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Sleepy Maldonado ready to help Nats

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Sleepy Maldonado ready to help Nats

Bleary-eyed and with most of his possessions at his apartment in Syracuse, Carlos Maldonado sat inside the Nationals' clubhouse this morning, an attendant helping him adjust his new, red shin guards to make sure they properly fit.

The 33-year-old had caught nine innings yesterday afternoon in Syracuse, then joined his teammates on a nine-hour bus ride to Columbus, Ohio. About halfway through the trip, he got word he was being summoned to Washington after rookie Sandy Leon had suffered a serious ankle injury in his big-league debut. But a traffic jam prevented the Chiefs' bus from arriving until 2 a.m. Maldonado's flight to Washington departed at 5:30 a.m. Upon landing, he came straight to Nationals Park to make sure he'd be in uniform and available to serve as the backup catcher for today's series finale against the Padres.

So, how much sleep did Maldonado get?

"Not much," he said. "But it's worth it."

This isn't Maldonado's first rodeo in the big leagues. He's played in 25 total games with the Pirates (2006-07) and Nationals (2010) but had never been summoned quite in this fashion.

Close friends with Leon, Maldonado was heartbroken to learn last night the 23-year-old had suffered a high right ankle sprain on a collision at the plate and would be placed on the disabled list. This came only two days after starter Wilson Ramos tore the ACL in his right knee, necessitating Leon's promotion.

"Leon called me and gave me the news he was getting called up, and I talked to him a lot," Maldonado said. "He was excited, but it was his first game in the big leagues and he got hurt. I feel bad for him. He's a great guy and a great kid."

Officially, Leon was placed on the 15-day DL. Ramos was then transferred to the 60-day DL, clearing a spot on the Nationals' 40-man roster for Maldonado.

"We're fortunate," manager Davey Johnson said. "I've said it a lot that we have a lot of depth at catching, but this is getting ridiculous."

Maldonado figures to start once or twice a week in place of Jesus Flores, who now takes over as the Nationals' No. 1 catcher. Above all else, though, Johnson has one important plan for the veteran backstop.

"Keep him healthy," the manager said.

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Nationals fall to Padres as four starters sit on the bench

Nationals fall to Padres as four starters sit on the bench

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Schimpf hit a two-run homer and the San Diego Padres broke out the bats, beating the Washington Nationals 5-3 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

The Padres had only one run and six hits with 31 strikeouts in back-to-back losses in games started by Washington's Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg to begin the series. San Diego bounced back by matching its season high with 14 hits, with 12 coming off starter Joe Ross (2-1).

NL home run leader Bryce Harper was among four starters out of the lineup for Washington. The game was delayed 1 hour, 20 minutes by rain.

RELATED: HARPER AMONG 4 NATS' STARTERS OUT VS. PADRES SUNDAY

Four relievers, including Kirby Yates (1-0), pitched 4 2-3 hitless innings following starter Jhoulys Chacin's latest bumpy road appearance. Brandon Maurer worked the ninth for his sixth save.

Chase d'Arnaud had a two-run single and double for the Padres. Franchy Cordero singled in the third for his first major league hit and later doubled.

Daniel Murphy, Jayson Werth and Matt Wieters also did not start for the Nationals. All three entered as pinch hitters, but were retired. Washington opens a nine-game, 10-day road trip Monday afternoon in San Francisco.

Adam Lind drove in two runs. His RBI double in the fifth off Chacin pulled Washington closer at 5-3.

Chacin surrendered three runs on eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. He also had two singles and an RBI.

Ross, who allowed five in four innings plus three batters in the fifth, certainly had two tough acts to follow. Strasburg struck out a career-high 15 in Saturday's 3-0 win after Scherzer fanned 13 in Friday's 5-1 series-opening victory.

San Diego doubled the amount it scored in consecutive losses after just four batters. Following a two-out walk to Wil Myers, Schimpf hit his 13th homer of the season and second in the series.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: RHP Carter Capps (Tommy John surgery) remains on track to face hitters this week, manager Andy Green said.

Nationals: Murphy missed the previous two games due to illness, Chris Speier said Saturday. Speier, serving as acting manager with Dusty Baker away this weekend to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in California, did not meet with the media before Sunday's game.

UP NEXT

Padres: RHP Jarred Cosart (0-1, 4.50 ERA) faces the Cubs at home on Monday.

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (4-2, 4.32) opens a three-game road series against Giants LHP Matt Moore (2-5, 5.28)

More Nationals: NATIONALS PLAYERS VISIT LOCAL LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAMS

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Harper Among 4 Nats' Starters Out Vs. Padres Sunday

Harper Among 4 Nats' Starters Out Vs. Padres Sunday

National League home run leader Bryce Harper is among four starters out of the lineup for the Washington Nationals in their series finale against the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

Daniel Murphy, Jayson Werth and Matt Wieters also did not start for the Nationals, who open a nine-game, 10-day road trip Monday afternoon in San Francisco.

Murphy missed the previous two games due to illness, Chris Speier said Saturday. Speier, serving as acting manager with Dusty Baker away this weekend to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in California, did not meet with the media before Sunday's game.

RELATED: Nationals' Joe Ross to Start Against Team That Drafted Him

Harper is batting .337 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs.

Washington won the first two matchups in the three-game series.

Joe Ross (2-0, 5.32) faces fellow right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (4-4, 5.74) on Sunday.