WASHINGTON — For the New York Mets, Thursday’s rainout postponed an experiment to try Justin Turner in left field.
For the Washington Nationals, the downpours were a welcome sight.
“Well, this is good,” said Washington manager Davey Johnson, looking at the weather radar on the computer monitor in his office. “And even one more rainout would be better.”
The Mets-Nationals series finale succumbed to Mother Nature on Thursday night before a pitch could be thrown. The game will be made up as part of day-night doubleheader on July 26.
This rainout could be the opening salvo of nasty weather affecting both teams over the next few days. With Tropical Storm Andrea headed north, the teams’ Friday-Sunday series — the Nationals host Minnesota, the Mets are home against Miami — could feel the brunt, so the announced changes in their pitching rotations could end up being, well, all wet.
Not that the Nationals mind. The rainout means they don’t have to promote a starter for Saturday’s game in place of Stephen Strasburg, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list this week with a strained lower back muscle. Thursday’s starter, Gio Gonzalez, gets moved back to Friday and Nathan Karns gets pushed from Friday to Saturday.
Jordan Zimmermann would then pitch on regular rest on Sunday. All weather permitting, of course.
“With the number of guys we have on the DL, this is a welcome call,” Johnson said. “And then not having to add somebody else, another starter, and then we’ve got an off-day on Monday. So we would have just really made a bunch of guys move around. This is much better. So I’m happy about it.”
The Mets plan to keep Matt Harvey as their starter Friday, with Shaun Marcum moved from Thursday to Saturday. Jonathon Niese was scheduled to rejoin the rotation Saturday after missing one start with a sore shoulder, but now he’ll have at least one extra day to make sure he’s healthy.
The most intriguing name on the Mets’ lineup sheet Thursday was career infielder Turner, listed as leading off and playing left field. Turner made his first career appearance in the outfield May 8 against the Chicago White Sox when he took over in left after entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.
Turner has appeared in 37 games this season, including starts at all four infield positions. He’s hitting .288 with six RBIs and a .318 on-base percentage.
“We’ve been losing games because we can’t score,” manager Terry Collins said before the game. “So I want to see if we can get the offense going.”
Collins also said he wanted to rest regular left fielder Lucas Duda, who has been bothered by a tight quadriceps muscle. The manager did not speak to reporters after the game, so it was unclear if he would start Turner in left field against the Marlins.
But the manager felt confident about the move, noting before the game that he gave Turner some work at left field during spring training.
“He can catch them in practice,” Collins said. “He catches them in batting practice and he runs them down. Speed’s a little different when the game time starts, so we’ll see. The ball’s going to find you. We’ve seen it everywhere.”
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