The Washington Times - February 17, 2008, 02:34PM

\ Whew, it’s been a long and busy day here in Viera, and I’m just now finally getting around to an update. Sorry, I’ll try to start planning my daily routine a little better. But for those who are interested, there was plenty to talk about today following the first pitchers-and-catchers workout of the spring…\ \ \ Shawn Hill was among the pitchers who threw in the bullpen. Hill, coming off surgery on both his left shoulder and his right elbow, pitched smooth and easy, just like the Nats wanted from him. Most everyone threw for a full eight minutes, but Hill was intentionally cut off at the 6-minute mark. Nothing to be concerned about, just another sign of how the Nats would like him to ease his way back.\ \ \ Others who threw off the mound today: Ross Detwiler (who has improved his herky-jerky delivery over the offseason, at the advice of pitching coach Randy St. Claire), Garrett Mock, Joel Hanrahan, Matt Chico, Chris Schroder, Collin Balester (who’s got some pretty impressive “stuff”), Tim Redding, Mike Bacsik, Jason Stanford, Bobby Brownlie, Mike Hinckley, Jim Ed Warden, Rob Bell and Brian Sanches.\ \ \ Everyone else throws tomorrow, including John Patterson, Jason Bergmann, Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch.\ \ \ The real highlight of the day came not from a pitcher or catcher but from Nick Johnson, who participated fully by fielding grounders, playing catch and taking batting practice. For those who hadn’t seen Nick in action since September (most of the Nats’ top brass and the media), the difference was staggering. “Night and day,” Jim Bowden said. “Not even close.” Obviously, we’ve still got to see how Johnson does on a daily basis, how he does in actual game situations and how he looks running the bases and sliding (the one thing he still hasn’t done yet). But if first impressions count for anything, it would appear Nick is almost back.\ \ \ Otherwise, the first workout went off without any real hitches. A bunch of position players have reported early as well, including Ryan Zimmerman (who says his surgically repaired wrist is fully healed) and Felipe Lopez (who really sounds like he’s undergone a personality overhaul and is determined to come back strong this year).\ \ \ You’ll read plenty more about those subjects (and more) in tomorrow’s paper. And please look for the Manny Acta audio clips we’re now posting on the site, as well as some new videos Thom Loverro and I just shot this morning.\


\ Photo by Peter Lockley / The Washington Times