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09/27/11 7:52 PM ET

Rodriguez being groomed as backup closer

MIAMI -- Manager Davey Johnson said Henry Rodriguez is being groomed to be a backup closer in case Drew Storen needs a break.

Since Aug. 1, Rodriguez has allowed eight runs in 27 2/3 innings [2.60 ERA]. He also picked up 32 strikeouts and two saves in that time.

"One thing is, he is as strong as an ox," Johnson said. "I've used him a few times in a row and he has been outstanding. So he can handle any workload that you throw on him."

Zimmerman unlikely to play in final two games

MIAMI -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman most likely will not play the final two games of the season against the Marlins because of left hamstring issues, according to manager Davey Johnson.

The hamstring started bothering him in Monday's game against the Marlins. He had trouble running the bases, according to Johnson.

"He said he could probably play. I don't want to take the chance," Johnson said about Zimmerman. "If he pulls that hamstring, I know how long that it takes to heal. These games don't mean that much as far as I'm concerned. His safety is more important."

Zimmerman will finish the season playing in a career-low 101 games, hitting .289 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs.

Steve Lombardozzi was able to get the start at third base on Tuesday against Florida and most likely will get another start the next day.

Hernandez wants to stay with Nationals

MIAMI -- Right-hander Livan Hernandez reiterated that he wants to return to the Nationals and is willing to become a long man out of the bullpen.

Hernandez declined to say if he and general manager Mike Rizzo have talked about a new contract for next year.

"I'm ready to come back for next year, Hernandez said. "I can do it [be a long man], but only here because I want to stay here. If I have news, I will let you know."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.