- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2008

SEEN AND HEARD IN VIERA, FLA.

ASTROS 4, NATIONALS 3

With the release of John Patterson, Odalis Perez continued to make his case for being Washington’s Opening Night starter. He turned in six solid innings against Houston last night, striking out six while allowing two runs and four hits. After the game, the Nationals announced they had purchased Perez”s contract, meaning he is on the 40-man roster and effectively guaranteed to be in the rotation.

Ryan Zimmerman drilled a two-run homer to right in the first inning, and Nick Johnson hit his first homer of the spring a shot to deep center field in the fifth. It was the best sign this spring that the middle of the Nationals” order is ready to go.

The Nationals led most of the way until the Astros scored two off Chad Cordero in the ninth.

TEMPERATURE CHECK

UP ODALIS PEREZ

Added to 40-man roster; continues to look like team”s No. 1 starter.

UP JOHN LANNAN (left)

Big winner in Patterson”s departure; could be fourth starter.

DOWN BRET BOONE

Comeback attempt headed to minors as second baseman is reassigned.

DOWN JOHN PATTERSON

From Opening Day starter to looking for a job in less than a year.

OVERHEARD

I’m checking my ego at the door. I want to give myself an opportunity

— Bret Boone, acknowledging he will accept an assignment to Class AAA Columbus at the end of spring training

BY THE NUMBERS

5.75 ERA for John Patterson since his breakthrough 2005 season.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Sunny, 57 degrees.

Viera: Partly cloudy, 76 degrees.

FIVE-DAY SCHEDULE

Today: vs. Mets at Port St. Lucie, 1:10 p.m.

Tomorrow: vs. Braves at Viera, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday: vs. Marlins at Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

Monday: vs. Tigers at Viera, 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday: vs. Cardinals at Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

HOW TO GET TO SPACE COAST STADIUM

From Orlando/North: Take Route 528 East (Beachline Expressway) 25 miles to I-95 South. Exit I-95 South at Fiske Boulevard (Exit 195). Proceed south on Fiske Boulevard/Stadium Parkway two miles to the stadium on the right. Approximate time: 45 minutes.

From Melbourne/South: Take I-95 North to Wickham Road (Exit 191) and turn left. At the traffic circle, turn right on Lake Andrew Drive. Turn left on Judge Fran Jamieson Way. Turn right on Stadium Parkway and follow to the stadium on the left. Approximate time: 20 minutes.

Ben Goessling

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