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Nationals Notebook

Elbow Keeps Vidro Sidelined

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 16, 2005; Page D05

VIERA, Fla., March 15 -- Washington Nationals second baseman Jose Vidro sat out his third straight game Tuesday with a hyperextended right elbow, further limiting his at-bats and setting him behind in his recovery from knee surgery last season.

Vidro said his elbow feels "much better."

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"I think I should be able to play Thursday," he said.

But to this point, Vidro has played in just three games and has just seven plate appearances, with one walk and one hit, a double. Manager Frank Robinson said early on that he wanted to ease the three-time all-star into spring training, and he hasn't yet sent him on a road trip, all designed to bring his surgically repaired right knee along slowly.

"Any time you miss a significant amount of time in spring training, it's kind of a setback, because you're playing catch-up to everybody else," Robinson said. "Each stage of going through it, you're getting a little better, the pitchers are getting a little quicker. . . . But it shouldn't be too bad if he gets back in the next couple days or so."

Left fielder Brad Wilkerson also didn't play Tuesday because of tightness in his back. He said the condition doesn't worry him, and that he would like to play Wednesday.

Hernandez Sharp

Opening Day starter Livan Hernandez had perhaps the most impressive outing by a Washington starter thus far, throwing six innings of three-hit, one-run ball with no walks and five strikeouts in the Nationals' 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians. He retired the first 12 men he faced, and fooled several hitters with an exceptionally slow curve. "The more I throw, my arm feels more better," Hernandez said. . . .

Among those in a small crowd at Space Coast Stadium: potential owner Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves who has put in a bid for the team. He sat with General Manager Jim Bowden. . . .

Righty Hector Carrasco pitched Tuesday for the first time since his single-car accident on Friday. He threw one inning, allowing an unearned run on one hit and a walk. . . .

Righty John Patterson had his first rocky outing of the spring, allowing seven hits and five runs in three-plus innings in a split-squad game Tuesday night against the Houston Astros, who won 6-5.

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