Notes: Robinson says season not lost

Notes: Robinson says season not lost

WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Frank Robinson saw the 2005 Astros start the season at 15-30, but then rally to finish the season with an 89-73 record and win the National League Wild Card.

Robinson said the Nationals are capable of making a similar comeback as long as they get better at hitting, pitching and defense and stop making mental mistakes. He also insisted that the season is not over for the Nationals, who are in fourth place in the National League East with an 11-21 record.

"How far can we comeback? I don't think anybody can predict that. We are capable of playing better. You keep looking for that each day," Robinson said. "We have [131] more games left and we have seen some things happen before. Stranger things have happened. I think this team will get together and play the way they are capable of playing. But I would rather get it done sooner than later."

Sunday was a start, as the Nationals defeated the Pirates, 5-4.

"The focus right now is win series," Robinson said "We are 10 games under .500. Win series, start closing that gap down. You get down to four or five ballgame, now you can say, 'Ok, our goal is to get to .500.'"

Injury report: A day after declining to talk to the media about his forearm injury, right-hander John Patterson said he was initially frustrated about his rehab assignment being pushed back because he felt he could still pitch despite having soreness in the forearm. Now, he agrees with the decision of not pitching until the soreness is completely gone.

"I'm fine throwing the ball, but I can still feel [the soreness] in my arm, but it's not keeping me from doing anything," Patterson said. "It's a smart move [regarding being pushed back], but I would like to be pitching."

Head athletic trainer Tim Abraham said that surgery is not needed and that all Patterson has to do is rest

"We are going to give him some more rest to make sure that it is completely gone before we put him out on the field," said Abraham. "We are not going to rush it. We want him for the long haul. He is very important to the organization. We are going to make sure the arm has gradually built up so he is able to pitch when he's out there."

Reliever Gary Majewski has missed the last three games because of rotator cuff tendinitis. Majewski said he has had the problem off and on for much of this season and that might explain why he hasn't pitched very well.

Majewski said he rushed too quickly to get back on the mound after returning from the World Baseball Classic.

"I came back from the [Classic] and fired it up pretty quick," Majewski said. "The first week of the season, I got into games quite a bit and I tried to go too hard, too quick."

Robinson said Majewski was available to pitch on Sunday against the Pirates.

Pedro Astacio has played catch the last three days without feeling any pain on his forearm. The team does know when he will start having bullpen session.

Cristian Guzman's shoulder surgery has been pushed back to Tuesday in Cincinnati.

Let the music stop: After getting swept by the Marlins last week, Robinson re-enforced his old rule of no music or watching TV in the clubhouse. The first time Robinson enforced the rule was last September after a devastating loss to the Braves.

After Sunday's victory, the clubhouse was silent. Asked if it's the right move to have silence after a victory, outfielder Jose Guillen said, "We have to start winning some games. That's pretty much it."

Robinson, however, did bend the rules on Saturday, when he allowed his players to watch the Kentucky Derby.

Game savor: Closer Chad Cordero picked up his third save on Sunday and first since April 16 against the Marlins. Robinson now feels that Cordero is back to being the pitcher that saved 47 games last year.

"His arm strength is there and his location is starting to come now. He made some good pitches there today -- in and out, getting ahead of hitters," Robinson said. "We just need to get him into his position -- the top or bottom of the ninth inning on a consistent basis."

Cordero acknowledged for the first time that the World Baseball Classic played a role in his slow start this season.

"Coming out of Spring Training, I felt fine. It's just that I didn't get enough innings under my belt. It took me a while to face hitters again," Cordero said.

Send in your questions: The Nationals mailbag runs every Monday. Send in your questions now.

Stats of the day: The Nationals are 10-4 when they score five runs or more.

Did you know? Jose Guillen started his baseball career with the Pirates. He was signed by Pittsburgh as a non-drafted free agent in August 1992. In 1997, Guillen made his Major League debut and hit .267 with 14 home runs and 70 RBIs.

Coming up: The Nationals have the day off Monday, but travel to Cincinnati for a three-game series against the Reds at Great American Ball Park, which starts Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. The last time these two teams met was from April 24-26, with the Reds sweeping the Nationals at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

In the opener, right-hander Tony Armas Jr. will get the start for Washington, while left-hander Brandon Claussen gets the nod for Cincinnati.

Armas will face the Reds for the fifth time in his career. He is 0-2 with a 6.33 ERA against them. In his last start, Armas struggled against the Marlins. He was knocked out in the third inning after allowing five runs on five hits.

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