Cantu to get breather

Deciding when to give bench players starts is a challenge for all managers.

Fredi Gonzalez on Sunday is planning on starting Ross Gload at first base, giving Jorge Cantu a day off. Of course, Cantu will be available to pinch-hit.

The strategy is partly based to give Gload a chance to have four at-bats, which is important for players to stay sharp. As a pinch-hitter, Gload has done a terrific job.

Getting regular plate appearances will certainly pay off.

Another thing to consider with this move is Cantu gets to avoid facing Nationals right-hander Daniel Cabrera. In the third game of the season, Cabrera plunked Cantu on the back of the left hand with a 91 mph fastball.

Since then, Cantu is wearing a protective padding on the back of his batting glove.

— Joe Frisaro

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