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Nationals Journal

Sunday, February 27, 2011; D02

Wang is impressive in batting practice

Chien-Ming Wang continued to make progress Saturday afternoon by throwing his most impressive pitches this spring in a live batting practice session. Wang pitched for 10 minutes, the same duration as the other Nationals pitchers, and he will throw in a minor league intrasquad game Friday.

"That was the loosest his arm has been and the best stuff he's shown" all spring, General Manager Mike Rizzo said of Saturday's session.

Wang is still recovering from major shoulder surgery in July 2009. Before pitchers and catchers reported, he said he expected to begin the year on the disabled list, in a minor league rehab assignment. Now, Wang is aiming to start the season in the majors if the Nationals determine he deserves a spot.

Wang has seemingly recaptured the sinking action on his fastball that once helped him win 19 games in consecutive seasons for the New York Yankees. During Saturday's live batting practice session - watched by front-office assistant Bob Boone, pitching coach Steve McCatty, Manager Jim Riggleman and Rizzo - Wang broke Danny Espinosa's bat with one sinker and induced a slew of groundballs.

"He threw the ball good," McCatty said. "I've never seen him at 100 percent, so I can't say what 100 percent is. As long as he's feeling really good, that's the important thing. Because the ball still has good movement."

Wang will throw one or two innings in Friday's game, depending on how he feels and how many pitches he throws.

Meredith has more tests

Cla Meredith received a second MRI exam on his surgically repaired right elbow, an enhanced version of the test called an arthrogram in which doctors inject dye into the joint.

Meredith, a sidewinding, right-handed reliever in camp on a minor league contract, is waiting to hear the results from the test.

Meredith cut short his first bullpen session of spring training with discomfort in his elbow, on which he underwent surgery in October to remove bone chips. An initial MRI revealed no issues. He rested and received medication and aimed to throw again Saturday.

When Meredith tried to play catch from 40 feet, he felt the same sharp pain in his elbow that he experienced in his first bullpen session. Doctors decided he needed the second test.

"When the medicine didn't work, we knew there was a problem," Meredith said.

Riggleman sets lineup

The Nationals' first game of the year is Monday against the Mets, and Manager Jim Riggleman has the lineup set:

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF

2. Ian Desmond, SS

3. Roger Bernadina, LF

4. Michael Morse, RF

5. Matt Stairs, DH

6. Wilson Ramos, C

7. Kevin Barker, 1B

8. Danny Espinosa, 2B

9. Jerry Hairston, 3B

Chad Gaudin, SP

Jesus Flores will catch the latter half of the game, his first major league game action behind the plate since May 2009. (He did appear as a pinch hitter late that season.)

- Adam Kilgore

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