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Nationals seeking spark from Guzman

Nationals seeking spark from Guzman

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After Tuesday's game against the Phillies, the Nationals activated shortstop Cristian Guzman from the 15-day disabled list and optioned Alberto Gonzalez to Triple-A Syracuse. Guzman will start against the Phillies on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Nationals missed Guzman's bat and defense in a big way. During his absence, Gonzalez was shaky with the glove, making six errors to the surprise of manager Manny Acta. Gonzalez has a reputation of being an above average fielder.

The team has yet to have a quality hitter from the leadoff spot. In fact, the Nats are hitting .228 from that spot with nine runs scored. That is expected to change now that Guzman will bat first.

He will return to action after missing time because of a left hamstring strain. Guzman was 17-for-33 (.515) before getting hurt against the Phillies on April 13.

"I expect him to continue to hit the way he has been hitting the last couple of years," manager Manny Acta said. "Even though he doesn't walk as much, he is making up [for the high on-base percentage] by flat-out hitting."

Guzman has played great baseball since Acta arrived as manager after the 2006 season, hitting .327 (257-for-786), and Acta believes the league don't realize how good Guzman is.

"He brings so much stability to our lineup and our defense," Acta said. "He has been very consistent. He is so quiet that he is tough to read. Sometimes, people -- outside looking in -- don't know how good of a player that he is. He is tremendous teammate. He works very hard. He is very professional at what he does. He has been nothing but good for us since I've been here. He is an example of our younger kids over here."

Pitching matchup
WSH: LHP Scott Olsen (0-3, 7.29 ERA)
On Friday against the Mets, Olsen pitched well enough for his second consecutive quality start, but he ended up losing his third game of the season because of some shoddy defense. Olsen lasted six innings and gave up three runs, two of which were earned.

PHI: RHP Brett Myers (1-1, 4.91 ERA)
Myers is still looking for that first dominant performance of 2009, although his last two starts have been quality starts. But home runs continue to hurt him. In his start Friday against the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium, he allowed a three-run homer to Dan Uggla in the first inning. It would be the only three runs he would allow in six innings. Myers has allowed 26 hits this season. Eight of them have been home runs.

Tidbits
Ryan Zimmerman is on a 17-game hitting streak. He is hitting .319 with four homers and 13 RBIs during that stretch. ... Nick Johnson's 11-game hitting streak was snapped at 11 games. ... Adam Dunn leads the Nationals in home runs (six) and RBIs (15).

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN HD

On radio
• WFED 1500, SBN 1390 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Nationals (Daniel Cabrera, 0-2, 4.42) vs. Cardinals (Mitchell Boggs, 1-0, 1.17), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann, 2-0, 2.38) vs. Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 1-2, 6.14), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Nationals (Shairon Martis, 2-0, 6.20) vs. Cardinals (Joel Pineiro, 4-0, 3.76), 1:05 p.m. ET

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

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