PHILADELPHIA -- Entering Sunday's action, shortstop Ian Desmond is hitting .364 (36-for-99) with three home runs and 11 RBIs while batting in the second spot in the order. Desmond has spent most of the season in the eighth spot, hitting .254.
Asked if he has any regrets not hitting Desmond near the top of the order, manager Jim Riggleman said, "No, not really. Earlier in the year, to ask Desmond to come out of Spring Training as a rookie and produce like that, it would have been asking a lot. It's still a work in progress. We'll see what the future holds. Certainly, he looks more comfortable there."
Strasburg plays catch, not out for season
PHILADELPHIA -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo denied a published report that right-hander Stephen Strasburg is finished for the season.
In fact, before going to Washington to get an MRI on his forearm, Strasburg was able to play catch and didn't have any problems. Manager Jim Riggleman said that it was unlikely that Strasburg would make his next start, although Rizzo said he wanted to wait before making any announcements.
"He did his normal workout this morning, and he is on his way to Washington," Rizzo said.
Strasburg left Saturday's 8-1 victory over the Phillies with a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm, an injury that he had while attending San Diego State University. According to Rizzo, Strasburg pitched through it and stayed in the game while in college.
"He has done it before and pitched through it," Rizzo said.
With the Nationals leading, 5-1, with one out in the fifth, Strasburg was facing Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown. On a 1-1 pitch, Strasburg threw a ball, but was grimacing in pain after the pitch and shaking his right arm.
Strasburg then motioned for the trainer to come to the mound. Riggleman, pitching coach Steve McCatty and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came to see what was wrong with Strasburg, who wanted to stay in the game, but left a few minutes later.
Strasburg threw 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits, striking out six batters and walking none. He threw 56 pitches, including 38 strikes.
It marked the second time Strasburg has suffered an injury. On July 28, Strasburg was scratched from his start against the Braves after experiencing shoulder stiffness during his warmups in the bullpen.
Nationals extend affiliation with Syracuse
PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals announced the signing of a two-year Player Development extension with Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday. In almost two seasons, the Chiefs are 141-131 (.518) since aligning with the Nationals after the 2008 season. Syracuse is one of five International League clubs to own a winning record the last two years.