The Washington Times - July 17, 2012, 06:53PM

Ian Desmond was not in the lineup on Tuesday — the third straight game the Washington Nationals’ shortstop has missed with a left oblique strain. The Nationals still have no intention of putting Desmond, their most consistent offensive player and a huge defensive presence, on the disabled list.

But figuring how to help him manage the injury and play through it will be a challenge.

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With no lineup posted in the Nationals’ clubhouse before 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, Nationals manager Davey Johnson went looking for Desmond to find out if he’d be ready to play in the 7:05 p.m. game against the Mets. Desmond told him he might be able to, but the manager decided to err on the side of caution.

“He said ‘This is something I think is just going to be lingering all year long,’” Johnson said of the conversation. “I know he wanted to go see how much he could swing and see how it felt but I said ‘Well I’m just going to stay off you again.’”

Johnson went into great detail about just how much pain the issue was causing Desmond in Florida this past weekend. Desmond, who’s been receiving extensive treatment on the area, was grimacing after swings and, at the end of the game on Saturday, was forced to bunt because he felt it’d cause him too much pain to swing. 

“I’m not going to take that chance,” Johnson said. “He feels like this is something that’s going to be lingering. He had it like two months before the All-Star break and he was managing to play through it. He had four days off at the All-Star break and came back and it was worse. We’re being real aggressive with it, and something he’s going to have to try to play with.”

“The oblique is in in 2012 I guess,” Johnson added, including the recent soreness in the oblique of catcher Jhonatan Solano, thought Johnson said he believes that to be minor and Solano could play as soon as Wednesday. “Everybody seems to have one. Seems like half the club has got it. It’s definitely something that, as active as he is I hope we get by the point where he could pull it worse.”

The issue mostly affects Desmond, who is hitting .287 with 17 homers and 43 extra-base hits, when he’s swinging. The Nationals will continue to monitor him each day.

For now, Danny Espinosa remained at shortstop and Steve Lombardozzi remained at second base as the Nationals open a three-game set with the New York Mets. 

Here are the full lineups for Ross Detwiler’s first post-break start:

Nationals

Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Tyler Moore LF
Danny Espinosa SS
Jesus Flores C
Ross Detwiler P

Mets

Ruben Tejada SS
Ronny Cedeno 2B
David Wright 3B
Scott Hairston RF
Jason Bay LF
Ike Davis 1B
Andres Torres CF
Mike Nickeas C
Jon Niese P