Young's Back, Hip Troubles Still Lingering

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Washington Nationals will distribute 15,000 bobblehead likenesses of first baseman Dmitri Young at tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, an ode to the 2007 National League comeback player of the year. Young, though, won't be in the lineup, and there's no telling when or if that will happen.

General Manager Jim Bowden said yesterday that Young's sprained lower back is not improving. Young, 34, tried to swing in the batting cage yesterday afternoon at Nationals Park -- his first time taking live swings in weeks -- and the results were not promising.

"He's not making progress," Bowden said. "It's unfortunate."

Bowden said the club has contacted the Mayo Clinic about getting another opinion on Young's back, which he injured in the first week of spring training games. Young, who hit .320 as the Nationals' everyday first baseman in 2007, lost the job to Nick Johnson this spring. He has just two at-bats this season, and went on the disabled list April 8.

"He's having problems with his hip," Bowden said. "He can't turn after he hits. We just can't get him over the hump. We're going to keep trying to get medical opinions until we find someone that can fix it for us."

Lo Duca May Be Activated

Catcher Paul Lo Duca went 0 for 2 with a walk last night for Class A Potomac as he rehabilitates his bruised right hand. Given the injury to closer Chad Cordero, it's possible Lo Duca, should he feel all right, could be activated today, leaving the Nationals with three catchers. Bowden said he doesn't expect Lo Duca, who has been a starting catcher for eight seasons, to need many at-bats to get his timing back.

"To be a .300 hitter in the big leagues, you're real special," Bowden said of Lo Duca, who has hit .300 three times. . . .

The Nationals promoted right-hander Cory Van Allen from Potomac to Class AA Harrisburg following his seven-inning, one-hit performance Tuesday. Van Allen, 3-0 with a 0.66 ERA in five appearances, allowed just one unearned run in his last three starts for Potomac. . . .

Center fielder Lastings Milledge appeared to injure his shoulder while making a diving attempt on Gregor Blanco's sixth-inning double, but he stayed in the game. "I'm good," he said.

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