- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2005

Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson filled out his pitching rotation for this weekend against the St. Louis Cardinals with a pair of left-handers.

The club called up Matt White from Class AAA New Orleans following last night’s game to pitch today and veteran John Halama will start tomorrow’s series finale. To clear a roster spot for White, the club sent reliever Travis Hughes back to New Orleans.

Robinson had to revamp the rotation because Ryan Drese and Tony Armas Jr. are out with shoulder injuries. Drese was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday (retroactive to Aug. 19) with right shoulder tendinitis. That night, Armas left a 6-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds after the third inning complaining of shoulder soreness.

Armas was scheduled to start tomorrow’s game, but will be skipped. The Nationals do not intend to place Armas on the DL, as they hope rest will be the answer in dealing with his problematic shoulder.

“Yesterday, he said it felt pretty good,” Robinson said of Armas.

White is 8-5 with a 3.23 ERA this season with the Zephyrs. White, 28, has appeared in just six big league games with the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners in 2003, when he went 0-1 with a 22.24 ERA. Robinson said he is pitching White today instead of tomorrow to keep White as close to his five-day schedule as possible. White last pitched Aug.20, throwing 62/3 scoreless innings at Omaha.

“White’s turn has been held back a couple days from his last start,” Robinson said. “If we hold him back another day, we thought it might be a little much.”

By all indications, White is being brought up just to pitch in today’s game. If Armas is progressing as well as the club believes, he should be able to make his next start Friday against National League wild card-leading Philadelphia at RFK Stadium.

Once White returns to Class AAA, the Nationals likely would call up third baseman/shortstop Ryan Zimmerman, the fourth overall pick in June’s draft out of Virginia. The Nationals need to call up Zimmerman by Wednesday for him to be included on the club’s postseason roster.

Yesterday, Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said again that Zimmerman’s major league debut will come “soon.” Zimmerman moved back to third base Thursday night for the Class AA Harrisburg Senators and went 2-for-4.

Zimmerman entered last night hitting .313 with nine home runs, 17 doubles and 31 RBI for Harrisburg.

Byrd shares the word

Newly recalled outfielder Marlon Byrd and Robinson said they have patched up their differences.

The Nationals sent a slumping Byrd down to New Orleans on Aug. 2. When Robinson called Byrd into his office to explain his decision, Byrd sat motionless for about five minutes and then exited Robinson’s office at RFK without saying a word.

Byrd’s departure prompted Robinson to say, “He had an attitude when he came in, he had an attitude while he was here and he had an attitude when he left.”

Robinson said he was puzzled by Byrd’s reaction on being sent down. Byrd was officially recalled yesterday and Robinson said they spoke before the game.

Byrd said he was just mad at himself for getting sent down and wasn’t carrying a grudge against Robinson or management.

“We’re clear,” Byrd said. “I had to explain that I was disappointed in myself. They got a read on me that I was very angry and had the attitude. I explained, ‘Yeah, I was angry with myself.’ I wasn’t mad at anyone else. I understood the move and it made sense. It wasn’t like I was hitting .300, had a couple home runs and I was the odd-man out. I wasn’t getting the job done.”

The Nationals acquired Byrd on May 14 in a trade with Philadelphia for outfielder Endy Chavez. In 51 games, Byrd batted .243 with 16 RBI.

With the Zephyrs, Byrd hit .416 with five home runs and 11 RBI in just 20 games.

Bowden’s mentor

Yesterday, two former Baltimore Orioles general managers, Syd Thrift and Roland Hemond, were hanging around the batting cage at RFK. When Thrift was general manager of the Pirates, he gave Bowden his start in major league baseball in 1984 by naming him an assistant to the senior vice president of baseball operations.

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