Washington Nationals' manager Davey Johnson sat Nats' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman last night for the series opener with the New York Mets as the team and their third baseman have been taking a cautious approach to the hamstring injury which is keeping him out of the lineup Johnson was tempted to use the right-handed bat as a pinch hitter in last night's game, but decided against it. "There's an awful temptation to hit Zim," the 70-year-old skipper told reporters after the 7-1 loss to NY, "But with his leg, I couldn't take a chance on that." The Nats and Zimmerman have downplayed the significance of the hamstring issue with the infielder saying it's too early in the season to risk suffering a more severe injury.
"Zim, he's been nursing that hammy," Johnson explained before Friday night's game, "It's his left hammy that's been bothering him and it tightened up, I think it was the eighth and ninth inning yesterday, and he's still having a little problem with it so it's going to be a cool night, I figured if I played him tonight I'd be taking a chance and he definitely wouldn't play tomorrow, so let's just try to nip it in the bud on him." When the Nats announced their lineup for this afternoon's game in Citi Field, which is being covered by FOX, Zimmerman was out again with Chad Tracy filling in at third. One injured National is returning to the lineup, however:
Davey's Lineup, Sat at NYM/G17: Span cf, Werth rf, Harper lf, LaRoche 1b, Desmond ss, Tracy 3b, Espinosa 2b, Suzuki c, Gonzalez lhp— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) April 20, 2013
Second baseman Danny Espinosa hasn't played since he left last Sunday's game against the Atlanta Braves early after taking a HBP on the wrist from left-hander Paul Maholm. The injury caused the Nats' infielder to miss all three games and Miami and the series opener in New York last night. After 12 games and 43 plate appearances this season, the 25-year-old switch hitter is 7 for 40 (.175/.233/.350) with four doubles and a home run so far this season as he attempts to play with a torn rotator cuff suffered late in last year's run at the team's first postseason appearance.
Espinosa's back in action this afternoon, facing Mets' right-hander Jeremy Hefner, against whom he's 4 for 8 with a double and two home runs in eight ABs. Game time 3:05 pm EST from Flushing, Queens, where Gio Gonzalez will make his fourth start of the season. In three starts in the Mets' home before today's, Gonzalez is (2-0) with a 0.90 ERA, eight walks (3.60 BB/9) and 18 Ks (8.10 K/9) in 20 innings on the mound in Citi Field.