There is one final homestand remaining before the Nationals can finally limp into Major League Baseball’s All-Star break. No team could use that four-day vacation more.
The Nats enter tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 34-56 record, the worst in baseball. And while the season may be a complete write-off, the front office can’t even evaluate the young talent it does possess. After all, three of Washington’s most promising youngsters are hurt.
Dukes, the latest casualty, is set to have surgery today on a torn meniscus in his right knee and will also spend the next 4-to-8 weeks rehabbing a partially torn patella tendon. He suffered the injury in Cincinnati over the weekend. The small labral tear in Zimmerman’s left shoulder is improving with strengthening exercises. But he still isn’t expected back until late July — at the earliest. Milledge went on the disabled list June 28 and won’t return until after the All-Star break.
The hobbled Nats don’t catch a break tonight, either. They face Arizona ace — and possible All-Star Game starter — Brandon Webb (12-4, 3.43 ERA), who pitched a complete-game shutout against the Nats in Phoenix on May 31. In his last three starts against Washington, Webb has allowed just one run in 25 innings and struck out 26 batters. Odalis Perez (2-5, 3.78 ERA) starts for the Nats.