Traber to Get Second Turn in Rotation

By Katie Carrera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 22, 2007

Washington Nationals Manager Manny Acta said yesterday that he expects to give left-handed reliever Billy Traber his second start of the season with right-hander Jason Simontacchi on the 15-day disabled list until July 31 with tendinitis in his pitching elbow.

Acta said he thought Traber threw the ball well in the Nationals' 3-1 loss Friday to the Colorado Rockies despite giving up two runs off three hits in four innings to record his first loss of the year.

Traber, who is 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA, would next start in the second game of the Nationals' doubleheader against the New York Mets on Saturday.

The Nationals had originally expected to push back Simontacchi's start, but Acta said the club needed to play it safe when it became clear that he likely would have to miss two turns in the rotation.

"I thought it was the best decision," Acta said. "Basically we needed an arm for the bullpen because we took one out of there [with Traber starting] and it just doesn't look like he'll be able to make the next start, so it was the safest and smartest decision for us to make."

To fill out the bullpen, the Nationals called up right-hander Chris Booker from Class AAA Columbus. Acta said he plans on using Booker, who has 24 saves in 42 games with the Clippers, as a sixth- or seventh-inning reliever while leaving Chad Cordero in the closer spot. Booker was 1-4 with a 3.83 ERA at Columbus this season.

Simulated Game for Hill

Right-hander Shawn Hill is scheduled to pitch a simulated game at Class A Potomac tomorrow, Acta said, but there is no timetable on his return to the majors.

Hill, who has been out of the starting rotation since mid-May with shoulder and elbow problems, had no problems throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session on Friday in which he used his fastball, change-up and curveball.

Staff writer Steve Yanda contributed to this report.

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