>>> Ryan Zimmerman will serve as the Nationals designated hitter because interim manager John McLaren wants to give Zimmerman an effective day off while still putting his bat in the lineup. Zimmerman has been doing a lot of extra work with infield coordinator Jeff Garber in tweaking his throwing mechanics.
Zimmerman has played in 10 straight games since he returned from an abdominal tear, and he said he’s feeling fine. “This is just a normal day off,” Zimmerman said. “My body feels great, my arm feels great. I always said when I came back, I’d be ready to go at 100 percent.”
Still, McLaren thought he should be cautious. “I want to get him a break,” he said. “I don’t want to overdo it.”
>>> Wilson Ramos has the day off after catching 14 innings last night. At one point last night, trainers ran to the field to check on Ramos, but today he said there’s nothing wrong. “I don’t know why they came out,” he said. “I was surprised to see them out there.” He was, though, happy to have this one off after last night’s marathon.
>>> McLaren also gave the Nationals batting practice off today. “I felt we needed to get fresh a little bit,” he said.
>>> Every member of the Nationals bullpen will be available today except for Tyler Clippard, who has thrown three days in a row. In fact, if McLaren had stuck around for the entire game last night, “I would not have used him,” McLaren said. The onus today is on starter Tom Gorzelanny, who’s pitching in his hometown. “We need Gorzy to go deep into the game,” McLaren said.
>>> McLaren has control of the team only through the weekend, but he remains comfortable with his position. With the strangeness swirling around him, during the game, “I’m at ease,” McLaren said. “Absolutely. I couldn’t wait for the game to start. Let me tell you: every single night with us, there’s a major decision. We find ways of getting it done, but there’s not any easy decisions. Jim went through this night after night. If that would have been a National League game last night, I’ll be honest with – I don’t sleep last night a whole lot just thinking about if it had been a National League game.”
He admitted the situation was difficult, but also thought players have not been affected. “I don’t think they mean any respect to myself or Jim Riggleman, but they know they have a job to do themselves,” McLaren said.
With that, talk about the game right here.