to Friday.

"It's probably my fault for even playing him in the second game," Johnson said. "But I like seeing him out there, so I didn't even ask him how he was feeling."

The Nationals' walking wounded also now includes catcher Jesus Flores, who is battling a tight back.

Flores played the first game of yesterday's doubleheader but clearly wasn't himself at the plate or running to first base. The back injury bothers Flores when he's hitting, Johnson said, but the Nats feel he should be able to play through it after getting some time off.

Johnson will lean on backup catcher Sandy Leon today and said he could "go to the whip" with Leon in the coming days if need be.

Even after today's series finale against the Braves, Johnson said the roster will remain as it's currently constructed, with a 13-man pitching staff and 12 position players. That gives Johnson eight guys in the bullpen, which he desperately needs given the amount of work that group has gotten lately.

The Nationals got positive reports on both Jayson Werth and Chad Tracy, who made rehab appearances for Single-A Potomac last night.

Werth (broken wrist) went 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a walk, while Tracy (groin surgery) was 2-for-4.

Johnson said both guys could be back with the Nationals in about a week, meaning they could return during the Nats' next homestand against the Phillies and Marlins.

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