Notes: Byrd learning a lot in D.C.

Notes: Byrd learning a lot in D.C.

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Marlon Byrd said he is learning the mental part of hitting for the first time in his big-league career. Hitting coach Tom McCraw is teaching Byrd to have a plan against opposing pitchers before he steps into the batter's box.

It worked during Byrd's first game as a member of the Nationals on Monday as he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs against the Brewers.

"There's no reason to mess with my swing. They want to make sure that I know what I'm doing before I hit the batter's box," Byrd said.

Byrd said that he never learned the art of hitting when he was the Phillies. In fact, he said that he never took the hitting advice he received in Philadelphia very seriously. He credits himself for his success in 2003 in which he hit .303 with seven home runs and 45 RBIs and blames himself, not former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, for his downfall in 2004, when he hit .228.

"I don't even remember the things [the Phillies] told me because it didn't make sense," Byrd said. "I would just be out there and do my thing. To be honest, in 2003, I did it myself. In 2004, I tried to do it on my own.

"In Philly, they tried to put all the blame on Larry. He is the last person to blame. He has a great baseball mind. He had an unfair reputation. A lot of people will say the same thing, but nobody ever asked. I wasn't hitting and Jason Michaels was hitting. It was simple."

Injury report: Livan Hernandez said on Monday that his inflamed right knee is feeling much better and he expects to pitch against the Brewers on Thursday. In fact, he played catch for 10 minutes without feeling any pain.

"I'm maybe 95 percent. Maybe tomorrow morning, it will be 100 percent," Hernandez said. "I'm feeling better every day."

First baseman Wil Cordero will begin his rehab assignment at the end of this week with Class A Potomac. Cordero wants to be close to his wife who is having a baby in Ohio. Cordero is currently on the disabled list because of a torn left medial meniscus.

T.J. Tucker, on the disabled list since April 19 because of a right groin strain, had a bullpen session on Tuesday and threw 40 pitches without any pain. He is expected to have another bullpen session on Thursday and will head to Triple-A New Orleans for a rehab assignment at the end of the week.

Keeping busy: In addition to getting treatment for his injured right rib cage and triceps, outfielder Jose Guillen joined Brewers coach Dave Nelson and handed the lineup card to the umpires before Tuesday's game.

Guillen is expected to miss the rest of the four-game series against the Brewers because of his injuries.

On the air: The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and RCN-DC announced on Tuesday a carriage agreement that will present Nationals games to MASN and RCN Cable subscribers. RCN-DC serves more than 185,00 homes in Washington D.C., the City of Falls Church, Va., Southern Montgomery County, Md. and Gaithersburg Md.

Let's get this right: Murray Cook, the supervisor of grounds keeping for Major League Baseball, came to Robert F. Kennedy Stadium after Tuesday's game to revamp the pitcher's mound. The pitchers have complained that the landing area was too slippery.

"They going to bring in the master and let him get a shot at it," said manager Frank Robinson said.

You're out: Robinson was ejected in the seventh inning of Tuesday's game by home plate umpire John Hirschbeck for arguing balls and strikes. Robinson argued that the second strike called to outfielder Ryan Church was low and should have been called a ball.

Stat of the day: Entering Monday's action, the Nationals are 8-2 when Brad Wilkerson has two hits or more in a game.

Did you know? Robinson served as a hitting coach for the Brewers in 1984.

On deck: The Nationals play the third game of a four-game series against the Brewers on Tuesday night at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

Esteban Loaiza, who already has five no-decisions, will face the Brewers for the fourth time in his career. He is 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA against them.

In his last start on Friday, Loaiza lasted seven innings and gave up two runs on six hits against the Cubs. Loaiza didn't figure in the decision. While he is not frustrated that he has only one victory, Loaiza said wins are what count when it comes to looking for a Major League job.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.