The Washington Times - September 10, 2009, 06:59PM

The Nats and Phillies begin their series finale tonight at 7:05 p.m.—weather permitting. There’s rain in the forecast most of the night, though none of it looks heavy enough to keep us from getting this one in. Famous last words, I know.

Anyway, a little pregame news before we get started.


—Ian Desmond makes his big-league debut at shortstop tonight, giving the Nats a look at their possible shortstop of the future. Jim Riggleman had said yesterday he doesn’t plan to play September call-ups much, but amended that somewhat on Thursday.

“We talked yesterday about my desire to play the regulars predominantly, let them finish out the year,” Riggleman said. “It’s not exclusively that guys aren’t going to get a day off now and then. (Outfielder Justin) Maxwell’s gotten a few starts. Ian will get a start here and there. (It) gives them a chance to help us off the bench. If they do get a pinch-hit appearance, they’ve got to get a few at-bats now and then to stay relatively sharp.”

—Stephen Strasburg held court with the media to talk about the time he’s spent working out in Washington before heading down to Florida for instructional league games before his Arizona Fall League stint. Nothing terribly scintillating there—Strasburg said he’s enjoyed getting to know a few of his teammates, he’s looking forward to getting on a mound, etc. Perhaps the most interesting stuff was when he was asked about how he’s handling the media frenzy—if you can call his first interview in a week a frenzy. “I’m going to have to get used to answering the same questions over and over,” he said. He also said he’s not worried about his teammates resenting the money he’s making or his No. 1 pick status. “If they like me, they like me,” he said. “If they don’t, they don’t.”

—The Nats claimed left-hander pitcher Jesse English off waivers from the Giants on Thursday, designating catcher Luke Montz for assignment. English was added to the 40-man roster; he was 7-7 with a 4.20 ERA for the Giants’ Class AA affiliate this season.