04/25/10 2:13 PM ET
Hurlers have cooled Dodgers' hot bats
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Manager Joe Torre said the Nationals' pitching staff has been the big difference compared to last year.
"You look up at the scoreboard and we're in another town, and you see they are in all the games, and the big reason for it is that pitchers have kept them in the game," Torre said. "The first two games here, their starters [Luis Atilano and Craig Stammen] have done a great job."
Zimmerman takes BP, may return Monday
WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was out of the starting lineup for the fourth consecutive game on Sunday after tweaking his right hamstring against the Rockies on Wednesday night.
However, Zimmerman was able to jog and take batting practice prior to the game without feeling any discomfort in the hamstring. The next step for Zimmerman is to run the bases, which he hasn't done yet.
While he was available to pinch-hit in Sunday's game against the Dodgers, the Nationals were hoping he could start in the series against the Cubs in Chicago, which starts Monday at Wrigley Field.
There isn't any talk about putting Zimmerman on the disabled list, according to manager Jim Riggleman.
"I'll see how it feels [Monday]," Zimmerman said. "It's looking better and better each day. Like I said about the [first hamstring injury], you have to be sure that you are ready to go."
Harris scratched due to ailing right knee
WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Willie Harris was scheduled to start against the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon, but he was scratched from the lineup because of a sore and swollen right knee.
After Saturday's game, in which he made two great catches, Harris had an MRI on the knee, which revealed inflammation. The Nationals hope he can play against the Cubs in Chicago on Monday.
Harris originally hurt the knee on April 10 against the Mets. In the ninth inning of that game, he made a great diving catch to end the game, securing a 4-3 victory for the Nats. It turned out that his spikes were caught on the ground when he made the catch. He didn't feel pain in the knee until the next morning.
Harris never complained and continued to play until manager Jim Riggleman decided to give Harris the day off on Sunday.
With experience, Clippard has found his niche
WASHINGTON -- Dodgers skipper Joe Torre managed Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard when they were with the Yankees in 2007. That year, Clippard started in six games for New York and gave up 19 runs in 27 innings.
Now, Clippard is arguably the Nats' best reliever, and Torre believes Clippard has found the role best suited for him.
"Experience," said Torre when asked why Clippard has enjoyed so much success with the Nationals. "You realize it takes time to develop your skills."
Torre sings praises of mending Wang
WASHINGTON -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre is well aware of what Chien-Ming Wang can offer when he's healthy. Torre managed Wang when the right-hander won a combined 38 games in 2006-07 with the Yankees.
"He is capable of trust. That is probably the most important thing," Torre said. "He will go out there and do something very quickly in a very reasonable number of pitchers. He sort of makes you hit the ball. He is not a strikeout guy. You'll hit the ball early in the count, so he really doesn't take long to do what he does. He has a great demeanor. He is very responsible. You want him on your side."
Wang, recovering from right shoulder surgery, is scheduled to start a Minor League rehab assignment sometime in June and is expected to join the Major League club soon thereafter.
Norris to begin rehab assignment Monday
Minor League catcher Derek Norris, on the seven-day DL because of a sore left wrist, is going to Viera, Fla., on Monday. He hopes to swing a bat that day and play in an extended spring game Wednesday.
Norris has had problems with the wrist since having the hamate bone removed.
"The issue isn't really from my hamate, it's some bruising that's caught in between two different bones that surround the hamate," Norris said. "They did the nerve tests that hide under the hamate bones, and there's nothing wrong with it. There's just some bruising that's got to work itself out."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.