Notes: No surgery for Hernandez

Notes: No surgery for Hernandez

WASHINGTON -- A day after stating he was 99 percent sure that he would have season-ending surgery on his right knee, right-hander Livan Hernandez said that he will not go under the knife and will continue to pitch for the Nationals for the rest of the season.

In an exclusive interview with on Thursday afternoon, Hernandez said that after pitching in Wednesday's game against the Rockies, his left knee -- which has been bothering him since mid-May -- was in excruciating pain. In fact, he said that he didn't go to bed until 6:45 a.m. on Thursday because he was in such pain. (It didn't help that he'd left his pain medication at the stadium.) But the pain has subsided, and he doesn't expect to miss a start.

"The knee is good," said Hernandez. "I couldn't sleep because of the pain. People don't understand how you feel inside your body."

On Wednesday he'd also expressed anger at some aspect of the Nationals organization, preferring to keep his thoughts to himself for the time being. As it turns out, he was not angry with manager Frank Robinson for taking him out of Wednesday's game after seven innings or the fact that Wil Cordero was designated for assignment, as has been rumored.

Hernandez said that he was angry about his knee injury and the fact that he'd given up the game-winning home run to Rockies catcher JD Closser. And according to a source, Hernandez's custom, if mad at either Robinson or management, is to go to the people involved to hash things out.

"The thing I was angry about was my knee," said Hernandez. "I said I would tell you after the year was over. I was going to have it operated on after the season was over. People have misunderstood that. I didn't feel well last night. I didn't think I was going to walk today. The way I pitched yesterday, I thought my knee was going to explode. The pain hit me hard. I needed to know how I was going to pitch every five days."

On losing to the Rockies, he said, "It was a close game again, and you lose by one run. It's better that it happens now, while you are still in first place instead of second or third place. I think the team will come back and play better. I was angry because I threw a bad pitch. I had the game in my hands. It's the second time in a row I allowed one pitch to hurt me, and it was a home run."

Hernandez also said he was upset about an ESPN report that said that he plans to shut down his season and have surgery. He was so angry, in fact, that he yelled at the Washington media. It took Jose Guillen to calm him down.

Injury report: First baseman Nick Johnson, on the disabled list because of a deep bone bruise in his right heel, was spotted taking batting practice and running the bases gingerly on Thursday afternoon. He said that he could walk and hit without pain for the first time, although he can still feel some soreness when he runs the bases. The Nationals hope that he can run at full speed by the end of the week.

Did you know? Cristian Guzman is the only position player on the Nationals to start a game batting ninth this season.

Stat of the day: Although the Nationals are 7-12 during the month of July, the team ERA is 3.12.

On deck: The Nationals play the second game of the four-game series against the Astros on Friday night at RFK Stadium. Right-hander Ryan Drese will face Houston for the third time in his career. He is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA against them.

In his last start, against the Brewers, Drese lasted three innings and gave up five runs -- three earned. He didn't strike out a batter and walked one. He is showing signs of being another Zach Day. Like Day, Drese is a sinkerball pitcher. When it's working, Drese is almost unhittable. But when Drese's pitches are up in the strike zone, hitters are taking batting practice. There's no middle ground in which Drese could battle an opponent for six or seven innings.

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