The Washington Times - April 15, 2009, 04:58PM

If you’re going to call off a game because of rain, call it off early. That’s what the Nats just did. More than 2 1/2 hours before scheduled first pitch, they postponed tonight’s game against the Phillies. Obviously, it’s going to rain all night.

No makeup date has been announced yet. They won’t play a day-night doubleheader tomorrow, but the Phillies are back in town twice more this season (May 15-17, Sept. 8-10) so they could play two one of those days or else find a common off-day to make it up.

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Also, Jackie Robinson Day will have to be postponed. The club hadn’t decided yet whether to just hold it tomorrow or wait til another day (tomorrow is already Military Appreciation Night) but it will happen at some point (with all players wearing No. 42 in honor of Robinson).

Other news from what turned into the Nats’ second straight off-day…

— Roger Bernadina was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse, taking the roster spot vacated by Lastings Milledge’s demotion yesterday. The outfielder could get some playing time in center field up here if Elijah Dukes is given a day off. Also, Leonard Davis was outrighted to Class AA Harrisburg, moving him off the 40-man roster and thus opening a spot to promote another minor-leaguer soon (gotta figure that will be Jordan Zimmermann).

— Speaking of J-Zimm, his start yesterday at Syracuse was rained out, but the Nats made sure he got his work in. Zimmermann threw a six-inning simulated game, threw 90 pitches and as Manny Acta said: “He’s all set.” Zimmermann was due to make his big-league debut Sunday against the Marlins, but that will change now because…

— The Nats are bumping all their starters back a day because of tonight’s rainout. So Shairon Martis will now start tomorrow against the Phillies, then John Lannan, Scott Olsen and Daniel Cabrera over the weekend against the Marlins. Which means Zimmermann now makes his debut Monday night against the Braves.

— Cristian Guzman’s hamstring has improved considerably, and the shortstop believes he needs only two more days to be ready to play again. Ronnie Belliard was well enough today to play if needed, so the Nats didn’t need to go and get another infielder. Anderson Hernandez was going to start at second base tonight, with Alberto Gonzalez at short and Belliard backing up.

— Speaking of lineups, Acta’s planned starting nine was going to be: 1. Hernandez (2B), 2. Johnson (1B), 3. Zimmerman (3B), 4. Dunn (LF), 5, Dukes (CF), 6. Kearns (RF), 7. Flores (C), 8. Gonzalez (SS), 9. Martis (P). Acta likes the idea of Johnson hitting second now, especially with the other big bats filling out the middle of the order. Once Guzman is healthy, he’ll take over leadoff duties. Acta said he wouldn’t consider Dukes as a leadoff option because he needs him to drive in runs.

— Finally, here is the ticket exchange policy for tonight’s rainout, straight from the Nats’ press release:

“Ticket holders for tonight’s postponed contest should retain their ticket and parking passes until notified regarding the rescheduling of this game. Season ticket holders can use tonight’s tickets for the rescheduled game.

“Those with individual game tickets (non-season tickets) may use their tickets for tonight’s game for the rescheduled game or exchange their tickets for the same priced seat at any future 2009 Nationals home game, excluding the three-game series against the Boston Red Sox on June 23, 24 and 25. All rain check exchanges are subject to availability.

“Individual-game ticket holders — if they so choose — can exchange their tickets at any Nationals Park box office. Nationals Park box office hours are Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.”