Desmond continues to rest sore left oblique

Desmond continues to rest sore left oblique

WASHINGTON -- Battling a left oblique strain that manager Davey Johnson now says could linger for the rest of the season, Ian Desmond missed his third consecutive game on Tuesday night.

The Nationals' All-Star shortstop played in the first two games of the weekend series in Miami, going 3-for-8 at the plate. But after visibly grimacing at the plate in both games -- bunting on Friday because it hurt too much to swing and falling to one knee after a swing during his final at-bat on Saturday night -- Desmond sat for the series opener with the Mets, though Johnson said at this point, a stint on the disabled list isn't being considered.

"He said this is something he thinks is going to be lingering all year long, and it's not going to get better until the offseason," Johnson said. "He wanted to go see how much he could swing and whatever, and see how it felt. ... What we're going to do is make sure we get past maybe a point where it keeps grabbing him and is bad."

Desmond is receiving treatment in the form of anti-inflammatory medication, heat packs and, as Johnson termed it, "some kind of a science-fiction tape" on the injured area.

Before sitting out Sunday's game, Desmond had played in every inning of 71 straight games. After leading the team with a .285 batting average and a .830 OPS in the first half, and belting a team-and career-high 17 home runs, Desmond was selected to the first All-Star Game of his four-year career. He ultimately elected to sit the game out, choosing to rest the oblique instead.

"I'd just rather err on the cautious side," Johnson said. "The oblique is the injury of 2012, I guess. Everybody seems to have one. I didn't know that those things were contagious."