Rain stops, tarp's off

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Good news: The rain has ceased for now, the tarp’s off the infield and it looks like they’re going to attempt to play tonight. It’s certainly both teams’ preference to get this game in and not be forced to play a doubleheader on a getaway day tomorrow.

Some actual baseball news to report, well, sort of. Joe Beimel, who already had his rehab appearance at Potomac yesterday postponed by rain, also had his planned appearance today at Harrisburg postponed by rain. So the left-hander (out since April 2o with a hip injury) instead threw 25 pitches in the bullpen here at Nationals Park to a guy standing in the box with a bat but not swinging (bullpen catcher Nilson Robledo, a fearsome sight if ever there was one).

It wasn’t an ideal scenario for Beimel, who will have pitched only one inning in an actual game before coming off the DL Wednesday, but he’s not overly concerned about that.

“If it was something that happened with my arm, I would need to pitch in a game,” he said. “But I’ve ben throwing the whole time. I haven’t missed a considerable amount of time of throwing. And everything feels good. It’s like riding a bike. I’m back out there feeling comfortable, and that’s all that matters.”

Other quick hits…

— Steven Shell has signed a minor-league contract with the Seattle Mariners. Shell was designated for assignment as part of the Nats’ bullpen purge, cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent. Based on the way it appeared the Washington front office felt about him, the right-hander realized he was better off going elsewhere.

— Ryan Zimmerman attempts to extend his hitting streak to 22 games tonight. You may be interested to know that the last Washington-based player to hit in 20 straight games was Mickey Vernon in 1953. The all-time record hit streak for a Washington player? The legendary Heinie Manush, who hit in 33 straight during the glorious, pennant-winning summer of 1933.

— Washington Wizards swingman Caron Butler will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before tomorrow’s game. Butler has done this before, in 2007, but he struggled to get the ball to reach the plate. He’s hoping for a better result this time.

— And finally, please note that tomorrow’s 12:35 p.m. game will now be televised by MASN, not MASN2 as originally planned. So be sure to tune to the mothership for that one.

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Mark Zuckerman

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