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Notes: Byrd could face $1,000 fine
06/08/2005 7:03 PM ET
WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Marlon Byrd is still awaiting word of his punishment after knocking down second base umpire Joe Brinkman last Saturday against the Marlins.

But according to a team source, Byrd likely will be suspended one game and fined $1,000.

Byrd knocked down Brinkman following the sixth inning. Byrd was ejected after arguing with first base umpire Bill Miller, who called Byrd out on a swinging strike. Byrd ran from shallow left field to argue with Miller.

But Brinkman, who is the crew chief, tried to grab Byrd and was knocked to the ground. Nationals trainer Tim Abraham and Marlins trainer Sean Cunningham attended to Brinkman, who suffered a scrape on his right forehead, but remained in the game.

Soon thereafter, manager Frank Robinson scolded Byrd for not thinking about the team, which was short a position player at the time. Robinson told Byrd not to lose his cool and always go back to his position.

In an exclusive interview with on Wednesday, Byrd said he spoke to Brinkman recently and told him that he didn't mean to knock him down. Byrd also is grateful that Brinkman was in great spirits and took the accident in stride.

"With [Brinkman] going down, that was something nobody wanted. There was no intent to have him go on the ground or go near him," Byrd said. "I was yelling at [Bill Miller]. I saw Brinkman the last second and tried to move out the way, but then I hit his arm. I was running by him and he stuck his arm out.

"Brinkman told me that he could tell I wasn't looking at him. I saw him the last second. That's why I dodged him. He knows I wasn't trying to hit him."

While the replay shows that Byrd did indeed check his swing, the outfielder doesn't fault Miller for striking him out.

"He said he saw me go around. It's the human element of the game. He doesn't have a replay. You just have to accept it," Byrd said.

Welcome to the club: The Nationals introduced third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to the media on Wednesday afternoon. Scouting director Dana Brown gave Zimmerman a Nationals hat and a uniform, which had No. 1 on it.

Zimmerman is expected to join Double-A Harrisburg after attending his younger brother's graduation on Saturday.

Zimmerman, who signed his contract worth $2.975 million in front of his parents and the media, took a tour of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium and met Brad Wilkerson and Livan Hernandez for the first time.

Injury report: Jamey Carroll was scratched from Wednesday's game because of a sore left ankle. Carroll hurt the ankle on Tuesday after grounding out to shortstop in the fifth inning. The ankle turned while he stepped in the base.

The team noticed that Carroll was still running gingerly during batting practice on Wednesday.

Carroll said he hopes to return to action the next day against the A's. Carlos Baerga started at second base on Wednesday against the Athletics. ...

Second baseman Jose Vidro will have the protective boot on his left ankle removed this weekend and be reevaluated. He is currently on the disabled list because a high ankle sprain and torn peroneal tendon outside the ankle. Vidro most likely will not return until after the All-Star break. ...

Infielder Henry Mateo practiced at second base for the first time since being placed on the disabled list because of a right shoulder tendinitis on May 15. He will continue to practice at the position the rest of the week and will be reevaluated. ... Reliever Joey Eischen, on the 60-day disabled list, because of a broken right radius, had his first bullpen session on Wednesday and threw 30 pitches. He said still needs to strengthen the right arm.

"My fastball was up in the zone. My breaking balls were pretty much where I wanted them. I threw everything. I like the way everything came out of my hand," Eischen said.

The left-hander will travel with the Nationals on their next road trip and then go to New Orleans on a rehab assignment.

Eischen is expected to be activated by the end of the month.

Minor transaction: After Wednesday's game, the Nationals outrighted left-handed reliever C.J. Nitkowski to Triple-A New Orleans and will select the contract of infielder Rick Short on Thursday.

Nitkowski's job was to get left-handed hitters out, but he was mediocre at the role. He posted a 8.10 ERA in seven games out of the bullpen. Nitkowski said he is not sure if he will go to the Minor Leagues.

Nitkowski's departure means that the Nationals have an all-right-handed bullpen.

Short, who was hitting .341 with five home runs and 30 RBIs for New Orleans this year, has never played in a big-league game. He is a career .312 Minor League hitter entering this season, but some say that below-average defense has prevented him from playing in the big leagues.

Mad as hell: Outfielder Jose Guillen was not happy that he was hit on the right hand by a Keiichi Yabu pitch in the fifth inning on Wednesday. He was yelling at Yabu until Robinson came out of the dugout to calm him down.

According to Guillen, Robinson tried to take him out of the game because of the hand injury, but Guillen declined. Both Guillen and Robinson were seen exchanging words for about one minute.

"They wanted to take me out and I was so mad," said Guillen. "Sometimes, when you get hit, you want to stay in the game. You hope that when somebody hits a groundball, you go as hard as you can. There's nothing against me and Frank. Let's not go there."

The bottom of Guillen's hand was swollen after the game and he's questionable for Thursday's contest.

Stat of the day: The Nationals relievers have 12 victories, which ranks second in the Major Leagues. Set-up man Luis Ayala has five of those victories.

Did you know: In Tuesday's 2-1 victory against the Athletics, the Nationals went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

On deck: The Nationals play the third game of a three-game series against Athletics on Thursday night at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

Hernandez will be the starter for the Nationals. Hernandez, who is looking to win his seventh straight decision, will face the Athletics for the fourth time in his career. He is 1-2 with a 5.75 ERA against them.

In his last start, Hernandez pitched nine innings, threw 150 pitches and gave up two runs against the Marlins on June 3. He didn't figure in the decision as the Nationals won the game, 3-2, in 11 innings.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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