WASHINGTON -- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond led the team in home runs (10) and RBIs (32) through 55 games. However, with that offensive production has also come a high strikeout total. His 63 strikeouts rank first on the team and sixth in the National League.
Desmond set a career high with 145 strikeouts in 158 games last season. At his 2014 pace, he'll eclipse 180 strikeouts if he plays the same number of games as 2013.
Yet, manager Matt Williams said he isn't concerned.
"Water finds its level," Williams said. "He'll find his level and he'll be where he's at all the time by the end of the season."
Desmond is unique to the shortstop position because he presents a power-hitting presence not typically found. He has struck out in 27 percent of his plate appearances, which ranks second worst out of 32 Major League shortstops who have taken at least 100 at-bats this season, but he also has the second-most home runs and fourth-most RBIs out of those same 32 players.
Not to mention, Desmond's .179 Isolated Power -- a statistic that measures the number of extra bases a hitter gains per at-bat -- ranks fifth out of Major League shortstops, according to FanGraphs.com. He has hit at least 20 home runs and driven in at least 73 runs in each of the past two seasons, and he's on pace to reach both those benchmarks again in 2014.
"The last few years I've kind of just stuck with the simple philosophy: Just swing and try to hit the ball on the barrel," Desmond said. "That's pretty much the objective every time I go to the plate. It's been producing home runs. Obviously, I'd like to get on base with some more hits, but I'll take the damage."
Gio set to make rehab start Friday at Class A
WASHINGTON -- Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez (shoulder inflammation) will make a start for Class A Advanced Potomac on Friday as part of his rehab process.
Gonzalez threw around 50 pitches in his last bullpen session, and manager Matt Williams said the pitcher would look to increase his pitch count to around 65 pitches during his start on Friday.
"He feels good and he's ready to go," Williams said.
Williams said the thought is that Gonzalez will be able to rejoin the Nationals after his one rehab start, but it will depend on how the left-hander feels after his start and how he pitches on Friday.
"It's fairly quick and he hasn't gotten to 100 [pitches] yet," Williams said. "So we'll have to see."
Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 18. He threw a three-inning simulated game on Sunday morning and afterward reported feeling great to Williams.
Elbow issue lands prospect Solis on Double-A DL
WASHINGTON -- Nationals pitching prospect Sammy Solis was placed on the seven-day disabled list at Double-A Harrisburg on Tuesday due to elbow discomfort, MLB.com has confirmed. MASNsports.com was the first to report about Solis' condition.
The injury takes on more significance considering the left-hander, the Nationals' No. 5-ranked prospect, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012. He returned in 2013 and posted a 3.32 ERA in 59 2/3 innings, 57 2/3 of which came with Class A Advanced Potomac.
Solis has been injury-prone throughout his time in the Nationals organization. He was out nearly a month in 2013 because of shoulder issues. He was invited to his first Major League Spring Training in 2014, and there was hope he could make the team as part of the bullpen, but back discomfort prevented him from contending.
Solis has made three starts so far this season with three teams, but two of them were rehab starts when he was overcoming his back problems.
He hasn't allowed an earned run over six innings for Class A Hagerstown. He then let in one earned run on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings for Potomac. In his only start of the season for Double-A Harrisburg on May 26 after he returned from DL, Solis got lit up for eight earned runs on nine hits in just 3 1/3 innings. He has not pitched since.
Treinen preps for next start with simulated game
WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Blake Treinen threw 45 pitches in a three-inning simulated game on Tuesday to prepare him for his next start on Saturday.
Treinen was scheduled to make his third start of the season on May 27 against the Marlins, but the game was postponed due to inclement weather. Treinen made his next appearance out of the bullpen in a 9-2 win over the Rangers on May 30. He didn't allow a run and gave up two hits with one strikeout in the eighth and ninth innings.
Treinen gave up three runs (none earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts over five innings in his first Major League start on May 6 against the Dodgers. The Nationals lost that game, 8-3. Treinen's next start was on May 22 against the Pirates, and he surrendered two earned runs on four hits with five walks over 5 2/3 innings in a 3-1 loss.
Treinen is a 0-2 with a 1.40 ERA in 19 1/3 innings this season. His next start will be in San Diego on Saturday night.
"He'll be ready for that," manager Matt Williams said.
Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.