- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2005

Washington Nationals scheduled starter Zach Day was scratched because of an inner ear infection and replaced by Tomo Ohka last night against the New York Mets at RFK Stadium.

After a bullpen workout Wednesday, Day complained of dizziness, and the infection in his right ear was diagnosed by Dr. Bruce Thomas.

“I said I was good enough to go [last night], but they said they wanted to give me a couple days,” Day said. “It was their call to kind of bump me back.”

The Nationals have been flip-flopping Day and Ohka in their rotation. Day (1-2, 5.09 ERA) now will start Tuesday night’s game in Los Angeles.

Day, 26, is coming off a rough outing when he allowed five runs on five hits in 51/3 innings and walked five in a 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday at RFK.

“[The ear infection is] just something out of the blue I’ve never had before,” Day said. “It’s frustrating in that sense.”

Day said he probably will throw in the bullpen today although the infection makes it hard to keep his balance.

Before the game, manager Frank Robinson cited the performances of Day and Ohka as early-season disappointments.

“You have to put Zach in there, because I’ve expected him to be better than what he’s been,” Robinson said.

MRI due for Osuna

Injured reliever Antonio Osuna will return to the District on Tuesday to have an MRI taken of his right shoulder.

Robinson mentioned Friday that Osuna was experiencing soreness in his right arm during his rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA New Orleans and gave him a few days off. If the MRI reveals a rotator cuff injury that requires surgery, Osuna could be lost for the season.

If there is not serious damage he might be able to return in a few weeks. The Nationals placed Osuna on the 15-day disabled list April 18, retroactive to April 11, which means he is eligible to return anytime.

So far his season, Osuna has allowed 11 runs on nine hits, including a grand slam, and has walked seven. His ERA is 42.43.

Mateo to rehab

Utility infielder Henry Mateo will begin a rehabilitation assignment today at Class AAA New Orleans. Mateo, who was placed on the 15-day DL on March 16 with tendinitis in his right shoulder, can play at least five positions and has speed on the basepaths, an element the Nationals currently lack.

Front-office additions

The Nationals named Allison Riepenhoff as executive assistant to vice president and general manager Jim Bowden and Michelle Cope as administrative assistant for player development and scouting.

Riepenhoff spent the previous four years at the White House as executive assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff. Cope comes from the Arizona Diamondbacks, where she spent time as a scouting operations assistant.

Extra bases

Newly confirmed U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales threw out last night’s ceremonial first pitch. …

Coming into last night’s game, the Nationals were tied for third in the National League, having made 69 pitching changes after 23 games. Only the Chicago Cubs (73) and the San Francisco Giants (70), had changed pitchers more often.

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