Notes: Vidro readies for early return

Notes: Vidro readies for early return

WASHINGTON -- Second baseman Jose Vidro had the big protective boot taken off his ankle on Saturday and is now wearing a small protective boot, which is allowing him to wear sneakers. Vidro also is walking without a limp.

Vidro said the ankle felt so much better that he is hoping that he could be back on the field in two weeks, when the Nationals return from their nine-game road trip. The timetable is earlier than expected. Vidro was supposed to be out of action until the All-Star break because of a high ankle sprain and torn peroneal tendon, which he suffered on May 4 against the Dodgers.

Vidro will continue to have treatment for most of this week and then join the Nationals in Texas on June 18 and start his baseball activities.

"It's looks like I'll be back a lot sooner than expected. That's good news," Vidro said. "My ankle is feeling very good. I'm out of that [big boot]. I think it help me out a lot because I'm able to recover early."

Thank you, fans: The Nationals had a crowd of 37,170 attend their game against the Mariners on Sunday. The crowd put the Nationals at 1,056,642 in attendance through 33 games. It established a new record for a Washington-based Major League team. The previous high was 1,027,216 in 1946 by the Nationals (AL).

"The support has been tremendous. I don't think anybody could have foreseen this. But I said this is a good baseball town and if we put a good product on the field, the fans would come out and support it," manager Frank Robinson said.

Thanks to the success on the field, team president Tony Tavares said the Nationals are in the position to take on more payroll. That means they could possibly add the power bat interim general manager Jim Bowden is looking to acquire before the trade deadline.

"What everyone fails to understand is, in Montreal, we were like street people. We were begging for dollars," Tavares said. "In Washington, we are generating our own money. We don't have to ask for handouts anymore."

Asked how much money could be spent before the trade deadline, Tavares said, "It depends on who the player is and what's available. It's up to Jim."

On the bench: After getting two hits on Saturday to raise his average to .192, shortstop Cristian Guzman was given the day off on Sunday.

Robinson said the benching had nothing to do with the fact that Guzman is in a 14-for-99 (.141) slump. The skipper said he wanted to give Guzman the day off because he has played 28 straight games without a day off.

Guzman did enter the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning.

Under the...laser: Robinson may not manage the Nationals on Monday against the Angels because of LASIK surgery on his right eye. If Robinson can't attend the game, bench coach Eddie Rodriguez will act as manager and roving coach Jack Voigt will be the bench coach.

Concern for his fellow man: Robinson was concerned about home plate umpire Tim Timmons throughout the game. Robinson felt Timmons was going to collapse because of the heat. In fact, Robinson went to Timmons in the first inning to make sure he was OK. Timmons, who was often spotted drinking water between innings, was able to call balls and strikes throughout the game.

Injury report: Left-hander Joey Eischen said that he will start his rehab assignment for Triple-A New Orleans starting a week from Monday. He is expected to be there for at least a week.

Eischen is currently on the 60-day disabled list because of a broken right radius.

In the meantime, Eischen will continue to have bullpen sessions in Anaheim and Texas.

Saturday night at the fight: Outfielder Jose Guillen arrived at the MCI Center to see the Mike Tyson/Kevin McBride fight. In Guillen's view, Tyson wasn't knocked down. He was pushed to canvas in the sixth round.

Stat of the day: Entering Sunday's action, outfielder Brad Wilkerson is hitting .363 (29-for-80) vs. left-handed pitching and .226 (31-for-137) against right-handers.

Did you know? Entering Sunday's action, the Nationals nine-game winning streak is the longest in the National League this season. The Yankees have the longest winning streak in the Major Leagues at 10 games.

On deck: After Sunday's game, the Nationals fly to Anaheim, Calif., to play a three-game series against the Angels. The last time the two teams met was June 3-5, 2003, and the Angels took two out of three games from the Expos in Puerto Rico.

Esteban Loaiza will get the start in Game 1 for the Nationals. Loaiza will face the Angels for the 11th time in his career. He is 3-1 with a 5.60 ERA against them. In his last start, Loaiza pitched seven solid innings and gave up two runs against the Athletics as the Nationals won the game, 7-2. He struck out four batters and walked three. It was Loaiza's first win since May 2 against the Dodgers.

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