• Out Of Lineup: A death in Danny Espinosa's family has him out of the lineup tonight. Michael Morse had x-rays on his left hand/wrist and told reporters this afternoon that the results were negative. CSNWashington and NatsInsider.com reporter Mark Zuckerman wrote on Twitter this afternoon @MarkZuckerman that, "Morse says he has a bone bruise on L hand. Doesn't know timetable for return but relieved it's nothing more serious." Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak wrote this afternoon (@acomak) added that, "Michael Morse said the MRI revealed a bone bruise in his left hand. X-rays were negative. Has to rest, try to get it to calm down." The Times' Nats beat reporter also noted that Sean Burnett, who's been resting a sore elbow, is available out of the pen tonight if he should be needed.
• Cool Hand: John Lannan returns to the majors for the third time in 2012 tonight as he rejoins the rotation in place of the recently shut down Stephen Strasburg, taking the mound in Citi Field against New York Mets and rookie right-hander Matt Harvey in the series finale. Lannan, 27, an '05 11th Round pick out of Siena College and Long Beach, NY had 128 starts at the major league level for the Nationals before this season when he was sent to Triple-A at the end of Spring Training and remained there for most of the year, making just two spot starts in doubleheaders and winning both while posting a 3.46 ERA, 4.10 FIP, seven walks and seven Ks in 13.0 IP for Washington.
At Triple-A Syracuse, Lannan had a 4.30 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 50 walks (3.03 BB/9) and 87 Ks (5.27 K/9) in 33 starts and 148.2 IP over which he was (9-11) for the Nationals' top affiliate.
Lannan ended the season with back-to-back complete game shutouts, however, and when D.C. GM Mike Rizzo was asked this morning on The Mike Rizzo Show with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier what he expected from the left-hander on the mound tonight he said, "I expect him to be John Lannan. And John Lannan for the last couple years with us has been an extremely effective major league starter. He's a guy that pitches within himself. He's a ground ball/contact type of guy and with the defense that we have and the moxie that Lannan has... you know, this is a tested major league starting pitcher with a sub-4.00 ERA for his career and [he] had a terrific year for us last year and won ten ball games in the big leagues for us last year, so this is no rookie that we're running out there who's going to be in awe of the major league stage."
You can hear the rest of 106.7 the FAN In D.C.'s The Mike Rizzo Show below. Here's tonight's starting lineup:
#Nationals lineup at NYM - Werth 9, Harper 8, Zimmerman 5, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Bernadina 7, Suzuki 2, Lombardozzi 4, Lannan 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 12, 2012
• Listen to The Mike Rizzo Show With Holden Kushner And Danny Rouhier: