WASHINGTON -- Ivan Rodriguez keeps hearing the advice that he needs to slow down and let his strained right oblique heal, and it continues to frustrate him.
Rodriguez landed on the disabled list July 8 after feeling the strain taking batting practice the day before, and has suffered a setback every time he attempted to swing since. He played catch with Livan Hernandez before Tuesday's game against the Reds and felt fine, and anticipates throwing the next few days before attempting to swing a bat again.
"It's hard because I want to play," Rodriguez said. "That's what I love to do -- play baseball -- and it's tough to not be able to. But that's baseball, and injuries are part of it. I've played for a long time, so that's part of baseball. I know Davey [Johnson] will tell me to relax, but that's not me. I've played through pain before."
Rodriguez spent the end of Washington's nine-game road trip at an empty Nationals Park. Each day away from his teammates made it all the more frustrating for Rodriguez, who played less than 100 games only three times through the first 20 years of his career.
The catcher appeared in 39 games as the backup before landing on the disabled list, and he hit .214 with 19 RBIs while throwing out 11 of 23 potential basestealers.
"He doesn't have anything to prove," Johnson said. "It's not like he's trying to make a ballclub. There's no real rush, but he's going to push it anyway."
Lannan expects to start Saturday despite knee
WASHINGTON -- John Lannan does not expect to miss his scheduled start Saturday after experiencing some tightness in his left knee, but he has yet to test it with throwing.
Lannan had trouble pushing off the mound after making an awkward movement to field Wilson Valdez's chopper and glove flip the ball home Saturday. He will throw a bullpen session Wednesday at Nationals Park.
The left-hander ran Tuesday and experienced no discomfort, but the tightness arises when he bends his knee past a certain point in a squatting motion, similar to pushing off a mound.
Johnson names more potential callups
WASHINGTON -- Manager Davey Johnson already said he would like to see Triple-A Syracuse pitchers Tom Milone and Brad Peacock in Washington before the season ends, and he named a few more potential September callups before Tuesday's game.
Outfielders Roger Bernadina and Corey Brown and first baseman Chris Marrero are all on the 40-man roster, playing in Syracuse and potential callups. Johnson also named second baseman Steve Lombardozzi as a player he would like to see.
"As far as I'm concerned, the last six weeks of the season are really important for this organization," Johnson said. "I'm a firm believer that if you develop properly, the byproduct is winning."
Bernadina is hitting .244 between Washington and Syracuse, with 25 extra-base hits and 27 stolen bases. Brown has 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 34 RBIs through 103 games with a .231 average in Triple-A. Lombardozzi has a .314 average, .363 on-base percentage, 24 stolen bases and 75 runs scored through 115 games as a leadoff hitter with both Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.
Marrero is the Nationals' seventh-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, and the hitter who is most Major League ready. He spent the entire season in Syracuse, where he is hitting .309 with 14 homers and 67 RBIs and significantly improved his defense.
Nationals honor military service members
WASHINGTON -- In their first home game since an Aug. 6 helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 30 American soldiers, the Nationals honored all service members throughout Tuesday's opener against the Reds at Nationals Park.
The Nationals wore hats adorned with the insignias of various military branches during batting practice and wore their patriotic navy blue uniforms, which are usually reserved for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Miller High Life deliveryman Windell Middlebrooks was on hand as part of the "Give a Veteran a Piece of the High Life" program and participated in the pregame ceremony, which allowed veterans to deliver the first pitch and lineup card.
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.