- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A day after Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson gave the struggling Cristian Guzman a vote of confidence, the shortstop wasn’t in the lineup last night — and might not be for a few days.

Third baseman Vinny Castilla also wasn’t in the lineup last night because of tendinitis in his left knee, meaning the Nationals faced the Colorado Rockies at RFK Stadium without their normal left side of the infield.

Guzman, hitting a paltry .189 and 0-for-16 since the All-Star break, believes benching him is not the answer.

“You don’t get ready to not to play. Nobody gets ready on the bench,” Guzman said. “That’s the idea, so you have to do it. You know, nobody is going to be happy when you don’t play. You come to the stadium to play ball. You don’t come here to see all your friends playing and you sitting on the bench. [Robinson is] the manager. He’s the man. He’s the captain.”

Castilla has been bothered by tendinitis since spring training. He was limping noticeably Sunday in Milwaukee and said he couldn’t walk straight without pain. Coming into last night, Castilla had started 88 of the Nationals’ 93 games — tied for second most on the team with Brad Wilkerson.

“I feel bad that I’m not helping the team better. My knee is sore, and it’s not getting any better,” said Castilla, who is hitting .255 with six home runs and 44 RBI. “The only way for me to get better is rest it and take care of it.”

Carlos Baerga was inserted at third base and batted eighth in the order. Jamey Carroll replaced Guzman at shortstop and went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Break-ins at RFK

The rash of vandalism in RFK’s parking lots continued Monday afternoon when thieves broke into a car belonging to a freelance videographer working for ESPN, stealing several pieces of camera equipment.

The videographer was inside the stadium taping a segment with Robinson for the network’s “Pardon the Interruption” when the incident occurred. The car was parked in the stadium’s media parking lot, located next to Lot 8.

Several other break-ins also were reported in that media lot late Monday and early yesterday.

Officials for the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission were assessing the details of the incidents yesterday.

“We’re not going to stop every break-in,” said Tony Robinson, commission spokesman.

Last month, a dozen cars belonging to team players and employees were vandalized during a Nationals road trip, with a sport utility vehicle belonging to outfielder Marlon Byrd stolen. The vehicle was later recovered.

Not Zach’s day

Former Nationals right-hander Zach Day, who was traded to the Rockies for outfielder Preston Wilson last Wednesday, entered the game in the eighth inning and couldn’t record an out.

With Washington leading 2-0, Day faced four batters and allowed two runs on three hits. He gave up a leadoff walk to Wilkerson and then surrendered three consecutive singles to Jose Guillen, Brian Schneider and Wilson before he was removed by Rockies manager Clint Hurdle.

“Every several pitches were up in the strike zone. I didn’t get the ball down,” said Day. “I think I threw two pitches maybe that I would like to have and I didn’t finish it. I was just getting the ball up. I didn’t feel that I was too amped.”

Extra bases

Nationals closer Chad Cordero, who leads baseball with 33 saves, will sign autographs today at ESPN Zone in the District beginning at noon. …

First baseman Nick Johnson will try to run on his bruised right heel today. Johnson, who is hitting .320 with eight home runs and 42 RBI, threw before batting practice yesterday and felt no pain. …

Robinson said right-hander Tony Armas Jr. will make his next scheduled start Saturday against the Houston Astros at RFK Stadium despite leaving Monday’s game in the third inning, citing dizziness and dehydration. Armas (4-4, 4.96 ERA) threw just 31 pitches before he pulled himself from the game. …

Baerga spent most of Monday night at Washington Hospital Center with his wife, Miriam, who is suffering from a stomach virus. Baerga missed batting practice yesterday and arrived at RFK about an hour-and-a-half before the game.

“They are going to do some tests today, and we’ll see how she feels tomorrow,” Baerga said. “She’s going to spend tonight in the hospital.”

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