- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 8, 2008

With the Washington Nationals dipping into their minor league system for a spot start, a roster move had to be made. And Rob Mackowiak wasn’t particularly surprised it resulted in his departure.

The Nationals gave the 31-year-old outfielder his unconditional release Saturday, making room to call up Garrett Mock from Class AAA Columbus for Sunday’s game.

Washington signed the former White Sox outfielder to a one-year, $1.5 million deal in the offseason, hoping to get some pop off the bench. But he was hampered with injuries in spring training and hit .132 in 53 at-bats.

“You can’t expect to hang around. I didn’t perform in the little appearances I had,” Mackowiak said. “The only thing that bothers me is that when you decided to sign with a team, you were promised more. I understand they have their guys they want to play. I didn’t do well when I did get in there.”

Mackowiak declined to say whether manager Manny Acta or general manager Jim Bowden promised him more playing time.

“Let’s just say when the phone call came at the beginning of the year … you were told you were going to get at-bats and playing time,” he said. “It was very scarce. But if you’re hitting, you’re going to get in there.”

Monday exam for Zimmerman

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will be re-evaulated on Monday to determine how well the small labral tear in his left shoulder is healing and when he can start hitting again.

Zimmerman went on the disabled list last Tuesday, but the move was made retroactive to May 26, meaning he is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday if he’s healthy enough. Zimmerman said, however, neither he nor the Nationals plan to rush his return to the field.

“I think I’d just start doing shoulder exercises on Monday,” Zimmerman said. “I don’t know if hitting’s a week away, or what it is, from Monday. I’m not the one to make those kinds of decisions.”

The injury occurred when he slid into second base May 18. He played with it for the next six games, but when the pain didn’t subside, the Nationals decided to sit him down.

General manager Jim Bowden said there are no plans for Zimmerman to receive a cortisone shot for the pain, because the Nationals don’t want to mask anything with the injury that might mislead them to think he is completely healed.

Perez recovering

Though he’ll miss his scheduled start Sunday with shoulder tendinitis, left-hander Odalis Perez remains optimistic he won’t be sidelined any longer than that.

Perez was scheduled to play catch yesterday, and said he feels “way better” than he did Tuesday, when he came out of his start against the Cardinals after three innings.

“From today, I’ll see how it feels [Sunday],” Perez said. “If [Sunday] goes well, I might be pitching, I would say, by next week.”

Extra bases

Left-hander Matt Chico, who was optioned to Class AAA Columbus last month and had an MRI last week that revealed loose fragments in his left elbow, will be re-examined by Dr. James Andrews this week, but Bowden wasn’t optimistic that he would escape surgery. “That’s our next step,” he said of meeting with Andrews. “But it doesn’t look good.” …

Chad Cordero will head to the team’s extended spring training in Viera, Fla., this week to continue rehabbing his torn right latissimus dorsi muscle.

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