On July 5, the Washington Nationals still led the National League East and still seemed to be the best story in baseball. On that night, though, New York Mets right-hander Pedro Martinez hit Washington right fielder Jose Guillen with a pitch, infuriating Guillen so much that he had a confrontation with teammates Esteban Loaiza and Brian Schneider in the dugout between innings because Loaiza hadn't hit a Mets batter.
Saturday night, Guillen will face Martinez again, this time at Shea Stadium. Guillen said Friday that the incident is behind him.
"We're pretty good friends, me and Pedro," Guillen said. "I don't know. Sometimes, he gets where he likes to pitch like that. But I know Pedro a long time ago. We have a great relationship. That's it.
"When that kind of thing happens, sometimes I get mad. That doesn't mean I got no respect for Pedro. I got respect for him."
The Nationals and Loaiza beat Martinez, 3-2, the only game they won in the four-game series at RFK Stadium that marked the beginning of their month-long swoon. Asked if he had any concerns about Guillen being too riled up to face Martinez, Nationals Manager Frank Robinson said: "Not any on my part. I hope there's not on his part. Just go out and play baseball. And hope Pedro's not out there fooling around, trying to test somebody, either. Let's go out and play baseball."
Slumping Drese to Get Skipped
Right-hander Ryan Drese, 0-5 with a 7.34 ERA in his last six starts, will be skipped in the rotation next week, and his next start will likely come Aug. 27 against St. Louis. Monday's day off allows the Nationals to skip Drese, who reiterated Friday that he is leaving too many pitches high. "That doesn't cut it in the big leagues," he said. Drese could be used in long relief before his next start. . . .
Outfielder Brad Wilkerson said he felt a twinge in his left hamstring while stretching in the on-deck circle Thursday in Philadelphia. The leg was heavily wrapped after Friday's 1-0 loss to the Mets, but Wilkerson said he expected to be able to play through it.