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NATIONALS WATCH

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.

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About Saturday night's sixth inning...

The sixth inning of Saturday night's 5-2 Nationals victory over the Marlins may well have been one of the best defensive innings Washington has played all season, though, it should be known that I'm basing my qualifications for that designation solely on the fact that, in a one-run game, there were not one but two spectacular plays made in the span of four batters.

Bernadina officially recalled, plus today's lineups

The Nationals officially added Roger Bernadina to the 25-man roster this afternoon, calling him back up from Triple-A Syracuse to take the place of injured center fielder Rick Ankiel, who went on the disabled list Friday night with a right wrist sprain, retroactive to May 3. Bernadina was in the lineup in center field and leading off.

The Nationals vs. today's starter: RHP Chris Volstad

Adam LaRoche asked hitting coach Rick Eckstein to check the video for a hole in his bat after his first three at-bats Friday night. He came through to make contact and drive in the game-winning run in the 10th inning. He and the rest of the Nationals will be looking to build on that tonight against Marlins' right-hander Chris Volstad. Here's how they've done against him in the past.

Another look at what the Nationals bullpen pulled off last night

I wrote much of my game story from the Nationals 3-2 extra-innings victory about Tyler Clippard and Jordan Zimmermann and the ridiculous control both showed last night as the Nationals struck out 13 Marlins, 12 by those two pitchers alone. But I wanted to go back and take another look at the importance of what Drew Storen and Sean Burnet -- and to some extent the rest of the bullpen -- did to help the Nationals win that game as well.

Nationals officially place Ankiel on DL, Bernadina expected up

Nationals center fielder Rick Ankiel had an MRI on his ailing right wrist Friday afternoon that came back negative but, ultimately, after four straight days of rest he still didn't feel strong enough to take batting practice and the Nationals were forced to put him on the disabled list Friday night, retroactive to May 3.

Ankiel, Morse see doctor

Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse were both out of the Nationals' lineup again on Friday night but both were also sent to see the doctor here in Florida before coming to Sun Life Stadium.

Eckstein: "We do have to do a better job and that starts with me as the hitting coach."

The Nationals have played exactly 31 games of the 2011 season. To say that they have not yet seen the offensive production they were expecting through those first 31 games would be an understatement. As the Nationals continue to attempt to find a way out of the funk that has plagued almost every member of the lineup, the focus has been on staying positive, keeping their approach consistent and not letting the weight of prolonged hitless streaks affect them mentally. For hitting coach Rick Eckstein, it's been a challenging time. But staying positive is the only mentality he knows.

An honor for Riggleman and today's lineup

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman confirmed some good news this morning in an interview with MLBNetwork Radio that he will be one of Bruce Bochy's coaches at the 2011 All-Star game in Phoeniz, Ariz., on July 12.

The Nationals vs. today's starter: RHP Ricky Nolasco

The Florida Marlins await the Nationals after a three-game sweep by the Phillies and while they don't dominate the Nationals in the same overwhelming way the Phillies have the past few years, the Marlins pitching doesn't offer much in the way of an easy game. First up for the Marlins is right-hander Ricky Nolasco, a pitcher the Nationals missed on their first trip to Florida this season. Nolasco, like several of the Marlins' starters, is having a strong start to the season at 3-0 with a 3.35 ERA.

On Halladay's dominance and Coffey's bloody nose

Jerry Hairston Jr. has been a major league player for the last 14 years. In that time, he's faced 826 different pitchers. That volume of opponents doesn't matter. Easily and without hesitation, Hairston said Thursday that Roy Halladay is the best he's ever seen.

A tip of the cap to Matt Stairs and the 100th pinch hit of his career

As Matt Stairs' pinch-hit single in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night landed softly in shallow right field, it carried with it a little extra weight. The hit, which not only snapped an 0-for-13 start to the season for the veteran pinch-hitting specialist, was the 100th pinch-hit of Stairs' career, tying him with Rusty Staub for 18th on the all-time list and giving the long-tenured hitter another piece of memorabilia to take home and decorate his bar with.