- The Washington Times - Friday, March 17, 2006

VIERA, Fla. — It does not look good this season for Cristian Guzman.

The Washington Nationals shortstop was diagnosed with a tear in his right shoulder after an examination by Dr. Tim Kremchek in Cincinnati yesterday, forcing Guzman to sit out the next two weeks before the team decides whether to opt for season-ending surgery.

For now, Guzman will be treated with rest and rehabilitation. But if the shoulder does not respond, surgery is likely. Either way, he probably will open this season on the disabled list.

“Dr. Kremchek felt it was worth us trying to rehabilitate it since he’s not a pitcher,” general manager Jim Bowden said.

Guzman underwent an MRI on March 10 that revealed inflammation and what team physicians thought was bursitis. He was shut down for a week, and two cortisone injections were administered. Yesterday Kremchek performed a saline-enhanced MRI on the shoulder that revealed a tear in the part of the shoulder joint called the labrum.

“We certainly know we’re going to lose him for the next two to three weeks, that’s for sure,” manager Frank Robinson said. “With that type of absence from spring training, there is no way he can open the season.”

The Nationals signed 15-year veteran Royce Clayton in the offseason as an insurance policy for Guzman, who last year batted just .219 — the lowest average among baseball’s regular shortstops. Now it looks like Clayton, who hit .270 last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, will be the everyday shortstop with utility infielder Damian Jackson as his backup.

Arriving in camp early, Guzman proclaimed himself “the new Guzie.” He had lost considerable weight in the offseason and underwent laser eye surgery. He vowed never to have another season like 2005. Asked if he was worried about his job with Clayton in camp, Guzman said he didn’t care if the Nationals brought in Derek Jeter, he was ready to compete.

WBC disappointment

According to right-hander Tony Armas, Venezuelan manager Luis Sojo told him one thing to get him to commit to his native country for the inaugural World Baseball Classic — only to do another.

In six WBC games, Armas pitched a total of 12/3 innings of relief and appeared in only one game.

“I was really disappointed,” said Armas, who returned from San Juan to the Nationals’ camp on Wednesday. “I feel like they kind of lied to me. I thought there was going to be two starters per game, and they never did that. It’s part of the game. I can’t control that end. I was happy to represent my country.”

If Venezuela had advanced to the WBC semifinals in San Diego, Armas said he would have reported back to the Nationals instead of continuing in the tournament. Venezuela was eliminated by the Dominican Republic 2-1 on Tuesday in San Juan.

Armas will make his spring debut Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Space Coast Stadium. Yesterday Armas tossed three shutout innings in a minor league game. He did not allow a hit and struck out three.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To submit a question, go to the https://www.washingtontimes.com/sports>Sports Page

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