June 2011

Nats’ Zimmerman ready for rehab assignment

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, on the disabled list because of an abdominal strain, played in his second extended Spring Training game, playing four innings and going 0-for-4.

After the game, Zimmerman went home to Washington DC and will begin a rehab assignment for Class A Hagerstown starting Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET. The news means that Zimmerman will be a teammate of outfielder Bryce Harper for a few games.

Zimmerman has missed more than a month because of the abdominal problems. He is hoping to return to the Nationals during their next homestand, which starts June 14th against the Cardinals.

Nats’ Werth has injured elbow, listed as day to day

Right fielder Jayson Werth was hit on his left elbow by a pitch during the Nationals’ 6-1 victory over the D-backs on Thursday night and is listed as day to day.

In the ninth inning, with Roger Bernadina on third and right-hander Aaron Heilman the mound, Werth was hit on a 2-0 pitch. In pain, Werth walked slowly to first as manager Jim Riggleman and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came to Werth’s aid.

Werth stayed in the game, but Riggleman plans to check on Werth to see if he’ll be ready to play in Friday’s game against the D-backs. After Thursday’s game, Werth had an ice wrap on the elbow.

“He was able to shake it off,” Riggleman said. “I’m going to check on him tomorrow. We see how he feels when he comes in here. If it’s stiff on him, we have to make that adjustment [to the lineup].”

In 54 games, Werth is hitting .255 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs for Washington.

Nats’ Riggleman not worried about job status

In between victories against the Phillies, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he was not worried about his job status. Riggleman is in his second full season as skipper of the Nationals and has an option left on his contract.

Entering Friday’s action against the Diamondbacks, the Nationals are in fifth place with a 25-31 record — nine games behind Philadelphia in the National League East. While Washington’s defense and pitching have improved dramatically, the offense is the reason the team is down in the standings. Its hitting .234, which ranks 28th in the Major Leagues.

Asked if he was concerned about his job being in jeopardy, Riggleman said, “When a ballclub is losing, as a manager, you do what you think is right as far as managing the ballgame and managing a ballclub.

“What consumes my thoughts is winning and, at times, the lack of winning. The repercussions doesn’t enter into it. It’s not an issue. My concern is trying to win ballgames. When we are not winning ballgames, I’m concerned about that.”

General manager Mike Rizzo, who wasn’t available for comment, was asked during Spring Training if Riggleman was in a must-win situation, Rizzo said, “Jim Riggleman is the manager of the ballclub. I have great confidence in him.”

Riggleman replaced Manny Acta as manager of the Nationals after the All-Star break in 2009. The club went 33-42 and finished the year on a seven-game winning streak. Last season, the club went 69-93.

This is Riggleman’s fourth managerial stint, after leading the Padres, Cubs and Mariners. His best season as a skipper was in 1998, when he guided the Cubs to the playoffs after they won a National League Wild Card tiebreaker over the Giants. The team lost to the Braves in the NL Division Series, 3-0.

Thursday’s lineups for Nationals, D-backs



Wednesday’s lineup for Phillies, Nationals

Polanco – 3B
Mayberry – CF
Utley – 2B
Howard – 1B
Francisco – RF
Ibanez – LF
Ruiz – C
Valdez – SS
Oswalt – P

Bernadina – CF
Desmond – SS
Werth – RF
Nix – LF
Morse – 1B
Espinosa – 2B
Ramos – C
Cora – 3B
Lannan – P