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Beltway Battle, Part 2


Beltway Battle, Part 2

We have finally reached the final series of the Nationals' 32-game stretch against nothing but NL East and AL East opponents. They've already guaranteed they'll wind up with a winning record during this span, having gone 17-12 to this point, but they'd certainly like to add another couple (or three) victories to the pile this weekend against the Orioles.

The Nats also are motivated to take this series after losing two of three to Baltimore last month in D.C. Jordan Zimmermann did not pitch in that series, so he'll be making his first start of the season against the Orioles tonight (he has faced them three previous times in his career, going 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA).

Jason Hammel (who did face the Nats last month and came away with a win) is on the mound for Baltimore, so Davey Johnson is using his standard lineup against right-handers ... with one twist. Since they're in an American League, Michael Morse will serve as designated hitter for the seventh straight time). Roger Bernadina takes his spot in right field.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to cover tonight's game at Camden Yards. Rich Dubroff will have the full report on CSNwashington.com. Enjoy the game...

Where: Camden Yards
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WJFK (106.7 FM), WTEM (980 AM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 182
Weather: Scattered storms, 87 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF

LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
DH Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Roger Bernadina
C Jesus Flores
(RHP Jordan Zimmermann)

ORIOLES (39-30)
2B Brian Roberts
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
3B Wilson Betemit
1B Mark Reynolds
DH Nick Johnson
LF Steve Pearce
(RHP Jason Hammel)

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Max Scherzer scratched from start against San Diego, heading to DL

Max Scherzer scratched from start against San Diego, heading to DL

Max Scherzer was slated to start against the Padres tonight, but Dusty Baker announced pre-game that Scherzer would be scratched with a neck issue and Matt Grace would take his place on the mound.

Scherzer's neck issue has creeped from one side to the other and it appears to have come out of nowhere. 

Baker later said that he knew something was up with Scherzer when he got to the park earlier than normal. 

Scherzer will head to the 10-day DL, but no corresponding move has been announced.


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Mike Rizzo details the rehabilitation process for Bryce Harper to return for Nationals

Mike Rizzo details the rehabilitation process for Bryce Harper to return for Nationals

When Bryce Harper went down Saturday night during the Nationals' game against the San Francisco Giants, everyone in D.C. stopped breathing for a moment. This was true even for Nats GM Mike Rizzo.

"We've all felt it," Rizzo said. "You get that little pit in your stomach and it's the same feeling I had when [Wilson] Ramos went out."


The Nats' star right fielder was running out a ground ball to first base when his left leg hit a slippery base, causing his knee to hyperextend. Harper immediately went down and grabbed his knee in agony. He eventually had to be helped off the field.

The team has been plagued with injuries this season, from the bullpen to outfielders.

After the initial shock of seeing one of his best players go down with what could have been a season-ending injury, Rizzo told the Sports Junkies he went in 'GM mode.'

"You immediately go to GM mode. We immediately called our farm director, Doug Harris, and made arrangements to get Michael Taylor on a plane. Pull him out of the game in double A, get him on a plane and bring him here because we knew that we needed a player that next day. You know, you gotta change gears quick."

"Then I went down to see Harp in the clubhouse. When I saw him walking up the stairs from the dugout to the clubhouse, I was a little bit relieved. You never know with those injuries. Until you get the MRIs, until you see maybe a day or two later what transpired in there, you have to be cautiously optimistic, I guess that it wasn't an [Adam] Eaton type of thing where you knew immediately that he was gone for the season."

While everyone was waiting to see the severity of Harper's injury, Mike Rizzo and his team were making a game plan.

"You go into your evaluation mode. You look at the depth of your roster. What's next? You get the cabinet together, we were all in the GM box watching the game, so we were all together and kind of put our heads together to try to come up with a plan.

"If it's a light injury, if it's a year-ending injury, what do we do? What are the plans? And you know, you put plans together. If I'm not mistaken it was like the first inning or second inning or something like that. It was early in the game, so we had three hours to lament over it and think about what we're trying to do and put a game plan together kind of on the fly. We literally had Michael Taylor flying into D.C. later that evening so we kind of had to turn things around pretty quickly."

Now that the GM knows Harper's injury is a significant bone bruise, what steps does the team take to get him back on the diamond as soon as possible?

"If I had a time frame for you, I would give it to you. But there's no sense of putting on a time frame because the injury, the bone bruise, has to heal before he can do any type of rehab, stimulated rehab, baseball activities. He's not doing anything below the waist.

"He's doing his workout programs. He's doing all his weight work, all his cardio, all the things he has to do above the waist. But, we don't want him weight-bearing impacting with running and hitting and spinning, you know when you stick a swing and that type of thing, until he feels much much better and he's asymptomatic with the pain in his knee."

Rizzo said Harper will eventually progress to an AlterG treadmill, an anti-gravity treadmill that speeds up the rehabilitation process by supporting as much or as little body weight as needed.