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Nationals Notebook

Osuna Remains With Ill Father

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 23, 2005; Page D05

VIERA, Fla., Feb. 22 -- Other than newly signed infielder Carlos Baerga, Washington Nationals relief pitcher Antonio Osuna remains the only player not in spring training camp, and neither club officials nor his agent are sure when he'll arrive.

Osuna is tending to his ill father in his home town of Los Mochis, Mexico, his agent, Joe Longo, said by telephone Tuesday. Longo, who declined to discuss the nature of the illness, planned to speak with Osuna again late Tuesday night to see if they could arrange a schedule for Osuna to get to Space Coast Stadium. "It's a difficult situation," Longo said. "He wants to be in two places at once."

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Osuna, 32, signed a one-year, $850,000 contract with the Nationals last month. He went 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 31 appearances with San Diego last year, and is expected to serve as one of the primary set-up men for the Nationals' closer, most likely Chad Cordero.

Team officials continue to consider Osuna's absence excused. Longo said the team has gone out of its way to make the player feel comfortable. "They've been great," Longo said. "They've been nothing but generous."

Vidro Works Out

Second baseman Jose Vidro, still recovering from knee surgery last year, went through a full workout Tuesday. "It felt very good," he said. "I know it's going to take time, but I'm really going to put a lot of work in it, because I know this is a very important year for me and my team." Vidro took grounders and then ran on a treadmill. . . .

Reliever Francis Beltran had an MRI exam on his right elbow that revealed tendinitis, club officials said. He is likely to take three to five weeks before he's at full strength, said team physician Bruce Thomas.

Beltran, acquired last season from the Chicago Cubs in the four-team deal that sent Montreal shortstop Orlando Cabrera to Boston, went 2-2 with a 5.47 ERA in 45 appearances for the two teams last year.

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