- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Washington Nationals right-hander Tony Armas Jr. will begin a rehab assignment today, starting for the Class AA Harrisburg Senators against the Trenton Yankees.

Armas may not be activated until after the All-Star break.

“The way it’s scheduled out, it could be,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “It depends on how he fares. It comes down to two rehab starts. The second one I think is on [Monday].”

Armas believed he would be activated today, when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. He wasn’t happy about being placed on the DL on June 23 with a right forearm strain.

He declined to speak with reporters yesterday about his situation.

“This is a guy who’s been through three years with arm problems, now he has one,” Nationals pitching coach Randy St. Claire said. “If we take him and send him out there to start a game and put no limits on him, it just doesn’t make any sense.”

Armas (6-4, 4.44 in 15 starts) was the Nationals’ most reliable starter early this season.

Patterson’s dead arm

John Patterson said he still is feeling some effects from “dead arm,” but was satisfied with his overall performance yesterday in a no-decision against the Florida Marlins. The club was concerned about how Patterson would feel after his third start since spending nearly two months on the DL.

Patterson left in the third inning of Thursday’s game at the Toronto suffering from fatigue in his right arm.

“It’s not quite there yet, but I can pitch with it I believe,” said Patterson, who allowed two runs on four hits in five innings against the Marlins . “My pitches do look pretty good. I just don’t feel quite there yet.”

Patterson, who is 1-2 with a 4.41 ERA this season in six starts, threw 67 pitches yesterday. He opened the game with three perfect innings before surrendering two runs in the fourth.

Anderson’s status

Marlon Anderson remains day-to-day with a strained rib cage muscle he suffered Monday after hitting a triple in the team’s 9-1 win against Florida. With the Marlins throwing left-hander Scott Olsen yesterday, the left-handed hitting Anderson had the day off anyway.

“It’s just one of those things, give it a couple days,” Anderson said. “I’m not going to swing at anything today. It’s one of those nagging things. We’ve got four days off next week with the All-Star break. I’m just going to see how it feels every day and swing if I can. If I can’t, then be smart about it.”

Anderson is hitting .417 (10-for-24) with four RBI in his last eight games.

No D-Train

The Nationals won’t have to face Marlins left-handed ace Dontrelle Willis (5-7, 3.96) in this series, thanks to a late roster move Monday night that pushed all of Florida’s starters back one day.

The high-kicking Willis, who was originally scheduled to pitch in tomorrow’s series finale against Livan Hernandez, will now open Friday’s series against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. Willis, who finished second in last year’s NL Cy Young Award voting, was bumped back when the Marlins optioned right-hander Chris Resop to Class AAA Albuquerque and recalled right-hander Yusmeiro Petit.

Petit (0-1, 7.36) will start today for the Marlins and right-hander Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 6.30) will start tomorrow’s series finale. Petit and Sanchez are two of the Marlins’ top pitching prospects.

“It’s a break for us because we don’t have to face him, but the guy that goes out there, you still got to go out there and beat him,” Robinson said. “There’s no sense in getting all happy that you’re not facing him. Sometimes we have a shot at the better pitchers because they bear down a little bit harder sometimes. Who we don’t know and haven’t seen, we have trouble with.”

Extra bases

Left-handed reliever Mike Stanton moved past Dennis Eckersley into third place on the all-time games pitched list yesterday when he appeared in the sixth inning. He has pitched in 1,072 games — 47 behind John Franco. … Yesterday’s win gave the Nationals an 18-11 record at RFK Stadium since opening the season 1-9 at home.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To

submit a question, go to the Sports Page

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