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NATIONALS NOTEBOOK

After Massage, Young Is as Good as New

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By Adam Kilgore
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 2, 2008

Washington Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young experienced a sudden and dramatic breakthrough for his sprained lower back Wednesday night, which will allow the Nationals to send him to Viera, Fla., on Sunday for extended spring training, General Manager Jim Bowden said.

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Bowden does not have a timetable for Young's major league return, but the events from Wednesday offered optimism. During the day, team officials became so concerned with his condition they contacted the Mayo Clinic to ask for another opinion.

"I was stunned," Bowden said yesterday before the team gave away 15,000 bobblehead dolls of Young. "I've never had an experience like that before."

Nationals officials watched Young take batting practice before Wednesday's game, and the pain in his back and hip became so unbearable he couldn't finish hitting. During the game, Young worked with Nationals massage therapist Tatiana Tchamouroff, who focused on his hip flexor rather than his back.

"All of a sudden, he felt instant release," Bowden said. "She found the spot."

Young grabbed a bat and found he could swing like himself again. He told Bowden after the game he felt better, that he could take pain-free batting practice.

"I didn't believe him," Bowden said. "I said, 'Let's go down to the cage and show me.' "

Bowden and hitting coach Lenny Harris watched in astonishment. From both of sides of the plate, Young swung freely, "with violence at contact," Bowden said.

One More Day of Rehab for Lo Duca

The Nationals waited another day to send closer Chad Cordero to the disabled list, wanting to give catcher Paul Lo Duca four more at-bats at Class A Potomac while he rehabilitates his bruised right hand. He is expected to be recalled today, Bowden said.

Lo Duca's return will give the Nationals three catchers -- Wil Nieves and Johnny Estrada are currently with the big club. Lo Duca, Manager Manny Acta said, will receive the brunt of the starts.


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