- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2005

The Washington Nationals placed struggling reliever Antonio Osuna on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Gary Majewski from Class AAA New Orleans yesterday.

Osuna, who posted a 42.43 ERA in four appearances this season, went on the DL retroactive to April 11 with a right shoulder strain, making him eligible to return April 26.

Osuna, 32, hasn’t pitched since April 10, when he surrendered a grand slam to Marlins outfielder Juan Encarnacion in a 9-0 loss at Florida. Osuna said the move caught him by surprise.

?I got a message today on my cell phone, and I tried to call back and ask what happened,? Osuna said. ?They told me I’m going on the DL, and I said, ‘Why? I’m ready to go today or tomorrow. Give me one day.’ They said, ‘You need a couple more days. We have enough pitchers to help us here.’ ?

Osuna will leave for New Orleans tomorrow and pitch one or two innings Thursday.

In 21/3 innings this season, the right-hander has allowed 11 runs on nine hits, walked seven and given up two home runs. Opponents are hitting .600 off him.

?His arm has been bothering him a little bit, and he’s had the last three or four days off,? manager Frank Robinson said. ?We feel like we need healthy people here right now. It’s going to take him a few more days before we feel he may be right. We felt like we needed an arm here, so we put him on the DL and let him get well, and when he’s healthy he can come off.?

Majewski, 25, posted a 4.26 ERA in 61/3 innings for New Orleans. He made his first appearance for Washington last night against Florida, pitching two scoreless and hitless innings, walking one and striking out two.

Larkin to the rescue

Barry Larkin, special assistant to general manager Jim Bowden, made his first trip to RFK Stadium. Larkin, a 12-time National League All-Star at shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds, was summoned primarily to work with slumping shortstop Cristian Guzman.

Guzman entered the game last night against the Marlins batting .114, far off his .266 career average. Larkin will be in town for three days to try to help Guzman out of his hitting funk.

?When I’m here, I’ll talk to him about his approach and kind of see where his head is,? said Larkin, who was a .295 hitter in 19 seasons. ?There is a limited amount of stuff that I can do for him right now. That will be an ongoing project, but I expect him to come around.?

During the offseason, Bowden tried to convince Larkin to sign with the Nationals as Guzman’s backup. Larkin considered the offer, but it didn’t feel right after he had spent his entire career in Cincinnati.

The Nationals signed Guzman, 27, to a four-year, $16.8 million deal Nov. 16, ending his six-year relationship with the Minnesota Twins.

?I think if you can hit, you can hit,? Larkin said. ?I think it’s just a matter of not getting off to a good start and then trying a little harder. I’d like to see him do some basic things just to get himself back to the type of hitter I know he is.?

Robinson bashes ESPN

Robinson wasn’t happy ESPN wasn’t showing the game against the Marlins across the country. The network showed the game in the Washington area because there was no local broadcast, but it was ESPN’s alternate game.

?I’ve been very unhappy with ESPN as far as their coverage of us,? Robinson said. ?We’re going back, and I’ll mention it one more time — the Expos — we got very, very little coverage from them even on the highlight thing. Most of the time, they poked fun at us as Expos or whatever. … I just don’t like the way they treat us. Even this year, this team.?

Extra bases

Before the game, Livan Hernandez was presented with a Silver Slugger award after leading major league pitchers with eight extra-base hits and 10 RBI last season. Outfielder Terrmel Sledge was honored for earning a spot on the Topps All-Rookie team after hitting .269 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI last season. …

After complaints about RFK’s pitcher’s mound, the Nationals brought in a grounds crew member (Doug Lopas) from their spring training complex in Viera, Fla., to work on it.

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