The Washington Times - September 29, 2009, 06:33PM

There are six games remaining on the Nationals’ schedule, starting tonight against the Mets, and it’s become more and more of a challenge for Jim Riggleman to field a full, healthy roster on a nightly basis.

The latest player to go down is reliever Sean Burnett, who has been sent home to nurse a bruised left thumb that has been bothering him for more than a month. Burnett initially hurt himself on a comebacker Aug. 23. After taking a couple days off to recover, he returned to the mound. But the injury never completely went away. Though it requires no surgery or other procedure, it does require rest. Riggleman had been avoiding using the lefty for much more than a one-batter appearance here and there, but it got to the point where Burnett couldn’t do it anymore. So his locker was cleaned out today, virtually no sign of his presence other than the nameplate still running across the top.


On a more positive note, Wil Nieves is back in the lineup tonight after missing the last week with a strained hamstring.

One other pregame note before we get to lineups: Ross Detwiler, who at last earned his first career win last night, has reached his innings maximum for the season and thus won’t pitch again before season’s end. Detwiler’s spot is due to come up Saturday at Atlanta (a game that has been picked up by Fox because of the playoff implications for the Braves). So who gets to start the only Nats game on national TV this season? That would be the mysterious TBA. Riggleman said he doesn’t know yet who it will be, and that it will depend on which relievers are needed the next couple days. Possibilities include Marco Estrada and Zack Segovia. There’s a reasonable chance that it will end up as a bullpen game, with no one going more than three innings.

OK, tonight’s lineup (which features Elijah Dukes batting second, Josh Willingham on the bench aned Mike Morse starting his third straight game at a third different position)…


CF Willie Harris

RF Elijah Dukes

3B Ryan Zimmerman

1B Adam Dunn

LF Mike Morse

2B Pete Orr

SS Ian Desmond

C Wil Nieves

P J.D. Martin


LF Angel Pagan

2B Luis Castillo

3B David Wright

CF Carlos Beltran

1B Daniel Murphy

RF Jeff Francoeur

C Brian Schneider

SS Wilson Valdez

P Mike Pelfrey