PITTSBURGH — Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson called a team meeting this afternoon. The purpose? To reassure his 18-11 squad that he was behind them “100 percent” and he had no plans to start making rash decisions and changes. Essentially, the message was simple: relax and play your game.
You can read all about the meeting, what Johnson said after it, and why he felt the time was right now to call it on the main sports site.
Before the Nationals and Pirates head to the field for the series finale here in Pittsburgh, here are a few other notes:
– First baseman Chris Marrero, who has been rehabbing a torn left hamstring since the winter, suffered a setback in that rehab, Johnson said Thursday. Marrero, who tore the hamstring playing winter ball last November, was expected to be out until at least the All-Star break but made such positive progress during spring training that he felt he may be ready sooner.
Johnson said Thursday Marrero was dealing with some shoulder issues as well as some hamstring tightness and the Nationals didn’t expect him to be ready to even play in a rehab game for at least another month, maybe two.
“I still think he’s a good solid month or two away before they’re not going to worry about him going out there and stretching and running and re-injuring the hamstring,” Johnson said. “I think the shoulder stuff was probably coming from a lot of hitting, throwing and weight work. I’m not as concerned about some of the reports on his shoulder as I am on his leg.”
Marrero made his major league debut for the Nationals last August and Johnson was figuring him into the team’s major league plans heavily this season, hoping Marrero could serve as a right-handed complement to Adam LaRoche at first base, as well as a bat off the bench. Essentially, the Nationals now have Tyler Moore filling that role.
– Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang threw seven innings for Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday night, making his third rehab start in his return from a strained left hamstring suffered March 15. Wang allowed two runs off eight hits and a walk, striking out one. Wang will now stay with Triple-A for the remainder of his rehab assignment.
“I heard he threw all right,” Johnson said. “He’s not quite where he needs to be. Pat Corrales saw him and said he got some balls up. He left some up there and that’s where he gave up some hits. He had good sink, good curveball. I think he threw 88 pitches, but it was a good outing. So he’s getting close.”
– Utility man Mark DeRosa was progressing from a strained left oblique muscle, albeit slowly, but may have hurt himself further when he aggressively high-fived Bryce Harper Sunday night after Harper stole home.
“He was doing pretty good until a couple days ago,” Johnson said. “Harper stole home and DeRosa rose his arm and he hit him. I don’t know if that set back the rehab or not but I said ‘Why didn’t use your (right) hand?’ He said it was spur of the moment.”
DeRosa had an MRI on the oblique one day after going on the disabled list, as well as a platelet-rich plasma shot in the area, and was expected to be down at least two or three weeks with the injury so the Nationals weren’t counting on him coming back for at least another 10 days or so anyway.