- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2005

MIAMI — Frank Robinson was all set to trot out his regular starting lineup yesterday when Jose Vidro ducked his head into the Washington Nationals manager’s office.

So much for that idea.

Vidro informed Robinson that his injured right quadriceps was too sore to play and he would have to be scratched. The Nationals don’t expect him to play in today’s series finale against the Florida Marlins either.

“I’m not too good right now,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt it any more. We’re going to try to see if we can do something right now to get this checked. It’s too tight right now. It hurts.”

Ditto for Jose Guillen, who aggravated his already injured left shoulder sliding into third base Friday night and also asked out of yesterday’s game. Thus Robinson and bench coach Eddie Rodriguez were forced to cobble together a last-minute lineup without two of their best hitters.

Guillen’s injury is not considered serious. He has been hampered by a bad shoulder for several months now and last week received a cortisone shot to help alleviate pain. He hurt himself sliding head-first into third base during the seventh inning of Friday night’s loss, though, and woke up yesterday morning with a bruise on his shoulder.

Guillen did offer to come off the bench to pinch-hit and said he was available. He never emerged, though, and left Dolphins Stadium last night hoping to recover in time to play today.

“I was ready to go, but we never got the chance for a pinch-hitter,” Guillen said. “I just have to go home, rest tonight and hopefully be ready tomorrow.”

Vidro does not expect to rejoin the lineup until the Nationals return home Tuesday. His quad has bothered him since he returned from an ankle injury July5, and the pain became so bad Friday night that he didn’t think he would be able to finish the game.

“It was hurting even before the game last night,” Vidro said. “But I went out because there was no one else on the bench.”

By yesterday afternoon, Vidro couldn’t even do that.

“I told Frank that I could play, but I didn’t know how far I could go,” he said. “If I go out to play and I play one inning, they have to get me out of there and then we are short on the bench.”

Jamey Carroll took over for Vidro at second base and batted second. Ryan Church started in right field in place of Guillen and batted fifth.

Church still ailing

Even though he has been back for two weeks, Church said he’s still feeling the effects of his June22 collision with the left-field fence in Pittsburgh.

Church, who sprained a ligament in his rib cage when he slammed into the wall to make a game-saving catch, said the back of his right shoulder still burns and that doctors told him it would be six weeks until he fully recovers.

The 26-year-old outfielder, who was hitting .325 at the time of his injury and was making a strong case for National League Rookie of the Year honors, has batted just .232 since coming off the disabled list. He has one hit in his last 12 at-bats.

“I just haven’t been the same since I ran into that wall,” Church said.

Extra bases

Wil Cordero has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets. Cordero, who was released by the Nationals last week after batting .118 in 27 games, will report to Class AAA Norfolk. …

More salt to rub into the Nationals’ wounds: Marlins outfielder Juan Encarnacion, who was nearly traded for Zach Day earlier this season, is hitting .386 with 21 RBI in July. For the season, Encarnacion is batting .300 with 15 homers and 64 RBI.

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