MIAMI -- Ian Desmond's lingering oblique strain is improving, and the Nationals are hoping their All-Star shortstop can play Tuesday night against the Mets in Washington.
"That's what he and I are both hoping for," manager Davey Johnson said before tonight's series finale against the Marlins.
Desmond, who skipped his first trip to the All-Star Game to rest an injury that has bothered him more than a month, played the first two games out of the break over the weekend but had to sit out Sunday afternoon's contest. He thought he might be available tonight but understands another day off might do him good.
"In the last couple days, it was pretty sore," Desmond said. "We are inside. It's not 100 outside anymore. Things like are a factor, I think. It feels better today. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
Desmond has been taking anti-inflammatory medication and has been receiving treatment from Nationals massage therapist Tatiana Tchamouroff, who accompanied the club on this road trip.
"He said he could probably play today, but I don't want to take a chance," Johnson said. "He's too valuable to the ballclub to go out there and do something spectacular and hurt himself. So, hopefully we'll get by the danger period with another day off."
Danny Espinosa again started at shortstop Monday night, with Steve Lombardozzi at second base.