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07/21/09 1:38 AM ET

Hernandez giving the outfield a try

New York (44-48) at Washington (26-66), 7:05 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON -- In the top of the eighth inning of Sunday's game against the Cubs, interim manager Jim Riggleman inserted Anderson Hernandez in left field, replacing Adam Dunn.

It was the first time Hernandez, an infielder by trade, had ever played the outfield. He didn't see any action that day.

Hernandez has lost significant playing time at second base because of the emergence of Alberto Gonzalez, so Riggleman is looking for other ways to play Hernandez.

"As we look more at Gonzalez in the infield, I'm just trying to find some ways where Hernandez can not only be used in the infield but maybe go in [the outfield] as a defensive replacement," said Riggleman. "He has not really played the outfield, but his skills will tell you there is no reason he can't catch a fly ball and throw it."

How does Hernandez feel about playing a new position?

"I didn't know they were going to put me out there [so quickly], but I have to do it. I just go and try to do my job and do my best," Hernandez said. "I will do whatever they want me to do."

Pitching matchup
WSH: LHP John Lannan (6-7, 3.64 ERA)
Lannan continues to give the Nationals one good performance after another, but a lack of run support has led to his sub-.500 record. He put up a quality start last Thursday against the Cubs, hurling 6 2/3 innings and giving up three runs (two earned), but the Nationals could only spot him one run during that time. He has allowed three earned runs in 15 of his past 17 starts.

NYM: LHP Oliver Perez (2-2, 7.99 ERA)
Given to dramatic swings in performance, Perez produced a middle-of-the-road start in his most recent appearance, on Thursday in Atlanta. He allowed three runs, nine baserunners -- four on walks -- and bases-empty home runs to two successive batters. Two of the critical hits were produced by left-handed hitters. Those figures might have resulted in a victory, but the Mets scored three, so they resulted in Perez's third no-decision in seven starts. Now he faces an opponent that has troubled him over the years. Since the beginning of the 2006 season, Perez has started eight games against the Nationals, winning twice and losing four times, producing a 7.53 ERA and allowing 72 baserunners in 40 2/3 innings. Austin Kearns has a .345 average and four home runs in 29 career at-bats against Perez.

Catcher Josh Bard is hitting .318 with 14 RBIs in his last 29 games. He is also hitting .432 with runners in scoring position. ... The Nationals' pitching staff has a 5.19 ERA. ... Adam Dunn has a team-leading .400 on-base percentage.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN 2

On radio
• WFED 1500, SBN 1390 (Español), ESPN 730 (Sp.)

Up next
• Wednesday: Nationals (Craig Stammen, 2-5, 4.46) vs. Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 7-5, 5.07), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann, 3-5, 4.63) vs. Cards (Adam Wainwright, 10-6, 3.01), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Nationals (TBD) vs. Padres (Mat Latos, 0-1, 4.50), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.