By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 10, 2009
PHOENIX, May 9 -- Catcher Jesús Flores, struck in the right shoulder by a foul ball in the seventh inning, emerged in the winning clubhouse on Saturday night with a thick icepack wrapped around his injuries. X-rays, taken minutes earlier, were negative. But the catcher has a right shoulder contusion and will miss at least a game -- maybe more.
"He was hit pretty hard on that foul tip on top of his shoulder," Manager Manny Acta said.
Though Flores was struck by the ball during Chris Young's at-bat in the seventh, he managed to remain in the game for almost two more innings.
"The adrenaline in that moment, I didn't really feel sore," Flores said.
But the catcher wasn't able to finish the game. In the middle of the ninth inning, as Flores began to have some difficulty throwing, Washington used backup Wil Nieves as a substitute.
"It got me good," Flores said. "I couldn't throw very good, so that's why I was sent out of the game."Minus Walks, a Reach
Leadoff hitters are supposed to get on base. That has not been a problem for Cristian Guzmán. But leadoff hitters also are supposed to draw walks, and that is something Guzmán does as infrequently as anybody in the sport.
Since returning from the disabled list on April 29, Guzmán -- the Washington Nationals' swing-crazy shortstop -- has been thrust atop the batting order, an unusual role that he has adapted to as only he knows how. In the last five games, entering Saturday -- all multi-hit games -- Guzmán has 12 hits in 28 at-bats (.429), boosting his season batting average to .392.
The neighboring category in his stat line, though, reminds why Guzmán needs such productivity to reach base with the kind of regularity expected of a leadoff hitter.
He has a .392 on-base percentage, but he has not walked in his 79 at-bats. San Francisco's Bengie Molina is the only other player in baseball with at least 75 at-bats who hasn't drawn a walk.Familiar Faces
Washington's three-game series in Phoenix has afforded the team a reunion with several former players.
On Friday, former relief pitchers Ray King and Chad Cordero came to Chase Field to catch up with some familiar faces. On Saturday, Aaron Boone -- who six weeks ago underwent open-heart surgery -- walked into the Nationals' clubhouse for a visit. Boone, who played for Washington last year and signed with Houston during the offseason, needed the surgery because of a long-diagnosed heart condition.