The Nationals play their penultimate home game of the year today at 1:05, and they will also start Ivan Rodriguez at catcher, for the final time this year at Nationals Park and presumably for the final time in a home uniform at the stadium.
Manager Davey Johnson plans to give Rodriguez one more start, in the season finale next Wednesday at Sun Life Stadium. It will be the last game the Marlins play at the ballpark, and Rodriguez, who helped the team win a World Series in 2003, will be part of the festivities before he catches Stephen Strasburg.
In addition to that, Johnson wanted Rodriguez to have one more chance to play at home.
“He’s a Hall of Famer, and a great player,” Johnson said. “I told him to pick his day, and he picked today.”
Rodriguez has been limited to 42 games this season, missing almost all of the second half with a strained right oblique. When he pinch hit at Nationals Park on Friday night, making just his second appearance at home since getting injured on July 6, he was greeted with a standing ovation.
“He’s been a mentor for our young catchers,” Johnson said. “This is one of the most solid catching corps in baseball, top to bottom, in the organization. He understood the situation when I explained it to him - Flo (Jesus Flores) has been injured for two years, and even though you’re going to be healthy when you come back, I’d like to give this youngster a chance. He understood that, and was supportive of that. It’s just refreshing. ... This is the least that I could do.”
* While Rodriguez will play today, Brad Peacock probably won’t appear again this season for the Nationals. He went 2-0 in a pair of starts this month, and has a 0.75 ERA since he was called up at the beginning of the month.
But the Nationals don’t have room for him in their rotation at the moment, and Johnson doesn’t plan to use Peacock out of the bullpen in the final five games. “He’s done everything I’ve asked of him,” Johnson said. “He’s impressed everybody, not only in our organization but in baseball. As far as I’m concerned, his year is done.”
If Peacock is indeed done, he’d end the year with 158 2/3 innings between the majors and minors - about what Jordan Zimmermann got in his first full season in the majors.