Guzman enjoying healthy breakout year

Guzman enjoying healthy breakout year

ATLANTA -- Fearing a potential jinx, Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman refuses to even comment on his surprisingly durable season.

"I don't want to talk about that," Guzman said. "Ask any of these other guys about it."

His reaction shouldn't come as a surprise -- he had been hindered by injuries the past two seasons.

Guzman, 30, is the only Nationals Opening Night starter who has not spent time on the disabled list this season, an impressive feat on a team that has needed to make 21 DL moves for 15 different players.

"It's pretty amazing considering how injury-prone he has been the last three years," manager Manny Acta said.

Acta was referring to Guzman's recent string of injuries that include a strained left hamstring, a torn left thumb ligament and a SLAP (Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior) tear in his right shoulder, which cost him the entire 2006 season. Prior to 2006, he had played at least 142 games in four consecutive seasons.

Now fully healthy, Guzman is having a breakout season. His 126 hits set a pre-All-Star break record for the Nationals, who, statistically, have the worst offense in the Majors.

"It would have been a real bummer if he would have gone down the way he's playing," Acta said.

Guzman's production and durability were rewarded with a second All-Star selection. Although he went 0-for-3 in Tuesday's game, he seemed unfazed to be playing third base for the first time in his career.

"It was pretty good," Guzman said. "I was so scared that first inning."

"That's how we did it growing up," Acta said. "You play wherever they put you."

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