When the Washington Nationals filed into their clubhouse Tuesday afternoon, the posted lineup had Jose Guillen, Brad Wilkerson and Ryan Church in the outfield. No Preston Wilson.
Given that the trade two weeks ago for Wilson was considered a significant upgrade for a faltering offense, this was no small development. But first baseman Nick Johnson's return from the disabled list has forced Brad Wilkerson back into the outfield and created a glut of outfielders for the Nationals.
Asked why Wilson wasn't playing, Manager Frank Robinson said, smiling, "We can only play three of them."
Asked if Church and Wilson will be a center field platoon, Robinson shook his head. No.
"It will be a merry-go-round," he said. "It will be an Earl Weaver merry-go-round.
The former Orioles manager was famous for interchanging players in Baltimore's glory days of the 1970s.
"It worked," Robinson said. "They all got about 500 at-bats."
Byrd's Suspension Is Overturned
General Manager Jim Bowden burst into the clubhouse Tuesday whooping and clapping his hands. He raced straight to Marlon Byrd and told the outfielder that his two-game suspension for bumping into umpire Joe Brinkman on June 4 had been overturned.
Byrd will have to pay the fine he was assessed for the incident. The amount of the fine was undisclosed. "Everything was unintentional," Byrd said. "I'll take the fine."
While it is common for suspensions to be reduced, they are rarely overturned. But Byrd argued successfully to baseball's discipline head, Bob Watson, that he never tried to touch Brinkman and the umpire tumbled to the ground only because he tried to grab Byrd as the player argued with first base umpire Bill Miller. The process took an unusually long time, with the ruling coming three weeks after Byrd's appeal was heard. . . .
Guillen played despite a bruise on his wrist from being hit by a pitch Sunday. The team thought he might miss the entire series.