- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 30, 2009

PHILADELPHIA | Jesus Flores’ return from the disabled list didn’t happen Friday as the Washington Nationals had hoped. Now the club is left without any projection for the catcher’s return to the lineup until he gets a second opinion on his injured right shoulder from orthopedist James Andrews.

Flores, on the 15-day disabled list since taking a foul ball off his shoulder May 10 in Arizona, experienced a setback during his rehab assignment with Class AA Harrisburg and has been shut down for the time being. He was examined in the District on Friday by team orthopedist Wiemi Douoguih, who took an MRI, and he’ll travel to Birmingham, Ala., to be examined Monday by Andrews.

For now, the Nationals are referring to Flores’ injury as shoulder tendinitis but won’t put a timetable on his return until Andrews comes back with a diagnosis.

“Let’s let us evaluate what’s going on, the films and that type of thing,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. “Let’s let the doctors do their job before we make any comments on the seriousness or nonseriousness of it. It was a setback. We’re going to evaluate it, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

So Washington will continue to go with the catching tandem of Wil Nieves and Josh Bard until further notice. Bard was back with the club Friday night after spending the previous two days in Denver, where his wife, Lindsey, gave birth to the couple’s third child. Karis Elizabeth Bard was born Thursday afternoon.

MacDougal seeks redemption

Mike MacDougal joined the Nationals’ bullpen Friday, hoping to help stabilize the majors’ least effective relief corps while also resurrecting his wayward career.

The 32-year-old right-hander, an All-Star closer with the Kansas City Royals in 2003, fell on hard times in recent seasons and was released by the Chicago White Sox last month after posting a 12.46 ERA and walking seven batters in 4 1/3 innings.

The Nationals signed MacDougal to a minor league contract May 3. With some help from Class AAA Syracuse pitching coach Steve McCatty, he rediscovered his command and confidence.

“It was good,” he said. “It was real good.”

MacDougal had an “out” clause in his contract if he wasn’t promoted after 21 days, and he revealed his intentions to enact it earlier this week. The Nationals, though, relented and called him up before he could walk away.

“It’s very important to me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s what I love to do: pitch. What better place than the big leagues to do it?”

MacDougal gave up a single and hit a batter while recording one out in the seventh inning Friday.

Dukes must pay again

Elijah Dukes (strained hamstring) was due to begin a rehab assignment with Harrisburg on Friday, just as he again is involved in a legal dispute in Florida.

A Hillsborough County Court judge ruled that the outfielder must pay $39,767 in legal fees for his estranged wife by 5 p.m. June 5 or face 90 days in jail, according to the Tampa Tribune. Dukes, who did not appear in court Friday, faced a similar threat in January and made his payment with three minutes to spare.