The Washington Times - May 19, 2013, 01:03PM

SAN DIEGO — The Washington Nationals will send right-hander Dan Haren to the mound on Sunday as he looks to continue a string of strong starts and the Nationals look to take the four-game series from the San Diego Padres. 

Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond are out of the Nationals’ lineup for the finale with Harper taking a second day, as he said he might, to rest his “barking” left knee. Desmond is getting a planned day off — his first of the season.


That leaves the Nationals’ lineup devoid of two of their best hitters against big Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner. Cashner, who was the main piece of the trade that sent Anthony Rizzo to Chicago in January for 2012, throws a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a slider and a changeup. His four-seamer averages 95 mph.

With Desmond out, Danny Espinosa gets his first start of the season back at his “natural” position at shortstop. It may be a stretch, but perhaps the switch will jumpstart Espinosa some. He loves playing shortstop and with the slump he’s in, it couldn’t hurt to give him a fresh vantage point. 

Here are the full lineups:


Denard Span CF
Steve Lombardozzi 2B 
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Tyler Moore LF
Roger Bernadina RF
Danny Espinosa SS
Kurt Suzuki C
Dan Haren P


 Everth Cabrera SS
Will Venable CF
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Quentin LF
Yonder Alonso 1B
Jedd Gyorko 2B
Kyle Blanks RF
Nick Hundley C
Andrew Cashner P