Rizzo on injuries, Fister’s progress, struggles against Braves

While fans may lament the Nationals’ early-season injury problems, general manager Mike Rizzo thinks having multiple key players on the disabled list gives his team a chance to show the depth it added in the offseason.

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (broken right thumb) today joined outfielders Denard Span (concussion) and Scott Hairston (left oblique strain), pitcher Doug Fister (lat strain) and catcher Wilson Ramos (broken hamate bone) on the DL.

“We feel as good as we can be with the glut of injuries that we have to key players,” Rizzo said before the start of Sunday’s finale of a three-game series in Atlanta. “You talk about the middle-of-the-lineup bats that are out, but we prepared for it this offseason with the acquisition of (Jose) Lobaton, key guys like (Kevin) Frandsen off the bench and Nate McLouth in the outfield. We feel as good as we can.”

The Nationals will get an additional opportunity to give one of their offseason acquisitions a start today: McLouth, who was in the starting lineup, was a late scratch. Manager Matt Williams inserted Frandsen into the lineup in left field and shifted Bryce Harper to center, where McLouth was supposed to play.

Asked about the timing of the Nats’ injury problems, Rizzo said: “Nobody cares. The rest of the league doesn’t care. We’re just trying to work out way through it. That’s the one thing about baseball: The every day-ness of it separates the sport. ... Injuries happen, you have to prepare for them.”

* Rizzo said Fister would throw another bullpen tomorrow in Miami, then have his progress re-evaluated at that point.

* Span will perform some physical activities in Miami on Monday and be evaluated at that point, the GM said. Span told reporters in Atlanta that he planned to take batting practice tomorrow.

* The Nationals are 1-4 against the Braves heading into today’s third game of the weekend series, but Rizzo still has confidence in his squad.

“Great games and they’ve come on the winning side of it more often than we’d like,” he said. “But we feel confident against this team, we feel we’re better than this team. We respect them and we respect their organization, but we don’t fear them. We think that we’re the better team and that at the end of the day we’re going to come out on top.”

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