ATLANTA -- The Nationals have adjusted their stellar rotation to start a pair of lefthanders, Ross Detwiler and Gio Gonzalez, as the bookends to this week's series against the Mets in Washington.
To help counteract that, manager Terry Collins is planning to have Jason Bay ready for Tuesday's opener. Bay, who has been on the disabled list since June 16 with a concussion, went 2-for-4 Sunday with a pair of singles, a walk and a stolen base for Triple-A Buffalo. He played nine innings in leftfield, and that should be enough to convince the Mets to call him up.
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"I would probably have him play," Collins said. "This is about at-bats. He needs at-bats. I'm not worried about the fatigue factor."
Collins already has said he will use Bay in leftfield, Andres Torres in center and Scott Hairston in right as his alignment against lefthanded starters. Torres went 2-for-4 in Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Braves and was 6-for-10 in the series. The Mets need to get more offense from somewhere.
"I think that we're just not playing complete games," David Wright said. "I think some of it has to do with young players. We're going to ride that roller coaster a little bit. But I think we've got to play more complete games."
Nationals righthander Jordan Zimmermann will start the middle game of the series.
More tests for Duda
Lucas Duda, who did not start the last two games because of a left hamstring strain, will be examined Monday in New York to determine the extent of his injury. Duda struck out as a pinch hitter to end Saturday's 8-7 loss to the Braves and did not play Sunday. Collins said Duda is bothered most when needing that "explosion" of movement to chase down balls in the outfield. When asked if Duda might wind up on the disabled list, Collins replied, "Not right now, I don't think."
Frank Francisco (oblique) has not resumed throwing and Collins has no idea when he will. "I don't know if it's square one," the manager said. "But he's got to throw some sides before he pitches in a game again to see if this flares up." . . . Mike Baxter (collarbone) began a rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie. Playing nine innings as the designated hitter against Brevard County, he went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.