SAN DIEGO — Ian Desmond has been managing the soreness in his left quad since he first felt it act up on May 13. He’s gotten a day here and there and, with an off day coming up on Monday, he got another one Sunday so he can rest things for a full two days.
Questions about the severity of the strain in his quad arose when Desmond appeared to pull up a little in the first inning when coming around to score on Danny Espinosa’s double Saturday night — one night after he was caught stealing and looked to be hampered on his way to second base.
But Desmond said today that while, yes, he’s feeling the quad when running, he lightened up a little Saturday night when coming around because he knew he would score on the double and there was no need to kick it into an extra gear at that point. Friday was simply a case of a bad jump combined with getting caught on a soft spot in the Padres’ infield and never being able to recover.
There was no question, Desmond said, that he’d play on Tuesday when the Nationals return home to open a nine-game, 10-day homestand. The quad only acts up when he’s running and does not affect him in the field or hitting.
– Roger Bernadina was out of the lineup for the second straight day after being scratched just before gametime Saturday night with tightness in his left hamstring.
Bernadina, who turns 27 today, said he felt better but was on his way to get treatment and was planning to hit in the cage. The Nationals did not have on-field batting practice today because of a “Breakfast in the Park” event going on on the field.
– The Nationals opted for the second straight day to both bat Jayson Werth at leadoff and the pitcher in the eighth slot.
Werth was 0-for-4 Saturday night in the leadoff spot and was non-plussed when asked about it after the game.
“I don’t dislike it or feel uncomfortable or anything like that,” he said. “Not a whole lot changes other than your day starts about three minutes earlier.
“We don’t have that protoypical leadoff guy. I think that’s not secret, right? So, whatever. Let’s do it. It doesn’t bother me any. It gets me up there more, whatever, doesn’t really change a whole lot for me, really, especially when you’re missing (Ryan Zimmerman) and (Adam) LaRoche. Our lineup’s a little bit different anyway. I don’t think it’s a bad way to combat losing those guys, but whatever Jim wants to do, I could care less.”
Jordan Zimmermann is the starter for the Nationals on Sunday, he’ll hit eighth with Alex Cora, playing short in Desmond’s place, hits ninth.
– Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez accidentally stubbed his left foot on the couch in the clubhouse Friday night and split his small toe open. He was sitting in the clubhouse this morning with a sock and sneaker on his right foot and a sandal on his left.
When asked if it’d keep him out of the lineup, Rodriguez said “Just tape it up and I’m good to go.”
Speaking of Rodriguez, his son Ivan “Dereck” was a sixth-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the MLB Draft last week but he said he doesn’t expect him to sign until closer to the deadline. Rodriguez and his ex-wife are helping to guide his son through the process, along with agent Scott Boras. Rodriguez did say, however, that he plans to play winter ball with his son in Puerto Rico.
When told that he’d have to stick around a few more years in the big leagues for him to be able to play with him at this level, he didn’t miss a beat. “I can, believe me, I can,” he said.
– If all goes well in Syracuse today for Ryan Zimmerman, he will be activated for Tuesday’s game, right on schedule from the May 3 surgery to repair a torn rectus muscle in his abdomen. Zimmerman is currently 0-for-2 through five innings.
– The Nationals are on the precipice of a new franchise record that highlights just how good their defense has been lately. With two clean innings to open today’s game, the Nationals will top the 1977 Expos record of 97 1/3 straight errorless innings. If they complete the game without an error, it will be their 11th straight clean game — also a new franchise record.