Nationals Notebook

Injuries to Nationals' Lastings Milledge, Ronnie Belliard Are Not Believed to Be Serious

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 19, 2009

VIERA, Fla., March 18 -- The Washington Nationals suffered two injuries in Wednesday night's 7-5 exhibition loss against the Florida Marlins. They also got two pieces of relieving news: The injuries to Lastings Milledge and Ronnie Belliard aren't believed to be serious.

Milledge, with a left knee contusion, is day-to-day. Belliard, with a left ankle sprain, will be reevaluated this morning, but Manager Manny Acta said the team expects him to miss two or three days.

The injuries occurred in similar fashion. Belliard was trying to beat out a double play in the fourth. Milledge was legging out an infield single in the ninth.

Several paces past the bag, Belliard fell to the ground and remained on his back for a minute while the training staff, and Acta, attended to him.

Milledge's injury occurred when he collided knee-to-knee with Florida first baseman Gaby Sanchez.

Bob Boone's Perspective

With his son, Aaron, about to have open heart surgery, Nationals Assistant General Manager Bob Boone was coping Wednesday by praying for his son and, just a little bit, trying to think about baseball. On Wednesday afternoon, Bob Boone watched Washington's batting practice. He smiled a little. But he also acknowledged that Aaron's surgery -- which could take place within the next week -- "is robbing him of something he really wants."

That is, his career.

Last year, Aaron Boone played for the Nationals, grafting part of the family tree into the organization. But he departed in the offseason to the Houston Astros. Now 36, he has known since college about a heart condition with a defective aortic valve. Every year, Bob Boone said, Aaron has gotten a physical to examine the condition, knowing he would eventually need open heart surgery.

"He goes in every year and they always say, 'Okay,' " Bob Boone said. "He always thought he would be 50 when he had to have this fixed."

Short Stay for Shortstop

For their game against the Marlins, the Nationals added a player to their lineup, importing shortstop Daniel Espinosa from their minor league camp as a one-time sub. The Nationals wanted to give regular shortstop Cristian Guzmán (toe) one more day to rest.

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