- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2008

SAN DIEGO - Ryan Langerhans‘ first week back with the Washington Nationals following a lengthy stint at Class AAA Columbus was hardly noteworthy. The reserve outfielder had no hits in six at-bats and hadn’t figured prominently into any game’s outcome.

With one clutch hit and one spectacular catch yesterday against the San Diego Padres, though, Langerhans reminded the Nationals just how much he’s capable of contributing. His pinch-hit, RBI single with two outs in the seventh tied the game 2-2 and allowed him to breathe a sigh of relief after such a rough return to the majors.

“It felt good to get up there and come through in that situation,” he said. “I’ve hit a couple of balls hard, so it was nice to get one to fall.”

One inning later, Langerhans made a sparkling defensive play. He robbed Kevin Kouzmanoff of a home run by leaping at the left-field fence and pulling the ball back into the park.

“I knew I had it,” Langerhans said. “I was just worried. Sometimes you can lose it when you try to bring it back like that. I was just trying to make sure I hung onto it when I landed.”

Alas, Langerhans’ gem was soon forgotten, because the Padres followed with back-to-back singles and then Jody Gerut’s three-run homer, the deciding blow in San Diego’s 5-2 win.

“That was an unbelievable play,” manager Manny Acta said. “It’s too bad that’s it’s not going to be part of a win.”

The DL booth

With Don Sutton still battling laryngitis, injured catcher Paul Lo Duca made his third guest appearance in the MASN booth yesterday as game analyst. Closer Chad Cordero, also on the disabled list, joined Lo Duca and play-by-play man Johnny Holliday on the air for the final six innings of the series finale.

“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Cordero said of his broadcasting debut. “You’ve got a great view. You don’t know if you want to watch the live game or watch it on the TV. It was pretty cool.”

Cordero’s toughest task? Refraining from showing emotion on key plays, both good and bad.

“The base hit that Langerhans got, I wanted to clap and cheer. I had to make sure I didn’t do that,” he said. “And I kind of had to hold off being down with that home run until they went to a commercial. It was tough, but it was a cool thing.”

Sutton, who was at the ballpark yesterday, hopes to return to the airwaves tonight in Arizona.

As for Cordero’s rehab from a torn muscle in the back of his right shoulder, the reliever said he’s encouraged by how he has felt since resuming a throwing program earlier in the week. He made 60 throws from 75 feet Wednesday and expects to move back to 90 feet today.

Zimmerman to return?

Ryan Zimmerman was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game, but the injured third baseman could return tonight for the start of a weekend series in Arizona.

Zimmerman, battling a sore left shoulder, continues to make progress and said he feels much better than he did earlier in the week.

“Everything’s still going good,” he said.

“As soon as he’s ready to play, he’ll play,” Acta said.

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