Brian Schneider is fine catching Livan Hernandez's 90-mph fastball in front of 45,596 fans. But President Bush?
"I told him, 'Hey, I'm a little nervous,' " the Washington Nationals catcher said. "He said, 'Oh, no reason to be nervous. It's going to be all right.' After that, I didn't doubt him at all. If he tells me it's going to be all right, then it is."
Schneider is a collector of autographed baseballs, and though he didn't get the actual first pitch signed, he had Bush autograph another one.
"It's very special," Schneider said. "It's going to be great to put that one up on the wall."
Day in the Pen
Right-hander Zach Day, who was replaced by John Patterson in the rotation for tomorrow's game, said he will deal with his new role in the bullpen. "I'm excited to get out there and work out of the pen," Day said. "If I can help this team from there, and we keep winning, then that's fine." . . .
Third baseman Vinny Castilla's 3-for-3, four-RBI performance came after he sat out two days with a shoulder strain suffered in batting practice Monday.
The injury bothered Castilla when he threw, but not when he hit, but he tested his arm before declaring himself ready last night. "I feel good," he said. "I didn't want to miss this."