- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2011

PITTSBURGH – With inclement weather seemingly following the Nationals wherever they go, their game Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates was rained out roughly two hours prior to the scheduled first pitch.

The teams will make up the game on Monday, a mutual off day for both teams, at 7:05 p.m.

It is the third rainout the Nationals have endured in the last seven days, and including scheduled off days, will be the seventh day in the season’s first 23 that the team has not played a game. The Nationals played a doubleheader at home on Sunday, sweeping the Brewers after a postponement Saturday, and played another one on Wednesday when they split with the Cardinals in St. Louis.

As the Nationals learned of their latest postponement and the loss of a scheduled off day it was obvious it’s becoming disheartening to have the weather wreaking such havoc on their schedule.

“Guys are just kind of frustrated,” said reliever Drew Storen, the team’s player representative. “It’s just not ideal.

“The whole last week in general has been a tough situation with the weather. I mean, there’s really not a whole lot you can do. Obviously the Pirates need to get these games in and we do too. It’s going to be less than idea but the weather is kind of out of our control.”

The Nationals are keeping their pitching in line for the series and the one benefit of Friday’s rainout is that Sunday’s expected starter, John Lannan – who’d have been pitching on three days of rest for the first time in his career – can now pitch Monday on regular rest.

Livan Hernandez, who was scheduled to make the start on Friday, will start Saturday night and Jason Marquis will pitch in the day game on Sunday.

“I think we would have liked to have played a Monday day game if we’re going to be here but that was not an option,” said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. “We’ve had so many off days, we need to be playing. Certainly, guys made plans for off days, stuff like that, but you can’t fight the weather and we don’t know what we might get tomorrow.”

Notes: Reliever Todd Coffey ran sprints on a treadmill inside PNC Park on Friday and reported no issues with his strained left calf. Both he and the Nationals are expecting to return him to the active roster on Sunday… The Nationals called up infielder Brian Bixler from Triple-A Syracuse to take the roster spot vacated when they optioned catcher Jesus Flores back to Triple A on Thursday. Activating Bixler would require purchasing his contract and putting him on the team’s 40-man roster which will require moving someone off. That move will most likely come Saturday before the team’s 7:05 p.m. game.

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