6/16/2013 12:43 A.M. ET
Desmond's success comes from staying even
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has been hot during the month of June and had seen his batting average climb to .290 entering Saturday's action. Desmond also came in tied for the team lead with 32 RBIs.
Defensively, Desmond has played outstanding at shortstop lately, entering Saturday error free since April 21 against the Mets.
"I haven't changed anything [on offense]. I'm still sticking to my same approach, which is to be aggressive, hit the ball and just try to put the barrel on it," Desmond said. "Sometimes you get hits, sometimes you don't get hits. Sometimes you field the ball, sometimes you don't. That's baseball. That's the way it goes. I'm just trying to take the good with the bad. Just trying to stay even keel."
Last season, Desmond made the All-Star team but didn't play because of a left oblique injury. Asked if he would like to make the All-Star team this year, Desmond said, "I consider the All-Star Game individual accolades. You can't take your whole team with you. I really don't get too much into that stuff.
"Obviously, it's a tremendous honor to be voted in. There are only a select few guys per year that get elected to go. But at the same time, that is individual stuff. I want to see my team succeed. I believe the true All-Star Game is in the World Series. That's when you have the best guys on the field. That's what I have my eyes set on."
Entering Saturday's action, the Nationals had not been living up to preseason expectations, with a 33-33 record. But Desmond believes the Nationals will turn things around.
For starters, according to Desmond, that are no divisions in the clubhouse and no one is in a panic.
"We are all good," Desmond said. "There has been no inconsistency within the clubhouse. I think that's the most important thing. If we can stay even keel in here, the stuff on the field will take care of itself. We have a good group of guys. We have a lot of winners and gamers in here. Eventually, just like everything else in baseball, it will turn around. We are not necessarily running out of time, but we need to start taking more steps in the right direction."
Johnson: Harper, Ramos have minor setbacks
CLEVELAND -- According to manager Davey Johnson, outfielder Bryce Harper and catcher Wilson Ramos suffered minor setbacks recently.
Harper was able to exercise his lower body, but developed puffiness in his left knee. The team is not concerned about the knee at this point, according to Johnson.
The Nationals are hoping that Harper can begin baseball activities sometime next week. Harper has been on the disabled list since June 1 because of left knee bursitis. He originally hurt the knee on May 13 after crashing into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium.
As far as Ramos is concerned, Johnson announced a few days ago that Ramos, on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring, suffered a setback while running from first to third. But the setback wasn't as bad as the team thought.
The team believes Ramos broke scar tissue in the hamstring area. But that didn't stop Ramos from catching bullpen sessions on Friday.
Johnson is hoping that Ramos can play in a Minor League game by the end of the month.
Nats likely to option Cedeno to make room for Strasburg
CLEVELAND -- With the need to add right-hander Stephen Strasburg to the 25-man roster on Sunday, the Nationals are planning to option left-hander Xavier Cedeno to Triple-A Syracuse.
Cedeno appeared in two games for Washington and didn't allow a run in 1 1/3 innings. Strasburg is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Sunday and will start against the Indians in the series finale.
Strasburg has missed two starts because of a lat strain. He has appeared in 12 games this season and is 3-5 with a 2.54 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 74 innings.
• The Nationals signed third-round Draft pick Drew Ward, a baseball source confirmed. Ward, an infielder from Leedey (Okla.) High School, is already in Florida and is working out in the team's Spring Training complex in Viera.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.