Notes: Robinson calls team meeting

Notes: Robinson calls team meeting

WASHINGTON -- On Friday night, there was message on the bulletin board near the Nationals' locker room that read, "meeting at 4:00 p.m. and be fully dressed in uniform."

As it turned out, manager Frank Robinson wanted to have a meeting to clear the air with the team after having lost 20 of their last 28 games, including Friday's loss to the Padres.

According to a source, Robinson called the meeting because he was concerned that the chemistry was deteriorating.

Some in the organization are worried that the players are not playing smart baseball and are too concerned about who should be in the lineup.

Robinson pulled his big black chair into the locker room around two minutes before 4 p.m. ET and started the session.

While everyone was closed mouth about the meeting, the theme was trying to get back to their winning ways that the team enjoyed in the first half. The players did most of the talking.

"The more the better. I want everyone here to participate," Robinson said. "It was a good, positive meeting. Some good points were made."

According to another source, the only heated exchange was between outfielders Jose Guillen and Brad Wilkerson. Guillen told Wilkerson that he wanted him to take charge a little more in center field. Wilkerson responded by saying that that he would take charge a little more, but that Guillen never listens to him. Guillen became very upset. Heated words then followed, but right-hander Livan Hernandez, according to the source, put an end to the arguing, telling both sides and the rest of the players that the team needed to play together.

"Other than that, it was a positive meeting. We were fired up when the meeting was over," the source said.

The source said the team was pumped up at the start of the game against the Padres, though the Nationals ended up losing, 3-2. The offense, which has been sputtering during the second half, collected just five hits.

On Sunday, the Nationals are going to have changes to the lineup against the Padres. Infielders Carlos Baerga, Tony Blanco and Jamey Carroll and outfielder Matt Cepicky will be inserted into the lineup, while starters Vinny Castilla, Wilkerson, Preston Wilson and Jose Vidro will sit out. All four starters have not been hitting the ball well in the second half.

Injury report: Guillen was scheduled to have an MRI on his left shoulder at Washington Hospital Center on Saturday morning, but the session was canceled because the MRI machine was broken, according to a club spokesman.

Guillen hopes to have the MRI done within the next few days. He is still listed as day-to-day and will not play the last two games of the Padres series. ...

Catcher Brian Schneider played catch with athletic trainer Tim Abraham before the game and he said his right shoulder is close to being 100 percent. Schneider has missed the last four games because bursitis in the shoulder.

"The shoulder felt great. I stretched it out and threw harder and longer," Schneider said.

Robinson said Schneider would rest for another day and play against the Astros on Tuesday. ...

First base coach Don Buford received an injection in his back to relieve pain in his legs. He did not attend Saturday's game between the Nationals and Padres. Hitting coach Tom McCraw coached first base on Saturday.

Did you know: The Nationals are the first team in Major League history to win as many as 12 straight one-run games and lose as many as 12 consecutive one-run games. Entering Saturday action, the Nationals are on a 12-game losing streak in one-run games.

Stat of the day: In 16 games, beginning July 19, Nationals starters have lasted at least six innings 13 times. In five of those efforts, the starters have pitched at least eight innings.

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

Nationals right-hander Esteban Loaiza will get the start and face the Padres for the 10th time in his career. He is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA.

In his start last Tuesday, Loaiza pitched seven innings and gave up four runs on five hits against the Dodgers. Three of those hits were long balls to Jeff Kent, Jason Repko and Jason Phillips. Loaiza struck out four batters and walked just one. The Nationals lost the game, 5-4.

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