Thursday, April 28, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
By Mark ZuckermanNationals Insider
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Shortstop Ian Desmond came off the paternity leave list Thursday, rejoining the Nationals after missing two days for the birth of his first child.
Desmond left the club Tuesday morning and made it to Sarasota, Fla., in time for wife Chelsey to deliver 6-pound, 11-ounce son Grayson that afternoon. He remained there Wednesday before flying back to Washington Thursday, where he went straight to Nationals Park and was in the starting lineup for the series finale against the Mets.
Major League Baseball created the paternity leave list this season, allowing clubs to replace expectant fathers on the roster during their absence.
Roger Bernadina, who was called up from Class AAA Syracuse Tuesday to take Desmond's spot, was optioned back to the minors Thursday afternoon. The outfielder appeared in both games while in D.C., going 2-for-3 with a double.
Team officials, though, wanted to keep another right-handed bat on their bench for now, so infielder Brian Bixler remains on the big-league roster while Bernadina goes down. The club also prefers Bernadina play every day at Syracuse instead of coming off the bench in Washington.
Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman played catch for a few minutes Thursday afternoon, testing his strained abdominal muscle. The Nationals are not speculating any timetable for Zimmerman's return from the disabled list, but they are taking a slow approach with the third baseman and it appears he'll be out at least another week, likely more.
Mark Zuckerman also blogs about the Nationals at natsinsider.com. Contact him at email@example.com and on Twitter @MarkZuckerman.