- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2008

Wily Mo Pena will have his ailing left shoulder examined Monday in a procedure that could help explain why the Washington Nationals outfielder has struggled so much this season.

Pena will undergo an enhanced MRI, with a dye, Gadolinium, injected into his shoulder as doctors look for any possible tears or other structural problems.

The Nationals don’t know for now whether the 26-year-old will be ready to play when the second half of the season starts Friday in Atlanta.

“No, it all depends on the decision of the doctor,” manager Manny Acta said.

Pena has struggled his way through a miserable season at the plate and enters the All-Star break with two homers, 10 RBI and a .205 average in 64 games. Over his first six big league seasons, Pena averaged a home run every 18.6 at-bats.

The club has been vague in describing how long Pena has been playing in pain, but Acta said it started bothering the outfielder “far back. It’s not a couple of weeks.”

Pena, who has declined to discuss the injury, received a cortisone shot in the shoulder about a month ago. He hasn’t asked out of any games, though, and hasn’t complained once that it is affecting his performance.

“He has never, ever made excuses or anything,” Acta said. “It just bothers him here and there. It’s not because he can’t play through it. But we need to take care of it if it’s bothering him.”

Another wasted start

Odalis Perez has pitched better this season than he did Sunday - three runs and nine hits allowed over six innings - but the veteran left-hander still could make the claim after this one that he pitched well enough to win.

Perez turned in his seventh quality start of the year yet has earned a victory in only one of them. He’s now 2-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 17 outings.

“I got the loss, but it wasn’t a bad outing,” he said.

Perez’s plight is shared by nearly the entire rotation. The foursome of Perez, John Lannan, Tim Redding and Jason Bergmann has combined to post a 3.73 ERA yet owns a collective 15-25 record at the All-Star break.

“We’ve been doing great,” Perez said. “Only one guy might have a winning record, but four or five guys might have a losing record but with good ERAs. That just tells you we have been doing a good job.”

Martis earns save

Nationals pitching prospect Shairon Martis earned the save in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium, though the 21-year-old right-hander did get himself into trouble before escaping to preserve the World team’s 3-0 victory over the United States.

Martis, who is a combined 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA with Class AA Harrisburg and Class AAA Columbus this season, allowed a leadoff double and a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate. But he got a sharp groundout to first to end the game and seal the win.

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