Reliever King Heads to DL; Rivera Returns

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 13, 2007

ATLANTA, April 12 -- The Washington Nationals placed left-hander Ray King on the 15-day disabled list Thursday, recalling right-hander Saul Rivera in a move that leaves the team's seven-man bullpen with only one lefty.

King, who left Tuesday's loss to the Atlanta Braves with shoulder inflammation, had an MRI exam of his shoulder Thursday, and the results were encouraging -- tendinitis, but no structural damage. King hopes to be playing catch by Monday, and said he would like to be back on a mound on April 26 or 27 -- when he would be eligible to come off the disabled list.

King has been on the disabled list only once in his nine-year major league career, and that was from a freak accident in 2002, when he banged his elbow. He said Thursday he didn't know quite how to handle it.

"That was the hardest part about this," King said. "Never been hurt, never know what to expect. I'm asking everybody around: 'Have you ever had this? Have you ever had that?' "

King's absence leaves Micah Bowie as the only lefty in the bullpen.

A. Jones in D.C.?

Given the Nationals' situation, even April isn't too early to start wondering about what free agents the club might pursue when its payroll expands for 2008. One logical possibility: Atlanta center fielder Andruw Jones, whose deal with the Braves expires at the end of this season.

Jones -- who will likely command something approaching or exceeding the eight-year, $136 million deal Alfonso Soriano signed with the Chicago Cubs last offseason -- is familiar with Nationals President Stan Kasten and bench coach Pat Corrales, who both had long tenures with the Braves.

"My love is here in Atlanta," Jones said before Thursday's game. "I will do my best to be here. But it's a business. Anything can happen."

Jones won't suffer from a shortage of pursuers. But if he leaves the National League East, he might not be able to whip up on the Nationals as much. In 166 career games against Montreal and Washington, he has 46 homers and 131 RBI -- his highest totals against any opponent.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company