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Castilla Injured

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 19, 2005; Page D07

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla., March 18 -- Washington Nationals third baseman Vinny Castilla suffered a hyperextended left knee during Friday night's Grapefruit League game against the New York Mets. Castilla will have an MRI exam on the knee Saturday morning, and likely won't play for a couple of days.

"It hurts a lot," Castilla said.

Washington Nationals trainer Tim Abraham, left, walks off the field with third baseman Vinny Castilla after Castilla hypoer extended his right knee during the game against the New York Mets on Friday. (Toni L. Sandys - The Washington Post)

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Castilla, 37, made a fine catch of a high popup by Doug Mientkiewicz in the fourth inning of the game, which was called after 10 innings and the score tied at 2. But Castilla, who ranged well down the left field line in foul territory, said he stepped awkwardly on the seam where the grass meets the dirt at Tradition Field.

The club termed the MRI "precautionary." Castilla said he couldn't gauge the severity of the injury immediately after the game.

"I hope it's a minor thing," he said. "I don't know how much I'm going to be able to do."

Castilla, signed as a free agent in the offseason, is off to a slow start. He grounded out in his only at-bat Friday, and is just 2 for 20 with a pair of singles and one RBI.

Errors Piling Up

The Nationals entered Friday's game tied for the most errors among National League teams during spring training, and committed two more against the Mets. Left fielder Brad Wilkerson dropped a fly ball, and third baseman Tony Blanco -- who replaced Castilla -- made a poor throw on a grounder.

"We've got to tighten up," Manager Frank Robinson said. . . .

Right-hander Tony Armas Jr., whose scheduled start was washed out by rain Thursday, threw three innings of no-hit, no-walk ball in a minor league game against the Atlanta Braves in Viera. . . .

The Nationals have begun selling 11 renovated luxury suites at RFK Stadium on both a full-season and single-game basis. The five suites that will be sold on a game-by-game basis can handle between 26 and 50 people and range in price from $3,100-$7,000. They can be reserved by calling (202) 675-6287.

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