MIAMI -- John Lannan was named the International League Pitcher of the Week for Aug. 20-26 after a three-hit shutout Saturday, and with Stephen Strasburg's season winding down, it appears the lefty is getting hot at just the right time.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Lannan will make one more start for Triple-A Syracuse, the Chiefs' season finale on Sept. 3, before getting called up to the Majors to replace Strasburg in the Nats' starting rotation.
"I think it's going to pretty much coincide fairly close with Stephen, when he's shut down," Johnson said. "I think the timing, he's lined up almost the same day, so he may have to miss a start."
Johnson said he may have Lannan do work on the side or throw a simulated game rather than put him in the bullpen in the time between his callup and Strasburg's shutdown. That would mean Strasburg, who has thrown 145 1/3 innings entering his start Tuesday, is still on track to finish his season in mid-September.
Johnson remains confident that Lannan is up to the task of filling in for his ace.
"I think he's a great pitcher," Johnson said of Lannan, who is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two big league spot starts this season. "He pitched two great ballgames for us up here, and [it's] nice to see he's throwing well. He's used the time to work on some things. I'm sure he's in a good frame of mind, and it couldn't come at a better time."
Nats' Rizzo, Davey downplay postgame talk
MIAMI -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson cleared the air about their postgame meeting following Sunday's 4-1 loss in Philadelphia, saying it was not a big deal.
Johnson proved that there were no hard feelings as soon as the two sat down in the visitors' dugout at Marlins Park, putting his boss in a headlock and laughing. This came two days after Johnson was overheard shouting, "You come down and manage the team," at Rizzo inside his office.
"It's normal business as usual. I admire Mike because he can get it right out," Johnson said. "I kind of keep it in, but he gets it out and it's over with. I wish I could do that ... vent, and it's over. But his points were well taken."
"It wasn't our first discussion," added Rizzo. "It's not going to be our last. There's nobody with a higher respect level for Davey than me. I love the guy. Two passionate baseball guys that give a darn, and we probably could've picked a better time to go talking to him, but like he said, that's how we do things. We get things in the open, and there's great communication between the two of us, and there's a high level of respect."
Rizzo reminded reporters that he meets with Johnson every day, discussing the positives and negatives of each game. There were just two differences this time around: Rizzo admitted he was probably "a little too emotional," and there just so happened to be reporters within earshot of the conversation.
"I could've probably tabled it to the next morning or the next day, but I didn't. We had a little discussion," Rizzo said. "It lasted two minutes, and then we talked and left the room 15 minutes later. Like I said, it wasn't the first time we discussed things loudly, and it probably won't be the last."
Desmond, Morse return to complete healthy lineup
MIAMI -- Ian Desmond and Michael Morse were in the Nationals' lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Marlins, bringing Washington's lineup back to full health.
Desmond (right hamstring) and Morse (right hand) both got the OK from the club's training staff even before pregame workouts Tuesday, and both reported that they felt well enough to play.
"We've been down a man or two, mostly a man, most of the year," manager Davey Johnson said. "But down two, that's affecting what you can do."
Morse, who was hit by a pitch Friday, said everything was back to normal with his hand, insisting, "I'll be fine." Desmond's status is somewhat less clear, as Johnson said he'll be dealing with the mild right hamstring strain for "probably another couple weeks." The shortstop also admitted he'll have to be mindful of the injury.
"It's not necessarily about testing it," Desmond said. "It's just about trusting it, really -- just going out and playing and realizing that I've got to be smart. An out's an out. I've got to kind of back it down a little bit as far as the energy, maybe sprinting to first on a ground ball or whatever. Just understand that there's a lot of baseball left to play and know that it's not that important to try to put pressure on the defense on an infield hit.
"I'm playing. I'm ready to get back out there. It [stinks] sitting on the bench."
Nats expect few early September callups
MIAMI -- While there are plenty of players the Nationals could call up once the active rosters expand to 40 on Saturday, manager Davey Johnson foresees only a few joining the team immediately.
Johnson said the Nationals will activate injured utility man Mark DeRosa on Saturday, promote a third catcher to free up another bat off the bench and maybe add a player to use as a pinch-runner.
"Those are really the only three critical ones when we expand rosters," Johnson said. "Those three for sure right away."
DeRosa has been on the disabled list since Aug. 6 with a left abdominal strain, although he has remained with the team. The Nats have two main options at catcher to back up Kurt Suzuki and Jesus Flores: Sandy Leon and Jhonathan Solano. Leon is with Triple-A Syracuse, while Solano (left oblique strain) is on a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg.
Johnson did not mention injured pitchers Henry Rodriguez (lower back strain) or Chien-Ming Wang (hip strain) when discussing players who will join the club immediately after the rosters are expanded.