7/26/2014 1:27 A.M. ET
Nats asked after Beltre with Zimmerman absent
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- With Ryan Zimmerman out with a hamstring injury, two baseball sources revealed on Friday that the Nationals inquired about Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, but the "Nationals were rebuffed" one of the sources said.
Beltre, 35, is considered a solid defensive player and would have provided power missing during Zimmerman's absence. Entering Saturday's action, Beltre is hitting .325 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs for Texas.
If the Nationals were able to acquire Beltre, Anthony Rendon would be the everyday second baseman and Danny Espinosa would be back on the bench. Currently, Rendon is the regular third baseman, while there could be a platoon at second between Espinosa and Zach Walters.
Asked Friday afternoon if the Nationals were looking for a third baseman before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, general manager Mike Rizzo said, "We have a great third baseman. His name is Anthony Rendon. We have another Gold Glove-caliber guy. His name is Ryan Zimmerman, who is going to be back soon. We feel pretty confident, especially at that position. We like our depth, and we like the way our roster has been constructed. We like the guys that will have to step up and play to their potential. I think we have the man power to do it."
Rendon affirmed Rizzo's faith by making a pair of spectacular plays at the hot corner during the Nationals' 4-1 win over the Reds on Friday.
Span records second straight four-hit game
CINCINNATI -- For the second consecutive game Friday night, Nationals center fielder Denard Span went 4-for-5, this time during the Nats' 4-1 win over the Reds, seeing his batting average rise to .289.
After grounding out in his first at-bat to lead off the game, Span led off the third inning with a single off Reds starter Alfredo Simon, hit an RBI single in the Nats' three-run fourth, singled and scored in the sixth and added his fourth consecutive single in the eighth.
Span has been standing upright at the plate and spraying the ball all over the place, something he did often while playing for the Twins.
"Whenever you use all fields, it creates more holes in the defense. They can't really shade you to one side," Span said. "When you are using the whole field, it's usually a good sign for any hitter."
Harper OK after rough landing on diving catch
CINCINNATI -- Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper received a scare in the sixth inning of Friday's 4-1 victory over the Reds.
Cincinnati outfielder Billy Hamilton hit a ball to Harper, who dove and made a spectacular catch for the second out of the inning. For a few seconds, Harper stayed on the ground in pain, while manager Matt Williams and athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came to his aid.
It turns out, Harper suffered a momentary stinger on his left wrist, but he remained in the game. He went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
"He was fiddling with his wrist a little bit, so we decided to go out there. As soon as we stepped out, he waved us off," Williams said. "It certainly scared him. It scared us. He is fine. No issues."
With loss of Zimmerman comes infield moves
CINCINNATI -- Nationals manager Matt Williams had nothing new to report on Ryan Zimmerman's right hamstring strain other than to say that Zimmerman will rest this weekend before seeing the team doctor on Monday.
Williams declined to classify the grade of Zimmerman's strain, which would indicate how many games Zimmerman would miss.
"There are ways to look at it," Williams said. "They will put a grade on it, but it doesn't matter at this point. He's two weeks [away], and we'll re-evaluate after that. He pulled his hammy pretty good. We have to see how he reacts to it, so I don't have a grade on it right now other than it's pretty sore."
Zimmerman, who is back home in Washington D.C., was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after straining the hamstring while running to first base against the Rockies the previous day.
With Zimmerman gone, Anthony Rendon will be the everyday third baseman, while the Nationals could start a platoon at second base between Danny Espinosa and Zach Walters, who was in the starting lineup Friday against the Reds and went 1-for-4 with an RBI double during Washington's 4-1 victory.
"It was freakin' awesome out there," Walters said. "It was a cool atmosphere. I figured Roche [first baseman Adam LaRoche] would help me out when it came to positioning, so was Desi [shortstop Ian Desmond]. [Outfielder Jayson] Werth was yelling at me about everything else. It was fun. It was a good time."
A shortstop by trade, Walters was playing second base and third at Triple-A Syracuse. Williams said Walters was feeling comfortable playing second base during his last month there.
"The majority of the games that he played at Syracuse were at second base, so he has gotten accustomed to it," Williams said. "With Zim's loss, we are looking for a little bit of offense. He has been swinging well. In a small ballpark [like Great American Ball Park], you never know with him. He could drive the ball out of here. He was going to get a start over there eventually."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.