Nationals Notebook

Draftee King Pays a Visit To Washington

By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 15, 2006

On a morning tour of the city, Washington Nationals third-round draft pick Stephen King took in the up-close sights of the Washington Monument and the White House.

But the 18-year-old shortstop from Orlando said one monument stood above the rest.

"This is definitely the highlight, the main event," said King as he stood on the dugout steps at an empty RFK Stadium yesterday afternoon.

King, wearing No. 93 on the back of a Nationals practice jersey, took several rounds of batting practice with the team before talking with Manager Frank Robinson in his office for about 30 minutes.

Earlier, Robinson offered the young shortstop a few pointers in the batting cage.

"He's low-key, confident in his abilities," Robinson said. "Mechanically, he's very good."

King hasn't officially signed with the club, with contract talks scheduled for the next few weeks.

Washington drafted the 6-foot-2, 195-pound King with its fifth pick, 91st overall. Baseball America ranked King as the third-best defensive high school shortstop available in the draft.

Some projected King to be taken as high as the supplemental first round, but worries about leg injuries he battled during his senior year of high school lowered his draft stock.

"It was a little disappointing for him," said Bob King, the prospect's father and high school coach.

Had King been unhappy with his draft position, he could have played at Louisiana State, which offered him a scholarship.

"It worked out pretty well this way," he said.

Vidro Is Well Enough to Play

Second baseman Jose Vidro returned to the lineup after leaving Tuesday night's loss to the Colorado Rockies with a bruised chest.

Vidro left the game just before the seventh inning after making a diving catch to rob ex-teammate Jamey Carroll of a hit in the sixth. Vidro hit the ground hard and had the wind knocked out of him, but told Robinson last night that he could play.

Vidro is just 4 for 28 (.143) over his last seven games but showed signs of snapping out of his funk with a well-struck RBI single on Tuesday. It was his first RBI since June 5 in Atlanta.

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