PHILADELPHIA -- Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he wanted to get a long look at center fielder Justin Maxwell before the season came to an end. Watching Maxwell at the plate has been put on hold, for he is not expected to hit for a couple games because of a right thumb injury. He can still become a defensive replacement like he was in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Phillies.
Maxwell hurt the thumb in the fourth inning Saturday, when he hit into a double play against Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick. The injury got so bad that Maxwell couldn't grip the bat when it was time to come to the plate in the seventh inning. Willie Harris ended up pinch-hitting for Maxwell.
"I jammed myself. I couldn't get a hold of the bat," Maxwell said. "I didn't want to go out there. It was still a close game. I didn't want to waste an at-bat with the team. [The trainers] said it's like a day-to-day thing -- get treatment."
The injury comes at a bad time for Maxwell. The Nationals are trying to figure out if he is worth keeping. Maxwell has been in and out of the Major Leagues the past two years because of an inconsistent bat.
Maxwell is hitting .141 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. The Nationals were planning to play Maxwell on a consistent basis because center fielder Nyjer Morgan is serving an eight-game suspension.
Zimmerman insists shoulder, arm are fine
PHILADELPHIA -- Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said Sunday morning there is nothing wrong with his right shoulder or arm.
The question was raised after Zimmerman made two awkward sidearm throws that took first baseman Adam Dunn off the bag on Saturday against the Phillies. Those types of throws by Zimmerman have been a common occurrence for most of the season.
Manager Jim Riggleman isn't overly concerned about the way Zimmerman throws the ball either, but plans to talk to Zimmerman about it.
"As far as Ryan's throwing, I just think that he is getting his arm in a tough position to throw from," Riggleman said. "It's a conversation that we had before and we will have again in the future."
Zimmerman is arguably the best defensive third baseman in the Major Leagues, and Riggleman made it clear that he wasn't going to do anything to change Zimmerman dramatically.
"All the information you can gather about third basemen in both leagues, Ryan is at the top of the list as far as catching the ball, getting outs at first base, range and all that," Riggleman said. "You don't want to mess with the success too much."
Morgan watching games with Rizzo
PHILADELPHIA -- During the first two games of his eight-game suspension, center fielder Nyjer Morgan has been watching the Nationals with general manager Mike Rizzo in the visiting team's executive booth at Citizens Bank Park.
Morgan said it was interesting watching the games in the booth as opposed to playing them on the field.
"I've learned so much. I watched the game on the field since I was 18," Morgan said. "I'm watching the game, and seeing what the GM sees. It's really cool."
Morgan said the games appear to slow down while watching with Rizzo.
"I see myself looking at the screen to see where the pitches are," Morgan said. "I get a chance to see the movement of the pitches. You can't see the movement on the field, but you can see it when it's on TV."