Ailing Back Sends Young To Early Break

By Steve Yanda and Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, July 13, 2008

As Dmitri Young shuffled toward the training room in the rear of the Nationals' clubhouse yesterday, he stopped briefly to comment on the object of his self-loathing. He had been pulled out of Friday night's game during the middle of a fourth-inning at-bat after feeling acute discomfort on the right side of his lower back.

Young had dealt with consistent pain in that area since aggravating it July 5 at Cincinnati. He thought he could play until the all-star break and the three days of respite it affords. But rather than start the final two games before the break, Young will be on the bench.

"It just got to a point yesterday when it was like, better to be safe than sorry," Young said. "I'm a little ticked off at myself that I didn't make it."

Though he said his back did not feel better yesterday, Young did not hesitate to declare he will be ready to return Friday at Atlanta. He spent a little more than a month on the disabled list this season with a lower back sprain, but the first baseman did not think this ailment would lead to another trip.

Young, who is batting .280 with 10 RBI and four home runs in 50 games, did not take batting practice the past few days leading up to Friday night. "We were aware that he was a little uncomfortable, but [it was] nothing that was going to stop him from playing," Manager Manny Acta said.

Acta said before the game that Young might be available to pinch-hit, but he stayed on the bench.

General Manager Jim Bowden said he spoke with trainer Lee Kuntz before last night's game and described Young's status as day-to-day. "We're sure he'll be ready to go Friday," Bowden said.

'Tentative' Rehab Plan for Zimmerman

The Nationals, encouraged by progress shown by Ryan Zimmerman as he recovers from a shoulder injury, are planning to send their third baseman on Monday to Class A Potomac, where he will begin a rehab assignment. In a plan the Nationals called "tentative," Zimmerman will spend the first part of the week with Potomac before moving on Thursday to Class AAA Columbus. He is expected to remain with the Clippers until next weekend.

Barring setbacks, Zimmerman then will return to the Nationals' lineup for the first time since May 25.

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