There wasn't a whole lot to like about the Nats first game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday. Livan Hernandez gave up 5 runs in the first inning, and the Nationals never recovered, scoring only 2 runs.
The Nats lethargic bats have been a serious cause for concern early in the season, as the club dropped below .500 following a 3-game losing streak. There's no Ryan Zimmerman, and his replacements, Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Alex Cora, have been nothing to write home about. After another 0-for night against the Bucs on Saturday, Hairston is hitting .147. Alex Cora is hitting .130 in limited plate appearances.
But there's hope, Nats fans. The front office has made a roster move that has brought Brian Bixler up to see what he can do to fill-in for the ailing Zimmerman. Bixler, a 3rd baseman by trade, came out of nowhere during Spring Training this season to hit .316 and post a .449 OBP. He continued on his tear to start the season in Syracuse, the Nats Triple-A affiliate. He's hit .326 with a .483 OBP.
The move is clearly a sign that the Nats don't like what they've seen from the veterans Hairston and Cora. Hopefully it's not cause for additional concern over Zimmerman's abdominal injury, since SI.com's Will Carroll reports that Zimm hasn't participated in baseball activities since April 12, when he was added to the DL.
The Nats picked up Bixler from, who else, the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash in 2010. It'd be poetic justice for Bixler to make his 2011 debut against the club that drafted him to help the Nats rebound from such pitiful Saturday evening display at PNC Park. It can't hurt to give him a shot, because it can't possibly be any worse.