BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 22: Manager Davey Johnson #5 of the Washington Nationals looks on during batting practice of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 22, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
The Washington Nationals are back in the nation's capital tonight for a 6:35 pm EDT game with the NL West's first-place San Francisco Giants. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson's lineup for the series-opening game has Steve Lombardozzi leading off against the two-time Cy Young Award-winning Giants' right-hander. Though Johnson told reporters recently that 1B/OF Tyler Moore has hit well enough that they're considering playing him against left-and-right-handers, Lombo, who has a .285/.340/.375 line against RHP this season, is leading off and playing left. (Moore is 9 for 23 vs RHP so far this year.) Nothing else really notable about tonight's lineup...
The Nats' three All-Star reps, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Ian Desmond all spoke to the D.C. press corps this afternoon about being selected to participate in the 2012 edition of the mid-summer classic, but the big message they had to pass on dealt with their advocacy on the part of their 19-year-old teammate, Bryce Harper...
Let's get Harp into the all star game Nats fans! #ASG12— Stephen Strasburg (@stras37) July 3, 2012
Davey Johnson, however, joined Harper in "sandbagging" the effort to get Harper elected via MLB's Final Vote by echoing the young outfielder's opinion that Chipper Jones deserves to be in the All-Star Game, period...:
More Davey (who also asked if the Final Vote was mail-in ballots) -"I think Chipper should be in it, period, not somebody with 200 at-bats."— Amanda Comak (@acomak) July 3, 2012
Davey on voting for Harper: "I go online for a lot of reasons, and that's not one of them."— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 3, 2012
• In the one other bit of non-Harper-related news to come out of the pregame activities, there are reports from Nats Park this afternoon that 24-year-old right-hander Drew Storen will begin a rehab assignment on Thursday with a return immediately after the All-Star break still the goal for the '09 1st Round pick:
Drew Storen will begin a rehab assignment on Thursday. He'll make four appearances and will return to #Nats after AS break— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) July 3, 2012