PHILADELPHIA -- General manager Mike Rizzo is still holding out hope that right-hander Chien-Ming Wang and catcher Jesus Flores will play in the Major Leagues this season, even though some in the organization don't see it happening.
"If they are healthy, stretched out and ready to go, [we'll send them to the big leagues]," Rizzo said. "They are both rehabbing hard. They are making slow, but steady progress."
Wang, who has been on the disabled list all season after having surgery in his right shoulder capsule, is pitching in simulated games, throwing batting practice and doing his long-toss program. But there is no timetable on when Wang will pitch in a Minor League game and the Minor League season is almost over. One person said the reports on Wang are up and down. For example, for about a week, Wang is throwing well. Another week, his arm is sore.
Flores, on the DL because of a damaged right shoulder, is throwing to all the bases, taking batting practice and hitting off a tee.
Flores has yet to play in a Major League game this year and missed most of the last season, because of a right shoulder contusion. Flores hurt the shoulder on May 9, 2009, when he was hit by a foul tip off the bat of D-backs outfielder Chris Young. Flores was in pain for several minutes, but remained in the game before being taken out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Flores was activated from the disabled list Sept. 4 and made two pinch-hitting appearances. However, he was sent to Alabama after complaining of shoulder soreness and ended up having right labrum surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews.
Desmond starting to find groove at plate
PHILADELPHIA -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond is putting up numbers to the point where he could be considered as a National League Rookie of the Year Award candidate.
Entering Saturday's action, Desmond is hitting a respectable .272 with nine home runs and 50 RBIs. It helps that Desmond has been on a hot streak of late, going 29-for-78 (.372) with three home runs and 10 RBIs.
According to manager Jim Riggleman, the numbers don't tell the whole story.
"He has been outstanding. He is getting better and better. He is such a leader on the field," Riggleman said. "He is a high character guy. He is hitting higher in the lineup now. He is running more. He is playing a very good shortstop. He is hitting for power. The average is going up. As we said all along, this is a special player, and he has a chance to be a great one."
If there is one drawback in Desmond's game, it's that he leads the Major League in errors with 27. The organization doesn't appear to be too worried about the error total. Tim Foli, a senior assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo, predicted that Desmond would make 30 to 35 errors this year. Foli says, however, that Desmond is already making adjustments to cut down on the error total.
For example, Desmond is no longer looking at baserunners and trying to field the ball at the same time.
"He is a student of the game and that's the most important thing," Foli said. "When he does something that isn't right, he makes the adjustment and doesn't do it again. He is going to make mistakes, but he is not going to make them over and over again. That's the key to being the kind of player that he is going to be."