The Washington Times - August 25, 2012, 12:35AM

PHILADELPHIA — Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond was a late scratch Friday night,two days after he hyperextended his right knee in an attempt to break up a double play, and was diagnosed with a mild right hamstring strain.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he did not expect to play Desmond for the team’s remaining two games in Philadelphia this weekend.

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“It was more of a direct thing today,” said Desmond, who said his absence is mostly precautionary and to avoid the issue from developing into something larger. “I just feel it in my hamstring a little. I guess the doctor diagnosed it as a mild strain. I’m sure it’s something I’ve had before and not even known. Just a little bit sore. I think Davey just wanted to be smart and see if we can get better in the next few days and take care of it before it gets any worse.”

Desmond, who missed 25 games with a strained left oblique, just came off the disabled list a week ago. He was running down the first base line Wednesday night when he appeared to stumble and pulled up lame on his way to the bag. He remained in the game and felt afterward that he’d dodged a major bullet.

Friday afternoon, following a team off day, he said he felt fine and went through his usual pre-game routine.

At no point, Desmond said, was the pain great enough that he felt he could not play, but he was honest when asked that he felt some discomfort and Johnson opted to err on the side of caution. 

“I just felt it a little bit,” Desmond said. “I told him I feel it a little bit. It was his decision to say, ‘Hey, let’s back it down and see if we can get it right.’”

The Nationals have two off days in a five-day span so the idea was that they could allow Desmond all five of those days to get past the issue and perhaps return Tuesday when the team opens a two-game set in Miami.