- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2006

Washington Nationals outfielder Jose Guillen can’t get past the third inning these days.

For the second consecutive day, Guillen was forced to remove himself from the game yesterday because of injury. On Wednesday, it was a freak eye injury. Yesterday, Guillen’s right hamstring caused him to leave in the third inning.

Guillen felt his hamstring tightening up after legging out a first-inning groundout. That happened two days after Guillen returned to the Nationals lineup after missing five consecutive games with his problematic hamstring.

For now, the Nationals have no plans of placing Guillen on the disabled list. As was the case on Wednesday, Marlon Byrd replaced Guillen in right field in the third inning.

Byrd went 1-for-2 with a triple, walk and a run scored.

In his only at-bat yesterday, Guillen hit a high chopper over the pitcher’s mound. Houston Astros starter Andy Pettitte caught the ball behind the mound and threw out Guillen going to first.

Apparently, Guillen aggravated the injury breaking out of the batter’s box. As he gingerly jogged back to the dugout, Guillen was seen trying to loosen and stretch his right leg. Once he arrived in the dugout, Guillen threw his batting helmet in disgust and was quickly tended to by the team’s training staff.

During batting practice Wednesday, Guillen gave himself a cornea abrasion in his left eye when he scratched his eye with his batting glove on. Pine tar accidently entered Guillen’s eye from his batting glove and forced the Nationals right fielder to immediately see an optometrist.

“It’s sore, but I’ve got my vision back,” Guillen said. “I went there [into game] thinking that I would start to get my vision back. When they hit a fly ball to right field, I was just like, ‘I can’t even see the ball.’ That at-bat that I had, I was completely blind.”

A bullpen mystery

Reliever Felix Rodriguez is basically telling Nationals manager Frank Robinson that it’s fine to use him, but he would rather not pitch.

Rodriguez has not pitched since last Friday when he allowed three runs to the Baltimore Orioles on six hits in just 11/3 innings. Rodriguez has surrendered six runs in his last 41/3 innings and has a 12.46 ERA over his last five games. Robinson said his struggling right-hander says he is suffering from a right forearm strain.

“I don’t know where Felix is right now, I really don’t,” Robinson said. “Obviously, he’s in the clubhouse. I don’t know where he is physically. It’s not fair to load the burden on the management, to use him or not use him, it makes it tough. ‘I’m all right if they want to use me, but it would probably be better if they don’t.’ I don’t usually use players that tell me that until they actually come to me and tell that they are OK and ready to go.”

Back from Woodbridge

Catcher Brian Schneider completed his two-game rehab assignment with the Class A Potomac Nationals and is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list today.

In two games as Potomac’s designated hitter, Schneider went 2-for-9 with a double, one RBI, and a run scored. To make room for Schneider on the roster, the Nationals most likely will designate catcher Wiki Gonzalez for assignment. That means Gonzalez would be placed on waivers, which he would have to clear before being outrighted back to Class AAA New Orleans.

Extra bases

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts sat in the owner’s box for yesterday’s game. … Robert Fick and Matthew LeCroy will visit Children’s Hospital today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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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