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NATIONALS NOTEBOOK

Redding Starts With Three Solid Innings

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The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga outlines the major storylines and position battles in spring training for the Washington Nationals. Video: Jonathan Forsythe/washingtonpost.comPhotos: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post

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By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2008

VIERA, Fla., March 3 -- In all the discussion of Shawn Hill's forearm and John Patterson's mechanics and Matt Chico's demeanor and Collin Balester's potential, Tim Redding sat to the side and waited for his turn to throw the ball. Monday, he did just that, spinning three clean innings in what became a 3-2 victory for the Washington Nationals over the St. Louis Cardinals, the first step in Redding's quest to solidify a spot in Washington's rotation.

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"I couldn't have drawn it up any better," Redding said.

Redding allowed three singles, no walks and struck out Chris Duncan, who looked at a breaking ball for strike three. All spring Manager Manny Acta has said that Redding would have to pitch unexpectedly poorly to lose his spot in the rotation.

"I really like the way he threw the ball," Acta said. "He kept the ball down at the knees and was able to throw his breaking ball over the plate. . . . I liked, too, the velocity. He had some giddyup."

Redding went 3-6 with a 3.64 ERA in 15 starts over the second half of the season for Washington a year ago. "I was able to go into the offseason with a high amount of confidence," Redding said. Still, he is trying to balance that confidence with the realization that no starting pitcher has yet secured a spot.

"I've got to pitch," he said. "Me going out there and being lackadaisical isn't going to help me or the team."

Hill Gets Good News

Hill got the second opinion the club wanted on his right forearm soreness Monday from David Ruch of Duke University. The prognosis: no further damage.

"Everything went all right," Hill said Monday night by text message. "Nothing new. Just a few new ideas for strengthening and stretching, but continue to throw through it as of now."

Hill's next step will likely be determined Tuesday. . . .

Outfielder Elijah Dukes became the first National to homer at Space Coast Stadium this spring when he sent a solo shot through a stiff wind out to left off right-hander Mitchell Boggs in the fifth. First baseman Nick Johnson had his first extra-base hit, an opposite field double in which he slid into second. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman doubled the opposite way in his only at-bat. He's now 4 for 6. . . .

Individual game tickets for the entire home schedule will go on sale at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Tickets will be available by calling 888-632-6287 or by visiting the team's official Web site, http://www.nationals.com.


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