In the past weeks the Washington Nationals have played seven different teams, winning six games, losing eight games and tying two.
The National League East features two of baseball’s best teams as the Nationals went against the Braves. They played against one another Monday.
Even though they lost, they still had a reason to smile. For five innings, presumptive opening day starter Stephen Strasburg was rolling, said Matthew Leach, reporter for MLB.com.
Washington will very likely send out exactly the lineup that it used on Monday when opening day comes. Ryan Zimmerman should play third base instead of DH, replacing Chad Tracy at the hot corner, but that’s it. Washington also used closer Rafael Soriano in this game, according to the Washington Nationals official site.
Some concern was raised in Monday’s game as the Nationals have struggled with not having enough lefties in the bullpen. However, manager Davey Johnson is not worried. As of now, Duke is slated to be the only lefty in Washington’s bullpen.
“We have guys who are good against both [righty and lefty hitters],” Johnson said. “I’m not really that concerned about it.” Johnson said. “We lost three of them last year that were pretty instrumental [in helping the Nationals win the National League East title]. But we have [Rafael] Soriano. He is good either way. We have plenty of late-inning relief.”
Before the Nationals played the Atlanta Braves, Johnson talked to reporters about some of the lingering injury issues the team has been dealing with recently. Christian Garcia and Nathan Karns were both recently injured.
Garcia told reporters his right forearm pain-free and hoping to start throwing again soon. He is scheduled to play catch on Sunday. Garcia has yet to play in an exhibition game because of ligament damage inside the forearm. Johnson expects him to be ready for opening day, according to MLB.com.
“I feel great, I feel positive. I’ve felt positive the whole time,” Garcia said. “I knew it would go away. I finally don’t feel anything. I’m ready to go back in there.
On the other hand ,the Nats 2012 minor league pitcher of the year, Kern is schedule to see a specialist after a leg injury. “He has got to get an x-ray. The specialist wants not only the results from last week’s MRI, he also wants an x-ray,” Johnson told reporters.
Kerns has been shut down because of tightness in his upper right leg.He has been dealing with the tightness since March 2.
“[The injury] is a distraction right now for me,” Karns said on Friday. “It’s something that I feel every pitch. I’m out there not fully committed to the pitch. It’s in the back of my mind. I don’t know what’s going on with it.”
Lastly, Jordan Zimmermann is expected to pitch against the Mets on Wednesday. In his last game against the Cardinals this past Friday, Zimmermann had a dead arm.
Zimmermann said on Saturday that he doesn’t have any concern about his arm.
“I get the same thing every year — 2011, 2012. It’s the same spot. The same time of year,” Zimmermann told MLB.com. “It’s just building up the pitches and throwing more pitches. It will be gone in a few days and I’ll be ready for the season. Every year, I get the same thing. Nothing to be worried about at all.”