06/22/08 1:55 AM ET
Johnson still feeling soreness in wrist
On DL since May 15, Nats first baseman suffers another setback
By Zach Osterman / MLB.com
This marks the latest setback for Johnson, who tore a tendon sheath in the wrist and has been on the disabled list since May 15. Johnson had the cast removed about three weeks ago, but continuing soreness forced the wrist to be recasted. He had it removed again on June 15, but more pain in the wrist will now force Johnson to get a second opinion.
"We're gonna get another opinion, just to make sure there's nothing else he can do at this point," Bowden said. "That's a bit discouraging that he's not feeling any better after all this time."
Johnson said after Saturday's 13-3 loss that he's not frustrated by his recent setbacks. He said he's looking forward to getting a second opinion on his wrist so it can get healed as quickly as possible.
"Just keep pushing forward, find out what it is, take care of it and move on," Johnson said of his ailing wrist.
The Nationals got more bad news when Minor League first baseman Chris Marrero, the Nats' top hitting prospect, broke his right fibula and tore ligaments sliding into home Wednesday. Marrero will miss the rest of the season, Bowden said.
"He's going to need surgery to repair the ligaments, as well as the fibula bone," Bowden said. "It's disappointing, because he had really come on strong the last month after a slow start."
Bowden said he didn't think Marrero's injury would affect his development as a player, but he said that it would obviously slow the young right-hander's path to the Majors. Marrero hit .250 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in 70 games this year.
"He's on the fast-track [to get to Washington]," Bowden said of Marrero. "It's a setback, there's no question about it, but it's part of the game."
On a more positive note, Bowden said the Nationals expect left-hander Odalis Perez to make his next start. Perez has been on the DL with tendinitis in his left shoulder. Perez threw a rehab start at Class A Potomac on Saturday. He went four innings, giving up three hits and one run while striking out five. He threw 56 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Bowden also said injured right fielder Austin Kearns could be ready to go on a rehab assignment as soon as Thursday. That revelation came one day after Manny Acta spoke optimistically about Kearns' progress. Acta added that any rehab assignment Kearns went out on would likely be lengthy, so that Kearns could get enough at-bats to get back to his regular playing level after missing more than month because of right elbow surgery.
Right-hander Ryan Wagner has a blister on his right ring finger, but he's not too worried about it at present. Wagner, who came up to Washington from extended spring training on the last homestand, has pitched a series of simulated games recently.
Wagner said he feels fine, and that his last simulated game Friday was his best to date. The veteran reliever is coming back from shoulder surgery after tearing his labrum.
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, out with a small labral tear in his left shoulder, played long toss with Kearns on Saturday, and he also shagged balls during batting practice. Zimmerman said the throwing is meant to keep his throwing arm -- his right arm -- loose and in shape "while the other one gets better."
The Nationals' franchise third baseman has been on the DL since June 3 and still has a ways to go -- Bowden projected Zimmerman to be back after the All-Star Break. However, Zimmerman said he's still happy right now to have something to do besides just rest.
"The first two weeks [of rehab] are the hardest, because you just sit there," Zimmerman said. "Now that I've finally started doing exercises and strengthening stuff, you kind of see improvement."
Aaron Boone is still feeling soreness in his knee, and Acta said he is day-to-day. Boone was a late scratch from Friday's lineup, but Acta said he's available to pinch-hit, as he did Friday.
Zach Osterman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.