Nationals right fielder Jose Guillen will travel to Birmingham today to get a second opinion on his injured left shoulder from renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews. An MRI exam taken late Saturday night revealed a "possible, small, partial tear of the rotator cuff," Nationals orthopedic physician Wiemi Douoguih said.

General Manager Jim Bowden said he expected Guillen, who sat out the final two games of the series with the San Diego Padres, to miss the upcoming series at Houston and perhaps the following series at Colorado as well.

"Knowing him, he's going to want to play," Bowden said. "But we're going to have to get that shoulder to calm down a little bit so that we can get his production up. Having him in there is one thing. Having him in there and being productive is another."

Guillen has repeatedly described his shoulder as "dead" recently and said yesterday that if Andrews recommended surgery, he would strongly consider it.

"I'm going to do what's best for me, my family and the team," Guillen said. "I have a long future ahead of me. I'm going to do whatever's best."

Douoguih said that while surgery is a possibility, he thinks rest might be the best solution.

"My suspicion is that nothing's going to be done," Douoguih said. "But we just have to wait and see."

Designated Hitter

Outfielder Matt Cepicky, who went 1 for 8 on the homestand, will be designated for assignment today and the Nationals will recall outfielder Brandon Watson from Class AAA New Orleans. Watson is hitting .358 with 27 stolen bases for the Zephyrs and Manager Frank Robinson said he would play on Tuesday in Houston.

"He's not a slap-and-judy hitter, like people think," Bowden said. "This guy hits the ball."

Cepicky, who has been sent to the minors eight times since 2001, could be claimed by another team. "I don't understand why me going down is going to help this team win," he said.