CLEVELAND -- When the regular season started, Nationals left-hander Ian Krol wasn't thinking about playing in the big leagues until sometime in May, when Double-A Harrisburg manager Matt LeCroy started using Krol in consecutive days out of the bullpen.
At first, Krol felt the team was preparing him to go to Triple-A Syracuse. Imagine how surprised he was that he was going straight to the big leagues. Manager Davey Johnson has made Krol one of his late-inning relievers.
On Saturday, for example, Krol entered the game in the seventh inning with the team behind, 6-5. He shut down the Indians for 1 2/3 innings and struck out three batters before the Nationals rallied to win the game, 7-6. Krol's fastball was clocked as high as 95 miles per hour.
"It's pretty surprising, jumping in there right away in critical parts of the game," Krol said. "But Davey knows what he wants. He does a great job with it. When called upon, we have to do our jobs. I have to go in there and take care of business."
Krol was the player to be named later in the three-team deal that sent slugger Michael Morse to the Athletics last offseason. Krol said the trade was good for him, as he needed a change of scenery after dealing with injuries and a suspension that lasted two months after making derogatory remarks on Twitter.
"It's a new start with a different team, just different faces," Krol said. "It's really a fresh start, not having to deal with troubles that I've had in the past. It's kind of like leaving that behind. [Being with the Nationals has] been great, to be honest with you. … It's behind me. It's just great to have the ultimate goal in your hand right now."
Asked if he would like to become a closer in the future, Krol said, "I'm taking this one day at a time. You don't see too many lefty closers in the big leagues. I know it. One day at a time."
Span hurt after fouling ball off his right foot
CLEVELAND -- Nationals center fielder Denard Span injured his right foot for the third time this season during Washington's 2-0 loss to the Indians on Sunday afternoon.
Span fouled a ball off his foot in the sixth inning and was clearly in pain, slamming his bat to the ground as he was trying to walk off the pain. He remained in the game, however.
Span would later reach base on an infield single and move to second on an error by first baseman Mark Reynolds. Anthony Rendon was the next hitter, and he singled to right field. Span normally would have scored easily, but he was in a lot of pain and had to hold up at third.
"I couldn't move too much. Even if [third-base coach Trent Jewett] wanted me to score, I don't think I would have had too much of a chance," Span said. "It was hurt before that, but it didn't feel good just to put pressure on it."
After the game, Span needed a shoehorn to put on his shoe.
"I have to see how it feels in the morning. That's usually when it's been sore or the most painful the following morning when I wake up," Span said.
Rendon still learning, improving at second base
CLEVELAND -- Nationals infielder and top prospect Anthony Rendon said he getting more comfortable at second base and is learning the nuances of the position from hitting coach Rick Eckstein, one of two infield coaches (third-base coach Trent Jewett is the other) on the team.
Rendon was drafted as a third baseman and didn't start playing second base on a regular basis until this year, when he was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse a few weeks ago.
"It has been working great. I'm trying to get feedback from anybody that could help me out," Rendon said. "You never stop learning from this game. That's the crazy thing. I'm trying to do too much. I'm just trying to make the plays."
Eckstein said Rendon has done a nice job at his new spot and is still learning the position.
"He just has to be out there and play," Eckstein said. "The other day, we had a situation where there was a potential play at the plate, and he wanted to make sure he was in the right spot. We confirmed to him that he was in the right spot.
"We want to make sure he is backing up the right way, and him and [shortstop Ian Desmond] work together. The more he is out there, the more he is going to learn."
Werth happy for Brown's success in Philadelphia
CLEVELAND -- Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth is not surprised that Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown is having a breakout season. Entering Sunday action, Brown is leading the Phillies in home runs (19) and RBIs (48).
Brown was slated to be the starting right fielder after Werth left the Phillies after the 2010 season, but he struggled for two seasons before putting things together.
"I was more surprised after I left and he struggled," Werth said. "That was surprising, because I [believe he has] a lot of talent, just raw ability. I assumed the player that we are seeing now was who he was.
"When he struggled a little bit, I was surprised, but I never stopped believing in him. He is a good kid. I spent a lot of time with him when I was in Philly. I kind of took him under my wing a little bit, not that he needed it. I'm happy for him."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.