The Washington Times - June 25, 2011, 04:11PM

CHICAGO — The Nationals are still expected to announce that Davey Johnson has agreed to be the team’s new manager a some point soon but that announcement has not come and the Nationals are minutes from the first pitch in Chicago this afternoon.

In the meantime, here are a few notes from the clubhouse:


– Ryan Zimmerman is serving as the team’s designated hitter today, mainly to give him his first “time off” since returning from the disabled list on June 14. Zimmerman has been working to perfect new throwing mechanics and he’s been doing a large amount of early work on those mechanics each day. Interim manager John McLaren felt the time was right to give him a break from fielding duties but still keep his bat in the lineup.

“He’s been playing a lot and working hard with (infield coordinator) Jeff Garber,” McLaren said. “He’s been throwing a whole lot. I want to give him a break. He’s coming back from injury and I don’t want to overdo it so I’m just giving him a chance to catch his breath and he can help us out DH-ing.”

– Nationals closer Drew Storen is expected to miss Monday’s game in Anaheim due to the death of his grandmother. Storen plans to fly home to Indiana for the funeral Monday and, hopefully, return to the team in Anaheim for Tuesday’s game.

– Players and coaches alike were still shaking their heads about Friday night’s 14-inning slugfest with the White Sox where the Nationals became the first team since 1969 to blow three saves and still win the game. The Nationals used every reliever in their bullpen during the 4:58 marathon and were just thankful today that it wasn’t a National League game and there was no need to continuously pinch hit for the pitcher.

“I couldn’t wait for the game to start,” McLaren said, referring to all the distractions going on around the Nationals outside the field. “But every single night with us there’s a major decision. We find ways to get it done but there’s not any easy decisions. Jim went through this night after night. If that would have been a National League game last night, I don’t know.”

“I didn’t sleep last night a whole lot just thinking about if it had been a National League game. We feel good about winning that game.”

As a break, McLaren cancelled batting practice this afternoon.

“Things have been very difficult around here,” McLaren said. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster but the players are focused. I don’t think they meant any disrespect to myself and Jim Riggleman but they know they have a job to do and they’re just doing their jobs.”