Manager Davey Johnson backed off his assertion from earlier in the day that left-handed reliever Sean Burnett could be moved to the disabled list and said Burnett will actually be available tomorrow, in all likelihood.
Nationals doctors prescribed Burnett anti-inflammatory medication, Johnson said, and after he played catch before the game, he felt fine for tomorrow afternoon. “I think he’ll be available tomorrow,” Johnson said.
Burnett admitted to trainers Friday night that he had been feeling elbow tightness for about a month and a half. Johnson reacted initially with extreme caution, not wanting to risk serious injury to the Nationals’ top setup man.
One other lingering injury note: In his final at-bat tonight, all-star shortstop Ian Desmond fell to a knee and winced after taking a swing. He insisted afterward that his left oblique felt fine and that he only grimaced because he was upset for chasing a pitch out of the strike zone.
Earlier in the game, Desmond dove into first base headfirst to beat out a bunt single. Probably the Nationals’ most valuable position player so far, Desmond has played every inning of the past 70 games, even though the soreness convinced him to pull out of the All-Star Game. He said the pain comes and goes, but so far he has been able to manage it fine.
And one final tidbit: Michael Morse is 0 for 8 with six strikeouts in the first two games of the second half after going 21 for 52 to end the first half. ““He’s just in between the fastball and the breaking ball,” Johnson said. “He’s a better hitter than that. He’ll get out of it.”