ATLANTA, April 12 -- Washington Nationals third baseman Vinny Castilla sat out Tuesday night's game against the Atlanta Braves with a sore right shoulder, an injury that he hopes to put behind him by Thursday, when the team plays its first game in the District.
Castilla said he felt pain in the back of his shoulder during batting practice prior to Monday's 11-2 loss to the Braves, but he played through it. He was removed after five innings, when Atlanta had a 7-0 lead.
"I feel like I pulled something in there," he said. "I tried to play through it, and I did it. But Frank [Robinson, the manager] didn't want me to play anymore after they have seven runs. He wanted me to rest today and tomorrow and see if I get better for Opening Day in Washington."
Utility man Jamey Carroll thus made his first start of the year and went 0 for 3. Castilla, bothered only when he throws, pinch hit in the ninth and popped out.
The Nationals will have a decision to make about who to take out of the rotation after Tony Armas Jr. makes three minor league starts to rehabilitate his strained groin. Zach Day has pitched 10 innings and allowed 10 runs, including three homers, for a 9.00 ERA. John Patterson has made only one start, but has a 2.57 ERA. "At some point, you have to go with the hot hand," pitching coach Randy St. Claire said. St. Claire said the club must also consider who could better handle moving to the bullpen.