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The faces of the franchise

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Dmitri Young is in Viera in his new and improved playing condition — down from the 324 pounds he finished the season at last year. He looks like he has lost about 25 pounds, which puts him at around 300 pounds — which may work for a sportswriter, but not for a major league baseball player, especially for one who the team paid $5 million last year and will have to pay another $5 million this year, even if he never plays a game for Washington this season, which is very possible.

Young declared himself “on strike” Wednesday when it came to the media — quite the role model the Nationals touted for Elijah Dukes, who was three minutes away from possible jail time last month for failure to pay more than $40,000 in child support to hie estranged wife, one of four women Dukes has had five children with. Dukes met with reporters Wednesday for about five minutes. Then he was asked if the “off-the-field” issues — in otherwords, facing a jail sentence — were a distraction for him during the off season. He bristled and the session was cut off by a Nationals public relations representative. The team is not doing this ticking time bomb any favors by coddling him with special treatment. There is resentment in the clubhouse over that treatment.

Radio

I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM and espn980.com on Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 5 to 7 p.m.

To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com

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