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Nationals Notebook

Chavez Will See More Action

By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 14, 2005; Page D07

VIERA, Fla., March 13 -- While the Washington Nationals are seeking to determine whether Endy Chavez can be their everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter in 2005, they also are attempting to gauge the trade market for him -- two good reasons why he will be playing with increasing frequency this spring.

"I just want him to focus on making the ballclub right now -- as a starter," Manager Frank Robinson said. "And the what-ifs, that comes a little later. . . . We may decide to go after someone else. And [Chavez] might be involved in a trade."

If Chavez were to be traded or fail to make the team, it would open a starting job for outfielder Terrmel Sledge -- himself a candidate to be traded -- although it would leave the Nationals without a readily identifiable leadoff man.

Last season, left fielder-first baseman Brad Wilkerson was the team's primary leadoff man, but club officials prefer to use him lower in the lineup to take advantage of his run-producing potential.

Still, Robinson acknowledged Wilkerson would be the first alternative again if Chavez were gone.

"There's no one else, in my mind," Robinson said.

Chavez went 1 for 4 Sunday in an 11-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles, raising his spring average to .211; he has yet to draw a walk this spring, but he has three stolen bases.

Vidro Sits Out

Second baseman Jose Vidro was held out of Sunday's game after suffering a hyperextended elbow while taking batting practice Saturday. He is day-to-day. . . .

Veteran right-handed reliever Antonio Osuna made his first appearance of the spring, throwing a 1-2-3 sixth inning.

Osuna missed the start of camp while tending to his ailing father in Mexico, then had his debut delayed by inflammation in his shoulder.

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