Washington Nationals outfielder Brad Wilkerson said yesterday that a nerve problem in his right arm -- an injury that has bothered him for a month and prevented him from starting three games against the Florida Marlins over the weekend -- could plague him all year and will alter his preparation methods.
"I'm the type of guy who likes to take a lot of warmup swings," he said. "I might have to cut back on that a little bit."
Wilkerson said depending on how he feels from day to day he may have to take less batting practice as well. He was back in the lineup for last night's game against Oakland. Though Wilkerson has a reputation for wanting to play every day, he said knowing he will be replaced by Marlon Byrd or Ryan Church -- both hitting better than .300 -- makes it a bit easier.
"I've got to realize we've got guys in this clubhouse who can play, and if I'm not feeling good, I've got to let them go out and play," he said. "It's just a growing-up process."
Wilkerson, who leads the National League in doubles with 22, went 1 for 4 in last night's 2-1 win, striking out twice. He now has more strikeouts (59) than hits (58).
Extra Time Off the Mound
Though today marks five days since Livan Hernandez's last start, the Nationals took advantage of Monday's day off to give both Hernandez and Esteban Loaiza extra days off. Loaiza, whose regular turn fell last night, will start tonight's game, and Hernandez -- who threw 150 pitches against Florida on Friday night -- will pitch tomorrow. "An extra day will help them both," Manager Frank Robinson said. . . .
Robinson isn't a fan of interleague play because his players aren't familiar with the opposing personnel. "That's always very difficult, and there's a little adjustment period in there." The Nationals' next 11 games are against American League clubs. . . . Fourteen Nationals pitchers have posted wins this season, the most in the majors. Luis Ayala has five, second on the staff and tied for the most of any major league reliever prior to last night's games.