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Guzman to return?

So the Nationals are trying to get Cristian Guzman healthy enough so that he might return for the last two weeks or 10 days or so. Guzman, out with a thumb injury suffered June 25, has been throwing for a while now. He's taking some swings in the batting cage today. He has not yet fielded (the thumb is on his left hand, his glove hand, so it would have to be able to absorb the pounding).

"I'm trying," Guzman just told me. "I want to play. We'll see."

GM Jim Bowden said the club would like Guzman to get some at-bats by the end of the year because he was having such a fine season.

"It'd be valuable for him to get some at-bats," Bowden said.

Which could mean interesting things for Felipe Lopez. There are people, high-placed people in the organization, who are sick of Lopez's attitude/actions. We'll see how that plays out. I'm not saying that Lopez would be non-tendered in the offseason, but the club does have three capable middle infielders in Lopez, Guzman and Ronnie Belliard. We'll see how it works out.

Other news: Both Bowden and Manager Manny Acta acknowledged that the Nationals have an interesting dilemma on their hands in regards to the Brian Schneider/Jesus Flores dynamic on next year's team, a debate we've explored at length on the Journal. The original plan, Bowden said, was to send Flores to Class AA Harrisburg next year. That seems to be off the table.

"He's been a major leaguer," Bowden said. But he also added, "I consider Brian Schneider the best game-caller in the majors. And, later, said, "Brian's our catcher."

It's possible, I suppose, that Schneider could get traded in the offseason if a contending team needed a defense-first catcher. But Bowden also said he thinks of Schneider as a .260 hitter, not a .225 hitter. As I've said before, I think this will be a fascinating thing to watch in the offseason and next spring.

Your expanded National League batting leaders:
1. Chase Utley, Philadelphia .3364
2. Matt Holliday, Colorado .3358
3. Dmitri Young, Washington .3357
4. Edgar Renteria, Atlanta .3356

Pretty bunched at the top. I haven't written enough about Young's unlikely quest for a batting title, but will in the next month. The last D.C.-based major leaguer to win a batting title was first baseman Mickey Vernon of the 1953 Senators, when he led the AL with a .337 average.

Lineups:

San Francisco:
Davis - 8
Vizquel - 6
Winn - 9
Feliz - 5
Aurilia - 3
Ortmeier - 7
Rodriguez - 2
Frandsen - 4
Zito - 1

Washington:
Logan - 8
Lopez - 6
Zimmerman - 5
Young -- 3
Kearns - 9
Pena - 7
Belliard - 4
Schneider - 2
Chico - 1

That's it for now. Enjoy the game.

By Barry Svrluga  |  September 2, 2007; 12:47 PM ET
 
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Next: Zimmerman and the walk-off -- plus call-up news

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