The Washington Times - September 10, 2012, 03:41PM

NEW YORK — After the left side of Davey Johnson’s infield got the day off in the Nationals’ series finale against the Marlins, shortstop Ian Desmond and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman returned to the lineup as the Nationals opened a three-game set against the New York Mets Monday afternoon.

Zimmerman’s day off was planned and Desmond’s was asked for as the shortstop has continued to try to manage his hamstring strain and work toward getting fully healthy for the team’s stretch run. Both returned Monday.

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In that regard, this series with the Mets is actually quite important as the Nationals do not want to lose any ground heading into this weekend’s series in Atlanta. The Braves play in Milwaukee before they meet Washington at Turner Field on Friday.

Here are the full lineups as Gio Gonzalez takes on Colin McHugh:

Nationals:

Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Gio Gonzalez P 

Mets:

Ruben Tejada SS
Ronny Cedeno 2B
David Wright 3B
Scott Hairston RF
Ike Davis 1B
Kelly Shoppach C
Jason Bay LF
Andres Torres CF
Colin McHugh P