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NATIONALS NOTEBOOK

Dukes to Have Surgery Today; Casto Recalled

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By Andrew Astleford
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Washington Nationals made a pair of roster moves yesterday. Right fielder Elijah Dukes was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Sunday with a meniscus tear and partial tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee, and utility player Kory Casto was recalled from Class AAA Columbus.

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Dukes was injured while attempting to make a catch against the left field wall during the seventh inning of Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Before the injury, the 24-year-old was batting .263 with six home runs and 20 RBI. His surgery, which originally was scheduled for yesterday, will take place today in Tampa. Last week, club officials estimated Dukes would miss four to six weeks.

"I hope he won't miss as long as they have predicted," Manager Manny Acta said. "The young man wants to be out there and play. I just hope they take care of it and when he comes back he has a new knee and he won't have to worry about it."

In 23 games with the Nationals this season, Casto has hit .180 with one home run and seven RBI. At Columbus, he batted .315 with three home runs and 16 RBI.

"Being up here is always good," Casto said. "Obviously, the circumstances aren't what I wanted with Dukes being hurt. You don't ever want that to be the reason."

Wagner on His Way Back

Relief pitcher Ryan Wagner (right shoulder) continues his rehab assignment at Class A Potomac. He pitched a scoreless seventh inning and earned a save Monday night against the Salem Avalanche, his second appearance in three days for the club. Wagner, who had shoulder surgery in June 2007, walked three batters in two-thirds of an inning on Saturday.

"He's going to continue his rehab over there," Acta said. "We had some good reports [Monday], and he's going to continue to pitch. He's just here to play long toss and meet with the team today." . . .

First baseman Dmitri Young started yesterday, despite leaving with a back injury during Sunday's 6-5 loss in Cincinnati.


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