LOS ANGELES — Laynce Nix was out of the Nationals starting lineup for the fourth time in the last five games Sunday morning as he continues to deal with soreness in his right Achilles that acts up without warning and on it’s own timetable.
The issue, while still not one that Nix feels would put him on the disabled list or require anything other than the maintenance they’re doing with it now, is certainly becoming frustrating for the left fielder who is putting together one of his finest major league seasons after making the team as a minor league free agent this spring.
Nix has played in seven of the Nationals eight games since the All-Star break, coming off the bench in three of the last four, but he’s kind of at the mercy of his Achilles as to when he feels well enough to be in the starting lineup. If he gets a full day off Sunday, he’d have more than 48 hours to rest it before the Nationals play another game on Tuesday.
“It’s pretty sore,” Nix said. “Sometimes in the cooler air, it acts up a little more. It was a little sore last night.
“It’s really frustrating. I want to get going, I want to be on the field… But it’s kind of ruling right now.”
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Saturday that with Jerry Hairston Jr. back the Nationals have the luxury of using something of a platoon in left field anyway with Nix being left-handed and Hairston right-handed. Sunday, Roger Bernadina got the start in left with Rick Ankiel, who’s been on a tear since returning from the disabled list at the beginning of the month, playing center.
Provided he feels good, Nix said he doesn’t anticipate needing extra rest just as a precaution for the Achilles.
“If it’s not bothering me, I don’t need the day off,” he said. “But if it is, then it makes sense to do it with the extra time (before an off day) because that’s a luxury.”
– It was a relatively quiet morning in the Nationals clubhouse on Sunday but one item of note is that left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, who admittedly did not pitch well Saturday night, was out in the outfield working on things with pitching coach Steve McCatty.
It’s relatively uncommon for pitchers to throw on the day after their start but Gorzelanny threw only 66 pitches in three innings Saturday night and left his previous start after only two innings as well so it’s not like his arm has been overly taxed as of late. Also, many pitchers don’t like to wait too long after their start if they feel like they weren’t able to get a feel for certain things and Gorzelanny said as much Saturday night after the game.