Notes: Vidro rejoins Nats, bats fifth

Notes: Vidro rejoins Nats, bats fifth

PHILADELPHIA -- A day after placing reliever Micah Bowie on the 15-day disabled list, the Nationals activated second baseman Jose Vidro from the 15-day DL on Friday. Vidro had missed a little more than a month because of a left hamstring strain.

The news of Vidro being activated comes after he played in four rehab games, one for Class A Potomac and three for Double-A Harrisburg. Vidro was a designated hitter in his only game for Potomac and played second base the other three games.

Manager Frank Robinson put Vidro in the fifth spot in the batting order against the Phillies, an unusual position for Vidro, who normally hits second or third. However, Vidro understands that the Nationals don't want to mess with a good thing, with Alfonso Soriano, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Zimmerman being productive in the first three spots.

"Frank explained it pretty good to me," Vidro said. "It's tough to get Zimmerman out of the third hole. He is doing a good job there. And with Soriano and his speed and Lopez, they are a very good combination. I'm not complaining about anything."

The Nationals are planning to be very careful with Vidro. He most likely will get a day off on Sunday against the Phillies, and it helps that the team had a day off on Thursday.

Vidro, 31, is hitting .300 with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 90 games for Washington this season entering Friday's game.

More on Vidro: The second baseman believes he will not be traded this season based on a conversation he had with general manager Jim Bowden last week.

"It looks like I'm going to stay here," Vidro said. "I have to prove that I'm healthy enough for a team to have interest in me. Right now, I just lost a month. It's tough to trade a guy like that."

The Mets and Giants were interested in Vidro's services before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Take a day off: Robinson gave right fielder Austin Kearns the day off on Friday against the Phillies and inserted Ryan Church in the lineup. Kearns is hitting .234 with one homer and 12 RBIs with the Nationals. Overall, Kearns is hitting .264 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs.

While Kearns needs to make some mechanical adjustments -- the team is trying to convert him from a fly ball hitter to a line drive hitter because of spacious RFK Stadium -- hitting coach Mitchell Page also believes that Kearns is putting too much pressure on himself since coming over in a trade from the Reds on July 13.

"It's almost like when [Scott] Rolen came over to the Cardinals in a trade [in the middle of the 2002 season]," Page said. "Now Kearns is trying to step up and carry the ballclub. He puts more pressure on himself than he has to. Kearns is capable of being productive. The pitchers pitch around Nick [Johnson] to get to him, so now he feels a little excess pressure. He needs to be relaxed and fluid."

Injury report: Infielder/outfielder Daryle Ward hasn't played a game since Aug. 13 because of sore Achilles tendons in both feet and a left hip flexor. Ward believes he hurt the hip flexor trying to compensate for the sore Achilles tendons, which he believes he hurt while shagging a lot of fly balls in the outfield during batting practice.

The Achilles tendons have been sore for quite some time and Ward decided to tough it out, but he said that was the wrong thing to do.

"I took a couple of days to get myself ready," Ward said. "Once I get moving, I'll be able to tell how I feel. One thing about the Achilles injury is once they are warmed up, they were fine, then I'll sit back down on the bench during the game and they will stiffen back up."

Ward was available to pinch-hit against the Phillies on Friday. Ward, who is hitting .330 with five home runs and 16 RBIs, has clearly been the best hitter for the Nationals this season. He said he is successful off the bench because he thinks about the team first.

"I try not to look at anything selfishly because I tend to get outside of myself and try to do too much," Ward said. "Now, I go up there to get something done for the team. It seems to work out better that way."

First impressions: Jose Cardenal, the special advisor to Bowden, spent time with the Gulf Coast Nationals and came away impressed with outfielders Chris Marrero and Stephen Englund and right-hander Colton Willems, who were selected by the Nationals in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Marrero, according to Cardenal, has a swing similar to Joe Torre's. Marrero loves to hit the ball to left- and right-center field, and Cardenal said with time, he will start hitting for power.

A third baseman by trade, Marrero needs to make adjustments playing the outfield. He sometimes has problems getting good jumps on the ball, according to Cardenal.

Englund was drafted a shortstop, but he has made tremendous strides in center field, Cardenal said.

"He has a lot of speed and he is quick," Cardenal said. "All he has to do is learn what he has to do with the ball with people running all over the place -- game situations. But that's nothing. In time, he will learn how to do that."

Cardenal said he saw Willems throw a fastball between 95 to 97 miles per hour. Willems has a very good slider, but like most teenagers, he was overthrowing, trying to blow hitters away with every pitch. Cardenal believes Willems will mature and become one of the most productive pitchers for the Nationals.

Quote of the day: "10-10. Congratulations, Poppy." --- Alfonso Soriano complimenting Nick Johnson on stealing his 10th base of the season against the Phillies on Friday. Johnson has 18 home runs this year.

Be a part of the mailbag: The Nationals mailbag runs on Monday. Send in your questions now.

Stat of the day: Since becoming manager of the Expos in 2002, Robinson is 41-46 against the Phillies entering Friday's game.

Did you know? Vladimir Guerrero, Andres Galarraga, Andre Dawson and Al Oliver are the only players for the Nationals/Expos with 300 total bases in a season.

Coming up: The Nationals play the second game of a three-game series against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Right-hander Ramon Ortiz takes the mound for Washington, while left-hander Cole Hamels goes to the hill for Philadelphia.

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