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Desmond could return Tuesday

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Desmond could return Tuesday

MIAMI -- Ian Desmond's lingering oblique strain is improving, and the Nationals are hoping their All-Star shortstop can play Tuesday night against the Mets in Washington.

"That's what he and I are both hoping for," manager Davey Johnson said before tonight's series finale against the Marlins.

Desmond, who skipped his first trip to the All-Star Game to rest an injury that has bothered him more than a month, played the first two games out of the break over the weekend but had to sit out Sunday afternoon's contest. He thought he might be available tonight but understands another day off might do him good.

"In the last couple days, it was pretty sore," Desmond said. "We are inside. It's not 100 outside anymore. Things like are a factor, I think. It feels better today. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Desmond has been taking anti-inflammatory medication and has been receiving treatment from Nationals massage therapist Tatiana Tchamouroff, who accompanied the club on this road trip.

"He said he could probably play today, but I don't want to take a chance," Johnson said. "He's too valuable to the ballclub to go out there and do something spectacular and hurt himself. So, hopefully we'll get by the danger period with another day off."

Danny Espinosa again started at shortstop Monday night, with Steve Lombardozzi at second base.

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2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

Back in the olden days, cotton candy or a plate of nachos were considered bold ballpark snacks. Thankfully, the olden days are over, and a new era of ballpark food has begun.

And in this era, a menu item isn't considered complete until it's fried, sandwiched between something else and then finally drizzled with some sort of sauce. 

So, what's on the menu for 2017? Well, peanuts, hot dogs and apple pie nachos, of course.

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

With a new season about to begin, CSNmidatlantic.com has identified 10 of the most eye-popping and artery-clogging foods available around Major League Baseball in 2017. To see them, simply click on the link above or below to open our gallery (no fork and knife necessary).

After all, while peanuts and Cracker Jack are cute, they simply can't match up with a hot dog topped with bacon and a fried egg. 

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

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Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team's opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation. 

Scherzer has been the team's starter on opening day for the past two seasons, but a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger caused him to miss the start of spring training, and the World Baseball Classic. 

Scherzer did, however, make his first MLB spring training start of 2017 on Wednesday. The 2016 NL Cy Young award winner allowed two earned runs on five hits over 4.2 innings. He added four strikeouts and one walk, and reportedly looked just like you would expect from Max Scherzer. 

"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes, that's a great first outing," Scherzer told Eddie Matz of ESPN after the game. "Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now."

With Scherzer set to open the season as the third starter in the rotation, that likely means that Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day against the Miami Marlins, and Tanner Roark will slot in behind him. 

While it's nice to have your ace pitcher starting on opening day, it's not a huge deal to have Scherzer start the season third in the rotation, especially because the Nationals starting rotation is the strength of the team

RELATED: Nationals' Tanner Roark pitches four scoreless innings to help Team USA beat Japan in WBC