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Adam Eaton scratched from Nationals lineup; Ryan Zimmerman moved down in order

Ryan Zimmerman has struck out nine times this season. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Ninety minutes before first pitch Tuesday night, the Nationals announced Adam Eaton had been scratched from their starting lineup because of a left ankle bone bruise. That’s the same ankle Eaton injured last April, when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament, and the same ankle he tweaked on a slide in Thursday’s home opener.

Eaton emphasized his ankle was fine within a couple days, commenting that it felt even better than before because the slide dislodged scar tissue and increased mobility in the joint. He was back in Washington’s lineup on Sunday, but didn’t play Monday against the Braves. The Nationals seemingly believed it would be a one-day absence as he was originally penciled in as their leadoff hitter and left fielder Tuesday. Instead, Brian Goodwin will lead off and play left field.

Earlier Tuesday, Dave Martinez made his first notable results-based lineup change as Nationals manager. With Ryan Zimmerman off to a slow start, Martinez dropped the veteran first baseman to fifth in the batting order from the cleanup spot against the Braves. Anthony Rendon was moved down from second to fourth, while Trea Turner was jumped from sixth to second.

The changes were implemented after Zimmerman began the season 3 for 31 with nine strikeouts. On Monday, he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. The first strikeout came after the Braves all-but-intentionally walked Bryce Harper and walked him on four pitches. The second was in the seventh inning after the Braves actually intentionally walked Harper with a runner on second and first base open.

Rendon should provide more protection for Harper, who leads baseball with six home runs and 16 walks. Coincidentally, Martinez was the Cubs’ bench coach two years ago when they infamously pitched around Harper to get to Zimmerman and found success.

“Two things: I wanted to get Turner back up at the top today with Eaton leading off. And then give Zim a little breather.” Martinez said. “Obviously, he’s going to get opportunities with all those guys up there driving in runs. It’s no big issue. I talked with Zim before I did it and he was okay with it so I just wanted to see what it looks like.”

As expected, the Nationals reinstated catcher Miguel Montero from the paternity list Tuesday. To create a spot on the roster, they placed Jhonatan Solano on the disabled list. The club said Solano has bone spurs in his right elbow.

Montero returns as Matt Wieters, the Nationals’ Opening Day catcher, begins a rehab stint a few miles south in Potomac on Tuesday. Wieters has been on the disabled list since April 2 with a left oblique strain. He is eligible for reinstatement Wednesday, though Martinez hinted that Wieters could play two games in Potomac. That would push Wieters’s return to Thursday.

Whenever Wieters returns, the Nationals will have to decide what to do with Pedro Severino, who has played well since replacing Wieters on the roster. Do they send him down to the minors? Do they carry three catchers, which Martinez mentioned is a possibility? Or do they do something else to accommodate the 24-year-old?

Montero is 0 for 11 with two walks in four games this season. He pulled himself out of Thursday’s home opener because, Martinez said, he was dealing with migraines. Despite Montero’s return, Severino is in Tuesday’s starting lineup. He’s 6 for 15 with two doubles, four walks and a stolen base in six games.

Howie Kendrick will be available off the bench after leaving Monday’s game early right leg tightness. The veteran said the move was precautionary.

BRAVES (6-4)
Ender Inciarte CF
Ozzie Albies 2B
Freddie Freeman 1B
Nick Markakis RF
Preston Tucker LF
Dansby Swanson SS
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Carlos Perez C
Mike Foltynewicz RHP

Brian Goodwin LF
Trea Turner SS
Bryce Harper RF
Anthony Rendon 3B
Ryan Zimmerman 1B
Michael A. Taylor CF
Wilmer Difo 2B
Pedro Severino C
Stephen Strasburg RHP

Read more:

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Pedro Severino may have earned himself a permanent spot on the Nationals roster

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