After Ian Desmond started the Nationals’ first 57 games, he received a day off Thursday afternoon against the Phillies. Manager Matt Williams had been looking for a game to let Desmond rest. With a restart after a rain delay Wednesday night and a West Coast trip looming, Williams decided Desmond could use the rest now.
“He came in last night a little tight after,” Williams said. “It’s a good day to get him a rest. You get beat up out there.”
With Desmond out of the lineup, Danny Espinosa will play shortstop. With Espinosa shifted over, Anthony Rendon will move from third and play second, and Kevin Frandsen starts at third base.
Williams said Frandsen has more recent experience at third base. He also said Rendon may “have to” play second base once Bryce Harper returns, so he wanted to take the chance to keep him fresh at the position.
Williams notably declined to move left fielder Ryan Zimmerman back into the infield for a game. Williams said Zimmerman remains “early in the process of his throwing program,” and so he does not want to ask Zimmerman to make the throw across the diamond. Williams also thinks Zimmerman’s right thumb will be less at risk in the outfield.
“I think he’s playing left field fine, too,” Williams said. “We just want to have his bat in the lineup.”