Today is Photo Day at Nationals Park, which allows a group of fans to line the warning track all the way around the field and shake hands and pose for pictures with Nats players.
What a perfect day for both players and fans to be standing outside for a lengthy period of time.
Temperatures of 103 degrees with a heat index of close to 110 degrees? Just lovely.
Bryce Harper and Ryan Mattheus came prepared to help the fans keep cool, as they brought a bag of freeze pops and tossed them out to those waiting for pictures. Harper seemed to be loving the experience.
Manager Davey Johnson was the last member of the Nationals still on the field, as he shook hands with, and signed for, nearly every fan who came out.
Prior to Photo Day, Johnson passed along an update on Chad Tracy, whose rehab assignment hit a little bit of a snag yesterday. Tracy suffered some discomfort in his surgically repaired groin region yesterday while getting out of the box during a game with Single-A Potomac, and as a result, he won't play for the P-Nats today.
The Nationals hope Tracy just needs some treatment and a day off and that he'll then be ready to return to action tomorrow. They had initially targeted the first game back after the All-Star break as the time Tracy could rejoin the Nats.
"I kind of was expecting (some discomfort)," Johnson said. "That was a pretty major injury. Scar tissue, the body tends to over-heal, probably broke a little of that. Hopefully a day off, if it is just some adhesions breaking loose, hopefully he'll be fine. But we'll know more after today."
Storen started for Potomac two days ago, working just the first inning, but he'll come out of the bullpen today.
The Nationals still plan on having Storen throw four outings with Potomac, but they hope these next three force the righty to throw more than just the eight pitches he needed to get through his inning Wednesday night.
Barring a setback, Storen's last rehab outing will be July 11. It's possible the Nats adjust his schedule so that he pitches on back-to-back days before returning to the majors, but that's not a hurdle Johnson specifically needs to see Storen clear.
"It's all about arm endurance and how it bounces back," Johnson said. "Because first time he comes up here and pitches, I wouldn't back-to-back him. Ergo, I wouldn't close him."
Meanwhile, Chien-Ming Wang threw a bullpen session today, just four days after going on the DL with a right hip strain. He'll fly home to Taiwan over the break, but the Nats hope that the veteran righty can go on a rehab assignment when he returns.