The Washington Times - September 4, 2009, 06:22PM

Plenty of news to report from Nationals Park as the Marlins arrive for the start of a three-game series tonight…

— Jesus Flores has been activated off the DL, a surprise move because the catcher wasn’t expected to recover from his broken right shoulder before season’s end. And Flores isn’t yet ready to play behind the plate. His shoulder is healed, but it’s going to take him a while to get his throwing strength back. That said, he is able to swing a bat. And since the Nats are lacking in productive bench players at the moment, they figured it was worth activating him and letting him serve as a pinch-hitter. Flores probably won’t catch before the season ends, but it’s possible.


— The Nats don’t have a diagnosis of Craig Stammen’s elbow MRI yet and probably won’t until later tonight once team doctor Weimi Douoguih has a chance to look at the results himself. But it doesn’t sound promising. At the very least, it doesn’t appear there’s any reason the Nats will bring Stammen back to pitch this year. Now, the team actually has some time before finding a replacement starter, because of yesterday’s off-day and another one on Monday. They won’t need a fifth starter until Sept. 12. At that point, I would expect either Collin Balester, Ross Detwiler or Shairon Martis to take the spot.

— Stephen Strasburg is here and was in a Nats No. 37 practice jersey during BP for the first time. Don’t get too excited, though. Strasburg is here because there’s nowhere else for him to go at the moment. The Gulf Coast League season ended yesterday (with the Nats affiliate winning the championship over the Marlins) so there’s no one in Viera for Strasburg to work out with. So he’ll spend this homestand with the team in D.C. and then head back to Florida after that for the start of the instructional league. Strasburg’s routine here is basically the same as in Florida: playing catch on flat ground, doing fielding drills.

— Victor Garate is here as well. One of the two pitchers acquired from the Dodgers in the Ronnie Belliard trade, the left-hander is making his big-league debut. He’s never pitched above Class AA, so there are admittedly some nerves on his part. “It’s a big jump,” he said. “I’m excited.”

— We already knew about five players headed to the Arizona Fall League in October: Strasburg, Drew Storen, Chris Marrero, Derek Norris and Danny Espinosa. Now we know the sixth player from the organization who will join them: Josh Wilkie. The right-hander (who went to George Washington) is a combined 7-4 with a 2.42 ERA in 50 relief appearances this season between Harrisburg and Syracuse.