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Notes: Vidro looks toward 200609/25/2005 2:50 PM ET
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Second baseman Jose Vidro has set high goals for the 2006 season. He wants to be the leading candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year and have his best season since 2002, when he hit .315 with 19 home runs and 96 RBIs for the Expos.
The 2005 season has been Vidro's worst as a regular. Entering Sunday's action, he has played in only 85 games because of injuries and is hitting .274 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. Dealing with a sore right knee, he is not sure if he will start another game. As of now, he will make only pinch-hit appearances.
"It has been very disappointing," said Vidro. "This was the season [in which] I was hoping to come back and be the player that I was a couple of years ago."
Vidro doesn't think he will need surgery on the knee. He believes that rest and exercise on a regular basis will do the trick.
Injury report: Reliever Luis Ayala will not accompany the Nationals this week to Miami, and instead will have surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow.
Ayala made his last appearance of the season on Sept. 22, against the Giants, and pitched one shutout inning. It was only his second appearance during the month of September. He admitted that he was in pain during that outing.
The young guns: After the last day of the regular season, the Nationals are hoping to give third baseman Ryan Zimmerman two weeks off before he heads to the Arizona Fall League, which kicks off on Oct. 4.
Zimmerman has had a long season -- playing college and Minor League baseball before being called up to the big leagues on Sept. 1.
Zimmerman will start at third base in the AFL, and the goal is for him to continue to hit offspeed pitches.
During the two-week stretch in which Zimmerman is off, the team is hoping that infielder Tony Blanco can get some action in the AFL.
Blanco has looked overmatched since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 5. He has been hitless in his last 23 at-bats, and has appeared in only 17 games in the second half of the season.
Blanco believes that he needs to play every day in order to be effective.
"It's a little tough when you don't play every day, especially me," said Blanco. "I would prefer going to Triple-A if I'm going to play every day. That's the way I am going to find myself."
Blanco had one of his worst games of the year on Saturday, making two errors at first base and going 0-3 with two strikeouts.
Did you know? Vidro, Jose Guillen and Brian Schneider are the only members of the Nationals to have hit extra-inning home runs. They each have one.
Stat of the day: Entering Sunday's action, the Nationals are 57-54 against right-handed pitching and 21-23 against left-handed pitching.
On deck: The Nationals travel to Miami to play a three-game series against the Marlins. The last time these two teams met was in early September, with the Marlins taking two out of three at RFK Stadium. Overall, the Nationals are 6-9 against the Marlins this season.
In Game 1, Hector Carrasco will face the Marlins for the fifth time this season. He has a 2.45 ERA against them.
Last Thursday, Carrasco made his third consecutive start and shut out the Giants for 5 2/3 innings. He struck out a career-high eight batters and walked four. As a starter, he has given up two runs in 15 2/3 innings (1.15 ERA) and struck out 17. He has taken a liking to his new role, and would like to be strictly a starter next season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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