CIN@WSH: McLouth makes a sliding catch in foul ground

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth had mixed emotions when he played in Thursday's game against the Pirates. He started his Major League career in Pittsburgh in 2005 and stayed with the team until the middle of the 2009 season when he was traded to the Braves.

McLouth calls making his Major League debut against the Nationals at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium his biggest highlight as a member of the Pirates.

"[PNC] is a neat place," McLouth said. "I really enjoyed my time. I love the stadium. It's one of my favorites. I was lucky enough to play here a few years. It's where I started my Major League career."

Now, McLouth is trying to help the Nationals win games. He is clearly an excellent outfielder. McLouth will go through a wall to make a catch like he did against the Dodgers earlier this month.

"That's preventing runs and being reliable behind your pitcher," McLouth said. "It's just as much a part of the game as the offensive side. You try to keep it a completely separate thing because your pitchers are counting on you. It's something I work on a lot, too."

From an offensive standpoint, the hits are starting to fall for McLouth. In his last 10 games entering Friday's action against the Pirates, McLouth is 8-for-27 [.296]. Overall, he is hitting .154.

"It's going to come," McLouth said about his hitting. "I'm going to keep grinding and keep working hard until it still comes."

Gio's throwing postponed due to stiff shoulder

Gonzalez heads to DL with shoulder inflammation

PITTSBURGH -- Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to play catch Friday, but that was postponed because his shoulder was stiff. He is hoping to play catch Saturday, according to manager Matt Williams.

The Nationals are not concerned about this latest setback, saying sometimes they have to make adjustments as far as when he could throw. Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list this past Sunday with shoulder inflammation. The Nationals didn't give a timetable on Gonzalez's return to the big leagues, but they estimated he would miss at least two starts. It looks like he may miss more that.

"[Gonzalez] is still a little stiff. He will continue his rehab program, so we will look to push him back a day as far as his throwing program goes," Williams said. "[Gonzalez will do] more strengthening today."

Worth noting

• Nationals left-hander Matt Purke is getting another opinion on his elbow. He is expected to see the doctor after the Memorial Day weekend. It's not known which doctor he will see. One thing is certain; it's not Dr. James Andrews, according to a baseball source.

Purke is off to a slow start for Double-A Harrisburg, going 1-6 with an 8.04 ERA in eight starts.