The Washington Times - September 12, 2011, 03:31PM

The Nationals arrived in New York Sunday night one rookie lighter after leaving outfielder Corey Brown behind in Washington. Brown, who pinch hit for Stephen Strasburg in the bottom of the third inning on Sunday, is dealing with an infection in his knee.  The Nationals are worried that it could turn into a staph infection and didn’t want to take that chance while the team was on the road.

Brown appeared to be getting ready to get Smurf-ed up like the rest of the Nationals’ rookies on Sunday afternoon but a source confirmed that he did not make the trip and Nationals manager Davey Johnson elaborated on that decision this afternoon. 


“They’d been treating it before and then right before we were packing our bags, I talked to the orthopedic doctor and he said he’d feel better if we keep him here,” Johnson said, though he was unsure which knee had the issue and how it originally developed. “They felt like it might get better but rather than coming on the road trip and maybe having to see a doctor that hadn’t been following the whole injury, conceivably, instead of getting better it could get worse.”

Brown has not yet played the field as a major leaguer but has gone 0-for-3 as a pinch hitter, striking out twice and lined out to left field in his first major league at-bat. There is no firm timetable for when he will rejoin in the team this week or if he’ll just wait until they return home this weekend.

“I think (Staph) is the worst-case scenario,” Johnson said. “But we’re hopeful it’ll get better and our doctors just want to keep an eye on him… We just kept him there to be on the safe side. Hopefully today or tomorrow he’ll be all right and be able to join the club.”

Brown, as you may recall, was part of the trade that sent Josh Willingham to Oakland and brought he and Henry Rodriguez to Washington this past offseason. His spring training was derailed a bit by an ankle injury and he seemed unable to shake off a slow start for much of the season but really turned things on toward the end of the season with Triple-A. 

The Nationals won’t exactly be left short-handed, though, as they’re already carrying 36 active players right now, with Ryan Mattheus set to become No. 37 when he is activated from the disabled list in the coming days.

They’ll open a three-game set with the New York Mets tonight at Citi Field, just two games back in the loss column from the Mets and with a battle for third place in the National League East on the line.

Ross Detwiler will get the start for the Nationals, four days after he was scheduled to start on Thursday when their game with the Dodgers was rainedout. R.A. Dickey will go for the Mets. Johnson is resting both Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa to start, at least, against Dickey, allowing them both to take some time off against a tough knuckleballer as well as give Lombardozzi and Bixler extended playing time at their natural positions.

Here are the lineups:


Brian Bixler SS
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse 1B
Jayson Werth CF
Rick Ankiel RF
Chris Marrero 1B
Wilson Ramos C
Ross Detwiler P 


Jose Reyes SS
Justin Turner 2B
Lucas Duda RF
David Wright 3B
Angel Pagan CF
Jason Bay LF
Nick Evans 1B
Mike Nickeas C
R.A. Dickey P