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NATIONALS NOTEBOOK

Acta Believes Redding Could Be an All-Star

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By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 26, 2008

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tim Redding found a succinct way to summarize his hot-cold performance yesterday. "First five innings? Productive," he said. "Sixth inning? Absolutely horrible."

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For Manager Manny Acta, though, one of Redding's rockiest innings of the year -- he allowed all five of his earned runs yesterday in the sixth, before departing with two outs -- didn't neutralize the right-hander's value this season. After the game, Acta suggested that Redding was, to date, the team's most worthy candidate for the All-Star Game.

"It's a month and a half away, but he has pitched well enough to be considered," Acta said. "Take into consideration what he's done for our team, and that you have to take a player from each team. I mean, he's pitched tremendously. I don't see -- unless he collapses big time in the next month-and-a-half, or somebody else takes off and goes wild -- I think he's got the lead, performance-wise, on our club."

Counting his no-decision performance against the Brewers, which included seven strikeouts, Redding has a 6-3 record and a 3.59 ERA.

Redding called his manager's endorsement "flattering."

Small Talk?

In a twisted cause-and-effect Saturday night, the disclosure of a franchise third baseman's sore left shoulder only came about because of another man's sore vocal chords.

On Saturday night, when a case of laryngitis knocked regular MASN broadcaster Don Sutton from the booth, producers scrambled for a replacement. With the help of John Guagliano, the Nationals' marketing and broadcasting vice president, MASN enlisted the help of two guest commentators -- Jose Rijo, and injured catcher Paul Lo Duca.

"We had a good time," Lo Duca said. "Definitely a different perspective up there."

If nothing else, Lo Duca made an impression as a news-breaker. Noting an awkward Zimmerman swing in the eighth inning, Lo Duca mentioned on-air that Zimmerman had been bothered by a minor shoulder injury.

Better left unsaid? Perspectives differed. Lo Duca thought nothing of the comment, requesting that the media not "make a mountain out of a molehill."

"I can't tell Paul what to do or what not to do," Acta said. "Obviously, yeah, you don't want the other teams to find out what's wrong with any of your players."

Zimmerman -- who will sit out today's game, a rare rest -- jokingly wished nobody knew about the injury only so he didn't have to answer questions about it.

From a competitive standpoint, he said, "that doesn't matter. If they want to test me and throw fastballs in there, that's fine."


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