Notes: Nats told security will be tighter

Notes: Nats assured security to be tightened

WASHINGTON -- At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Mark Tuohey, the chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, had a private meeting with the Nationals in the clubhouse.

According to a team source, Tuohey apologized for any inconvenience caused when several cars belonging to players and coaches were broken into at the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium parking lot early this week, while the team was on their last road trip. Marlon Byrd's 2002 black Cadillac Escalade was stolen.

Before meeting with the players, Tuohey invited Washington police chief Charles H. Ramsey and Deputy police chief William H. Fitzgerald to RFK Stadium, and Ramsey gave Tuohey suggestions on how to more effectively protect the players' property.

The plan is to move the cars away from public view and add a better security system and guards that will be in place around the clock. Starting Monday, a fence will also surround the players' cars.

"We are going to fence it in. We are going to have improved security cameras," Tuohey said. "The bad guys got in and took advantage of a situation when there wasn't security in broad daylight. We are going to make sure that never happens again."

Asked if the police were close to catching the perpetrators, Ramsey said, "We have a video tape that we are going to enhance to get clues. There's still a lot of work to be done. We will do everything we can to find the people who are responsible."

Team president Tony Tavares said he was pleased the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission worked fast in improving the security at RFK Stadium.

"Things are going so well that we don't want any distractions," Tavares said. "I think it's important that we respond and we respond quickly. I'm glad the chief and assistant chief came down. Mark Tuohey is working very hard with them to try to get this expedited."

Feeling blue: A day after saying that he was going to take a couple of days off from baseball activities, Nationals second baseman Jose Vidro was spotted taking batting practice and light fielding drills on Saturday afternoon.

Vidro is currently on the disabled list because of a high left ankle sprain and torn peroneal tendon outside the ankle, but he had to curtail his baseball activities after hurting his patella tendon in his right knee while doing running drills in the outfield at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium on Thursday, the Nationals' off-day.

Vidro now admits that he rushed to get back on the field, and most likely will not be back until after the All-Star break.

"I didn't realize how behind I was. I basically didn't do anything with my leg," Vidro said. "In my head, all I was looking for was to come back. Now, I'm going to take it step by step. I'm not going to rush it.

"I wasn't doing the smart thing. I'm glad I listened to [manager Frank Robinson] and [interim general manager] Jim Bowden. They want what's best for the ballclub and what's best for me. I have to concentrate on getting healthy."

After the Nationals defeated Blue Jays, 3-0, on Friday, Vidro went home and then to bed feeling sad. He does not feel he is part of the ballclub. Vidro has not played a game since May 4. Since that time, the Nationals are 30-17 and are in first place in the National League East, four games ahead of the Braves.

"It's killing me that I'm not able to be out there, but I'm just happy that the team is doing well," Vidro said. "I know that I'm going to be back. The guys that are filling in for me are doing a great job."

What saddens Vidro even more is that, after having arthroscopic knee surgery last September, he worked hard this past winter to get his right knee in game shape. Vidro was even the first player to arrive in Spring Training.

"I was in my bed looking at the ceiling. I was saying, 'Man, I wish I could be out there,' " Vidro said. "This run is great for most of the guys that were in Montreal. It is so special for me and the guys here. After all those years in Montreal, we come to Washington and we are experiencing big league baseball.

"I didn't want to miss a day. I was preparing to play 162 games. Now, I have been out almost two months. I was really upset."

It took his wife, Annette, to cheer him up on Friday night.

"She talked to me last night. It was very emotional," Vidro said. 'She said, 'Have faith.' She knows that God is going to help me, and the ballclub is going to help me. You really appreciate it when you have a wife like her."

Tweaking the game plan: Robinson said the Nationals want infielder Tony Blanco to focus all his attention on playing first and third base the rest of the season, scrapping his experimental forays in the outfield. Bench coach Eddie Robinson will work with Blanco before games to hone his fielding skills.

"I feel like we might be able to get him a few more at-bats. We want him to focus on those positions," Robinson said. "I will feel comfortable, and he will feel comfortable playing those positions."

Back on the mound: Zach Day, on the disabled list because of a fractured right radius, threw 75 pitches in a bullpen session and didn't feel any pain.

"I felt good all the way," Day said. "The location was real good."

Day will throw a simulated game on Tuesday.

Injury report: On Saturday, outfielder Ryan Church took 20 swings off a tee and still felt a lot of pain in his left shoulder and right collarbone. Church even tried to play catch and couldn't throw the baseball.

Church was injured on Thursday when he slammed into the left-field wall making a game-saving catch in the ninth inning against the Pirates.

Dr. Bruce Thomas, one of the Nationals' team of physicians, said Church has bruised cartilage in the right collarbone and a separated shoulder, which has been labeled as Grade 1 in severity.

"It's a mild shoulder separation. They usually go away quickly. He doesn't have problems with his bones," Thomas said.

Thomas is hopeful that Church could be back on the field on Tuesday against the Pirates.

Moving up: After hitting .417 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last three games, Ryan Zimmerman was promoted from Class A Savannah to Double-A Harrisburg. He was in Harrisburg's starting lineup on Saturday against Double-A Akron.

Stat of the day: Church is 16-for-33 (.485) with five home runs and nine RBIs on Saturdays this season. For the rest of the week, Church is hitting .283 (36-for-127) with two home runs and 19 RBIs.

Did you know: Prior to this season, the last time the Nationals were 13 games over .500 was on June 11, 2003, when they were known as the Expos. That Montreal squad was 39-26 after a 3-1 victory over the Mariners.

On deck: The Nationals play the finale of a three-game series against the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

Right-hander Tony Armas Jr. will get the start for the Nationals. He will face the Blue Jays for the seventh time in his career. He is 2-3 with 3.24 ERA against Toronto.

In his last start, June 20 against Texas, Armas had his worst outing of the season. The Rangers hit four home runs in the first two innings against Armas, bouncing the Nationals, 7-4.

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