- The Washington Times - Monday, April 30, 2007

The Washington Nationals yesterday activated left-handed reliever Ray King from the 15-day disabled list and placed right-handed starter Jerome Williams on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle.

Williams rolled his ankle in the batter’s box in the sixth inning of Saturday night’s 12-inning loss to New York.

Before the injury to Williams, the Nationals were contemplating sending down either Saul Rivera or Ryan Wagner because both right-handed relievers have minor league options left.

Instead, with an off day Thursday — the day Williams ordinarily would pitch — the Nationals just will skip Williams’ turn and go with a four-man rotation for the upcoming week.

“In a way, it kind of worked itself out,” manager Manny Acta said. “But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. If you have to make a move, we make a move.”

Williams’ injury isn’t considered serious, but the timing couldn’t have been worse. The 25-year-old was coming off his best performance of the year, allowing one hit in six innings Saturday after starting the season 0-4 with a 7.77 ERA.

“It stinks,” said Williams, who is eligible to come off the DL on May 14. “I felt good, you know. I felt like I was finally going to go forward and get out of this funk that I was in. Now this.”

The Nationals will need to find someone to fill Williams’ spot in the rotation May 8 in Milwaukee.

The club hopes right-hander Jason Simontacchi, now at Class AAA Columbus, can step up. Simontacchi allowed one earned run in five innings Friday for the Clippers, and his next scheduled start is Wednesday against Rochester. The Nationals want to see Simontacchi throw seven innings and get his pitch count up into the 90s before he’s activated.

Meanwhile, the Nationals also are expected to recall outfielder Kory Casto from Columbus in time for tonight’s game against San Diego. A corresponding roster move has not been determined.

In 10 games with the Clippers, Casto hit .324 with four home runs and six RBI.

Returning on the road

Injured shortstop Cristian Guzman and outfielder Nook Logan are expected to be reinstated to the active roster during the club’s 10-day, nine-game road trip to San Diego, Chicago and Milwaukee.

Both Guzman (hamstring) and Logan (foot) were hurt Opening Day and immediately placed on the disabled list. Guzman, who has played back-to-back extended spring games, appears likely to return during the weekend series against the Cubs.

Logan should be ready for the Brewers series May 7-9 at Miller Park.

“There’s a possibility maybe at the end of the Chicago trip or almost for sure in Milwaukee,” Acta said. “Guzman for sure [in Chicago], but there’s a good chance that both of them could be on the Brewers series.”

Schneider still sick

Catcher Brian Schneider sat out with flu-like symptoms for a second straight game. Backup Jesus Flores started for Schneider yesterday and went 1-for-4.

“Schneider showed up, and he’s almost in worse shape than yesterday. He’s very ill,” Acta said.

Schneider was forced to pinch hit in the 12th inning Saturday because he was the last available player on the bench.

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