- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2007

It may not be much, but the Nationals have found some help in the bullpen in recent call-up Chris Schroder. The right-hander has pitched five scoreless innings in his last two games.

Schroder, 28, was brought up from Class AAA Columbus on June 19. He has a 1.74 ERA in 101/3 innings overall and has been particularly effective against right-handed batters, who are hitting .125 (3-for-24) against him.

Chris Schroder has shown some improvement over here,” manager Manny Acta said. “He has not been intimidated at all. He”s got that sneaky fastball. He has been doing good for us. He has really picked us up when we needed some innings in some of those blowouts.”

Schroder’s arrival has been a welcome relief for an overworked bullpen. Washington routinely has seen its starting pitching exit early in games to give way to relievers such as Jon Rauch, who entered last night tied for the National League lead in appearances at 46 with Pittsburgh”s Matt Capps.

“Everybody has a right to their opinion,” Acta said of his bullpen usage. “Somebody has to lead the league in appearances, whether it”s Jon Rauch or Matt Capps over there in Pittsburgh.”

Bowie could miss start

Micah Bowie likely will miss his first start after the All-Star Game but could return after that. The left-hander was scratched from his July 3 start against the Chicago Cubs with inflammation in his left hip and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Bowie first was injured chasing down a squeeze bunt in San Diego on May 1.

“With the All-Star break, we”ll see,” Acta said. “Right now, it doesn”t look like we will be able to make that [first] turn.”

Escobar starts rehab

Alex Escobar began his rehabilitation at Class AA Harrisburg on Friday night, playing five innings and going 1-for-3 with a double.

The outfielder, who suffered from a right shoulder separation and was placed on the disabled list on March 28, played seven innings last night for the Senators. He went 0-for-3 as the center fielder and leadoff hitter.

No RISP-ect

The Nationals have scored more than three runs just once in their last 11 games partly because they haven’t hit with runners in scoring position.

In Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, Washington was 2-for-16 (.125) with runners in scoring position.

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