Asked about the state of his shortstop's injured oblique this afternoon in the pregame press conference with the D.C. press corps, Washington Nationals' skipper Davey Johnson said he'd just spoken to Ian Desmond and decided to give the 26-year-old shortstop another day of rest. "He said, 'You know this is something that I think is going to be lingering all year long and it's not going to get better until the offseason,'" Johnson explained, quoting Desmond, "and I know he wanted to go see how much he could swing and whatever and see how it felt, but I just said, 'I think I'm going to stay off you again.'" Tonight will be the third-straight game Desmond misses while attempting to deal with the oblique issue that's been bothering him for well over a month now. The shortstop decided against going to the All-Star Game when he was selected by NL manager Tony La Russa so that he would get a chance to rest the injury, but in spite of the fact that he went 3 for 8 in his first two games back, the infielder was noticeably bothered by the issue and ultimately unable to even swing without pain in the last game he played against the Marlins.
"If you saw him in the first two games in Miami," Johnson said, "He was grimacing. And I just would rather err on the cautious side. He'll play. He said, 'If we don't win, I'm in there,' and I said, 'Not necessarily.'"
"What we want to do is make sure we get past the point it keeps grabbing him as bad," the Nats' skipper explained. "But, the second game he was down there he had to bunt last time up because he felt like he couldn't swing, so I'm not going to take that chance." Johnson said that the shortstop was going through all kinds of treatment including anti-inflammatory medication, hot packs and even, as the manager explained it, "... some kind of a science-fiction tape, all kinds of stuff on there."
Johnson reiterated that he didn't think the DL was a consideration. Desmond intends to play through it, but when he came back from the All-Star Break it was worse, and going forward, the manager said, "It's just going to be something he's going to have to try to kind of play with." The Nats' manager also told reporters that backup backstop Jhonatan Solano was dealing with an oblique issue, but the catcher would probably be ready to go tomorrow.
• Here's Tonight's Lineup - Desmond:
#Nationals lineup vs. NYM - Lombardozzi 4, Harper 8, Zimmerman 5, Morse 9, LaRoche 3, Moore 7, Espinosa 6, Flores 2, Detwiler 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) July 17, 2012
Game Time 7:05 pm EDT tonight. Nats vs Mets. Detwiler vs Niese. GameThread up at 6:35 pm EDT.