Ian Desmond will play despite a nagging injury to his side


(Winslow Townson/GETTY IMAGES)

Desmond – the “ironman” of the team, as Johnson put it – has been just that, playing in every one of the Nationals’ 62 games except one. He is third on the team in hitting (.266 batting average), second in RBI (32) and third in on-base plus slugging percentage (.736) – while adding strong defense.

But, oblique injuries have been a curse to the Nationals this season, and can often, if serious enough, keep players out for weeks. Adam LaRoche missed a few games with an oblique injury this season and Mark DeRosa’s strain required surgery. Xavier Nady even flirted with an oblique injury.

Johnson has had a short leash even with minor injuries, for example, not allowing Stephen Strasburg to pitch because of a cut on his finger. Desmond stretched out his side enough to still be kept in Saturday’s lineup. Johnson, however, suggested the shortstop could be given a day off Sunday, which would give him two straights days of rest with Monday’s day off.

“I guess everyone has an oblique, it seems like that’s the injury this year,” Johnson said. “…I did talk to Desi and he said he felt better yesterday and he was in the hot tub early. My tendency is always to nip it in the bud.”

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James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.
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