7/19/2014 6:56 P.M. ET
Major Deadline moves currently seem unlikely for Nats
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- The Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away and it seems hard to believe that the Nationals would make a big trade before July 31. They don't have a glaring weakness except for their bench.
Entering Saturday's action, Nationals pinch-hitters are a combined 18-for-117 (.154) with four home runs and 12 RBIs. It doesn't help that players such as Scott Hairston and Nate McLouth are not getting enough reps. With the Nationals in the thick of the pennant race, it's rare that the starting eight, which includes shortstop Ian Desmond and center fielder Denard Span, is able to get a day off.
"Coming off the bench is like a flip of a coin. You get one at-bat. You either get a hit or not get a hit," hitting coach Rick Schu said. "I think our guys have done a good job as far as quality at-bats, grinding at-bats. The results have not been what they would like, but … they have prepared themselves every day."
Nats manager Matt Williams sounded like he did not want to change what he has on the bench. Like Schu, Williams reiterated it's difficult to come off the bench.
"We're unique in that regard. We have a lot of position players on our starting eight that play just about every day," Williams said. "It's hard to give [the regulars] rest because they are playing so well. ... You want to give guys opportunities. You keep them sharp so when they do step up, they have rhythm and timing."
Zimmermann looks good in session, will start Tuesday
WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had a bullpen session Saturday afternoon without any problems and is scheduled to pitch Tuesday night against the Rockies.
It will be Zimmermann's first start since July 11, when he sustained a biceps strain against the Phillies. According to Nats manager Matt Williams, Zimmermann will not be on a pitch count.
"He had a good bullpen today. He is good to go," Williams said. "All indications are that he is set to go on Tuesday unless he feels something after. We don't think he is going to.
"I don't anticipate any pitch count. We'll look at how he is feeling during the course of the game. We will not go in with any limit on him. He can go as normal as long as he feels good."
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.