Notes: Eischen feeling good

Nats notes: Eischen feeling good

MIAMI -- Whether or not his doctors or coaches agree with him, Joey Eischen said Monday that he feels ready to get back out on the mound.

Eischen, who is out for the season with a torn left rotator cuff, is traveling with the Nationals while they're in Miami, and said that he feels his progress is moving faster than expected.

"I feel like I'm ready to go today. I'm way ahead of schedule," Eischen said.

Eischen pitched in 22 games, giving up 18 runs and allowing 18 walks in 14 2/3 innings before his season-ending injury. The left-handed reliever had struggled with pain in his shoulder since Spring Training, but it wasn't until May 29, against the Phillies, that it became too serious to continue.

He had surgery on his shoulder on May 31, and said that he's been working hard at his rehab for the past three months.

"I'm very excited about coming back healthy," Eischen said. "My shoulder's feeling good. It just feels good to be able to go through my workouts. I've been going as hard as I can."

Though he's not 100 percent yet, Eischen feels willing to try to come in and "play hurt," something Nationals manager Frank Robinson is not willing to consider.

"You try to tell all these guys, when they put you on a plan, they put you there for a reason. And the worst thing I think you can do is accelerate the plan," Robinson said. "When a pitcher says, 'I can pitch hurt', well, you don't want him to pitch hurt. We want him right for next spring, next year."

Despite his reluctance to throw Eischen back into the mix this season, Robinson said he likes to see a player who's hungry to get back onto the field.

"It's good to see a guy that wants to get back out there," Robinson said.

Injury updates: Eischen was not the only Washington player on the DL that could be seen in the Nationals clubhouse on Monday.

Reliever Micah Bowie is preparing to begin his recovery from a strain in his left shoulder blade area that placed him on the 15-day DL on August 17, retroactive to August 10.

"It's going along, I've started a throwing program, just trying to start working back into it now," Bowie said.

Alex Escobar is also ailing and has experienced swelling and redness in his left arm for the past two days, suffering from a possible infection.

The Nationals center fielder, who has already been on the 15-day DL this season with a strained left hamstring, is unsure how he sustained the injury.

Following an examination, it was determined to be an infection in his left elbow. Escobar is being kept overnight at a hospital and is considered day-to-day.

"It's not just the swelling, it's the redness. It's weird," Robinson said.

The ailment is a possible reason for what Robinson sees as some problems in Escobar's swing.

"He's not swinging right, he's getting jammed on offspeed pitches," Robinson said.

Jose Guillen, who owns a home in Miami, also visited the Nationals clubhouse on Monday afternoon. Guillen is out for the season after undergoing surgery on July 25 to reconstruct his right elbow

Schneider surging: After a difficult first four months of the season, in which he's struggled at the plate, Brian Schneider is finally hitting his stride this month.

In his past 14 games, Schneider is batting at a .357 (15-for-42) clip with eight RBIs. He has 17 hits over the past 17 games, and his 42 RBIs are seven shy of his career-high of 49 in 2004.

"Earlier in the season, I got caught trying to pull the ball too much. Now I'm trying to use the whole field," Schneider said. "Just trying to work counts, get a little more pitches. Right now, I'm just trying to keep it going."

Avoiding errors: An easy culprit in the Nationals' 12-10 loss in Philadelphia on Sunday was Damian Jackson, who made three errors that contributed heavily to the defeat.

Jackson, a utility infielder, has been used infrequently this season, and Robinson said that missing out on that game experience can lead to mistakes.

"It's not easy," Robinson said. "You can almost simulate game conditions, [but] you're not seeing the speed, you're not seeing the break, and the pressure of the situation."

Despite those disadvantages, Robinson felt that factors, like the speed of the game, are aspects that players should be prepared for. It makes sense [that speed affected him] , but it shouldn't be a factor," Robinson said. "You're not a youngster, you've been around a long time, you know the plays. He should know those things. Those are the types of plays he should be able to do."

Coming up: The Nationals will play the second game of a three-game set against the Marlins on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Jason Bergmann (0-1, 7.31) will take the mound against Josh Johnson (11-6, 2.84).

Kevin Fiorenzo is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.