Nationals get another catching scare, but optimistic Flores will return Tuesday

ATLANTA -- The Nationals have chewed through catchers like a pack of Juicy Fruit gum this season, but manager Davey Johnson remains cautiously optimistic that he won't have to go to Plan D after Jesus Flores left Sunday night's 7-2 win over the Braves with a strained right hamstring.

"I think it's more of a mild strain," Johnson said. "We knew about it in the sixth or seventh inning, but he said he was OK to finish. I hated to use my last catcher [Carlos Maldonado], but I saw [Flores] run on that single and then after the bunt saw him walk into second base and said I can't take a chance."

The Nationals started the season with Wilson Ramos as their catcher but lost him for the year to a knee injury two weeks ago. His replacement, Sandy Leon, is on the disabled list with an ankle injury and is not expected to return until June.

With an afternoon game in Miami on Monday following a prime time Sunday night game in Atlanta, Johnson said he did not intend to play Flores against the Marlins, anyway. The Nationals skipper hopes after a day off on Monday, Flores will be able to return to duty behind the plate on Tuesday night in Miami.

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