Matt Williams decided to finally give the 28-year-old shortstop a day off today after Desmond went 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored in last night's 8-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, leaving him with a .225/.295/.413 line, six doubles and 11 HRs in 241 plate appearances. Williams said it was in part because Desmond played all nine innings of the rain-interrupted game and also because it was the only chance to get a day off before the Nats' upcoming road trip.
"Just going last night, shutting her down, going again, every game," Williams said. "He came in last night a little tight after, so it's a good day to give him a rest. We don't have another off day until the end of the road trip, and going west, so it's a good day for him."
Asked if there was any specific issue bothering Desmond, the Nats' skipper said that it was more general.
"Just his body," Williams said. "You get beat up out there."
• Here's the Nationals' lineup for the series finale with the Phillies:
With Desmond out, Danny Espinosa moves over to short, Kevin Frandsen in playing third and Anthony Rendon is playing second. Williams said it was an opportunity for the Nationals to get Rendon some work at second since he might be moving back over there in the near future.
"[Frandsen] over the last couple of years with Philly, has played mostly third and first," the Nationals' manager said.
"His natural position is second, but I think there's a number of [reasons]. One, hopefully, it won't be too long that Anthony may have to play second base. That would mean that Harper is back. So, we want to, if we get a chance get him over there. Two, he's accustomed to doing it, he's got good range, they've got a lot of lefties in the lineup, so, all of things come into play."
Asked if Ryan Zimmerman, who's playing left today, is an option at third base now, Williams said he was, but they're keeping him in left for now.
"He's an option," Williams said. "Again, he's early in the process of this throwing program too, but yeah, he's an option. I'm sure at some point he'll be in there. But I think he's playing left field fine too. We just want to have his bat in the lineup."
Williams was sure, however, that Zimmerman could play third now if he was asked to, but they want him to work out in left for now while he continues his throwing program as he recovers from the thumb injury which kept him out of the lineup from the second week of April until earlier this week.
"If he came back into third base, he's been doing it a long time, it's not like it's going to be foreign," Williams explained. "But we have to be mindful too, of one; his thumb, two; his shoulder, and he continues his process every day, so like I said, at some point he's going to be back in there anyway."
|PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES||WASHINGTON NATIONALS|
|Ben Revere - CF||Denard Span - CF|
|Jimmy Rollins - SS||Anthony Rendon - 2B|
|Chase Utley - 2B||Jayson Werth - RF|
|Ryan Howard - 1B||Adam LaRoche - 1B|
|John Mayberry - RF||Ryan Zimmerman - LF|
|Domonic Brown - LF||Kevin Frandsen - 3B|
|Wil Nieves - C||Danny Espinosa - SS|
|Reid Brignac - 3B||Jose Lobaton - C|
|Kyle Kendrick - RHP||Doug Fister - LHP|
Game Time: 4:05 pm EDT. Fister vs Kendrick