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NATIONALS WATCH

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.

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Werth cleans up, Nix third: today's lineup

Perhaps in an effort to ignite his offense any way he can, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has put together a completely new lineup for the Nationals 1:10 p.m. game with the Mets today. Jayson Werth will hit cleanup for the first time this season -- and just the eighth start in that spot in his career. In seven previous starts (nine previous games) as the cleanup hitter, Werth is 7-for-29 (.241) with a .313 on-base percentage and .517 slugging percentage. He's hit two homers, driven in three runs and walked three times.

The Nationals offensive struggles by the numbers

It's tough not to belabor the Nationals plight offensively this season. As much as there are facts to support the notion that they are indeed working their way out of the prolonged slump that has plagued them as a team since the season began (for example that they've scored four or more runs in seven of their last 10 games), the evidence to support the contrary is too substantial to overlook.

Rizzo elaborates on Harper, his progress and his possible promotion

Earlier today, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a radio interview quite bluntly that Bryce Harper would not be a member of the Nationals major league team during the 2011 season. He elaborated on those comments this afternoon, adding what he'd like to see from Harper and when a possible promotion to at least Single-A Potomac may be in his future:

Rizzo on Harper in big leagues this year: "It's not going to happen."

In his regularly scheduled interview with ESPN 980 this morning, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was asked quite bluntly about his plans for Bryce Harper and the question on everyone's minds: Will he be in the big leagues this year? In perhaps his most definitive statement on the topic, Rizzo shot down the idea. Asked if he'd ruled out Harper getting a promotion to the big leagues even after Sept. 1, he said "Yes, I have."

The Nationals vs. today's starter: LHP Jon Niese

The Nationals and Mets were given a rare in-season opportunity to shuffle their pitching rotations when both teams were rained out on Tuesday. As the two teams battle to stay out of the Nationals League East basement -- and the Nationals once again inch ever closer to a .500 record -- they'll send a pair of left-handers to open a quick two game series at Citi Field tonight: Tom Gorzelanny and Jon Niese.

The Nationals, and others remember Harmon Killebrew

Like all of baseball, the Nationals mourn the passing of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 74 after a courageous battle with esophageal cancer. Killebrew, who played for the Washington Senators at the start of his career, was a charter member of the Nationals Ring of Honor. Nationals principal owner Theodore N. Lerner released this statement today:

Today's Nationals-Marlins lineups

There's a 70 percent chance of severe thunderstorms today, according to the forecast from Weather.gov. But the tarp is off the field at Nationals Park and blue sky is peeking between the clouds. We'll see if that holds on long enough to get a game in.