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Pitchers Have Issues With Mound

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 17, 2005; Page E09

While the Washington Nationals' home-opening, 5-3 victory over Arizona Thursday night got rave reviews, there were issues with the pitcher's mound that both Manager Frank Robinson and several pitchers said needed to be fixed.

"It's too soft," said right-hander Livan Hernandez, who won the opener. "I don't want to hurt myself."

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The main issue, Robinson said, is that there's not enough clay near the rubber. When the pitcher digs in, the hole becomes too large. The team noticed the condition during its April 3 exhibition game against the New York Mets.

"I know that's not what a pitcher wants," Robinson said.

The grounds crew worked on the mound prior to last night's game, and will continue to work on it until the pitchers are satisfied.

Day in Relief

Righty Zach Day made his first relief appearance in last night's 9-3 victory, walking two in two-thirds of an inning.

"I think my adrenaline was flowing too much," he said. Day is due to start Wednesday against Atlanta, which scored seven runs off him in his last start. . . . Righty Tony Armas Jr., still on the disabled list with a strained right groin, made his first rehabilitation start for Class AAA Nashville Friday night, pitching 3 1/3 innings and allowing two hits and two runs, walking one and striking out three. Armas also tripled and scored a run.

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