Nationals Notebook

Nationals Notebook: Young to Get Chance to Swing Away

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

VIERA, Fla., March 30 -- Since March 1, Dmitri Young has seen only massage tables and minor league pitching. But on Tuesday, Young will return to the Washington Nationals after missing the bulk of the month because of a back injury. When the Nationals play the Tigers in Lakeland, Young will serve as the designated hitter and restart his unlikely bid to make the Opening Day roster.

"We're going to take a look at him, because we haven't seen him since the beginning of spring training," Manager Manny Acta said. "We have to see him, see if he's able to compete and play up here. Probably not enough time, regardless, but it will be good to see him against big league pitching."

Young has only four at-bats this spring, but has spent the last week rehabbing in minor league games. He was added to the 40-man roster this past weekend.

Catching Grief

After butchering two popups earlier in the game, Willie Harris wanted the chance to redeem himself. As it happened, he also got the chance to show his humor. In the sixth inning of Monday's 3-2 exhibition loss to Detroit, a Tigers batter skied a ball just behind second base. Shortstop Cristian Guzmán yielded to Harris, providing the second baseman with his stage for redemption.

As the ball plunged, the Space Coast Stadium crowd murmured.

Harris camped under the ball.

It plugged in his mitt, and Harris reached his right hand around the leather, as if holding a treasure. He then pumped his fist in the air.

An applause transformed into a roar. Harris took a bow.

Speaking of the ovation, Harris said, "Now I understand how David Ortiz feels."

Cabrera Likely to Throw

The Nationals expect No. 3 starter Daniel Cabrera, who missed Sunday's start with a muscle spasm in his neck, will throw a 40-pitch simulated game on Tuesday. If he does, he will be on track to make his final start of the exhibition season. To align their rotation for the start of the regular season, No. 4 starter Shairon Martis and No. 5 starter Jordan Zimmermann both threw on Monday. Martis started the exhibition game against Detroit, enduring his first shaky outing of the spring (4 1/3 innings, three earned runs, two homers). Zimmermann threw a 40-pitch simulated game. Ryan Zimmerman, batting .196 entering Monday's game, homered for the first time this spring in the first inning. . . .

The Nationals cut their roster by one on Monday, reassigning relief pitcher Ryan Wagner to minor league camp.

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