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Johnson's Injured Heel Slow to Heal

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 11, 2005

PHILADELPHIA, July 10 -- Washington Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson, who was supposed to be with Class AA Harrisburg on Sunday to begin a rehabilitation assignment, suffered a setback in his comeback from a deeply bruised heel and will not be ready to return immediately after the all-star break.

Rather than playing with Harrisburg on Sunday as part of a planned two-game assignment, he rested. When he ran in the outfield on Friday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, Johnson felt uncomfortable and was limping.

There is no immediate timetable for his return, Manager Frank Robinson said.

"That type of injury, nobody can determine how well it is and how bad it is," Robinson said. "It's in there in the heel, and that's a tough injury to really have a feel for how good it is or how bad it is, really."

Outfielder Ryan Church, also eligible to come off the disabled list for the first game after the all-star break -- Thursday in Milwaukee -- continued his rehabilitation in Harrisburg and is expected to return on time.

Deal for Wilson Not Done Yet

Just because the Nationals' potential trade for Colorado outfielder Preston Wilson hasn't happened doesn't mean it's dead, a source said Sunday. General Manager Jim Bowden continued to pursue Wilson, though the particulars of what will happen could be up to Wilson.

The Denver Post reported in Sunday's editions that Wilson, who has $5.58 million remaining in salary this year, is open to deferring some of the money to decrease the Rockies' financial burden, but he would like to be paid interest on the money. The Nationals, a source said, are willing to pay around $2.5 million.

The Nationals would give up pitcher Zach Day and minor league outfielder J.J. Davis for Wilson. Day is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts for Harrisburg, where he is rebuilding arm strength after missing six weeks with a hairline fracture in his right wrist.

Wilson, who through Saturday had hit 10 of his 15 homers and had 34 of his 47 RBI at Colorado's Coors Field, told the Denver Post that he wouldn't mind playing for the Nationals, whose home, RFK Stadium, yields fewer homers than any other park.

Eischen In and Out

Left-hander Joey Eischen didn't know why he appeared in Sunday's 5-4 loss to pitch to one batter, intentionally walk him, and then come out of the game. "Don't ask me," Eischen said.

After Eischen came in and walked Tomas Perez in the eighth, Robinson said he was trying to get the next hitter, switch hitter Jimmy Rollins, out of the game. But Rollins has a sore hand that prevents him from hitting right-handed, so having him face Eischen would have been preferable. Still, Robinson brought in right-hander Chad Cordero. Rollins walked.

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