The Washington Times - March 27, 2009, 05:53PM

Encouraging news about Anderson Hernandez: He’s making progress in recovering from a strained hamstring and could begin jogging on Monday.

Manager Manny Acta said there’s no exact timetable for Hernandez’s return but isn’t ruling out the possibility he could be ready for Opening Day.


“We don’t have a specific date when he’s going to be ready, but we are anticipating that it’s going to take less than what we thought at the beginning,” Acta said. “He was walking today, and the evaluation was a lot better. On Monday, there is a chance he’ll walk, jog, do some type of drills. Then we’ll have a better assessment.”

Because he’s played a lot this spring (and played well) and because he played winter ball, Hernandez wouldn’t need much time to get back into playing shape once he’s cleared to participate. So even if he can get only a handful of exhibition games in before Opening Day, he could still be ready to go.

Roster moves: There aren’t any to announce pregame. Sounds like they may make some after the game tonight. I will say there are a few guys on some pins and needles right now, guys who have been on big-league rosters before but are worried they might not make it onto this one.

Other news… — Julian Tavarez has secured his work visa and is back in the country. He’ll be pitching in a big-league game soon, and Acta said the veteran reliever has enough time still to show he should make the bullpen. — Terrell Young’s sore shoulder is getting better, though it does look like time is running out for the Rule 5 draftee. Either the Nats will need to work out a deal with the Reds to keep him in the minors or else send him back to his old club. — Jesus Flores is “ready to go,” according to Acta. Flores, out three weeks with a strained elbow, has been playing in minor-league games and will see plenty of playing time in big-league games over the next week.


With that, here are tonight’s lineups. First pitch is 7:05 here in Port St. Lucie… NATIONALS CF Lastings Milledge 2B Ronnie Belliard LF Josh Willingham RF Austin Kearns C Josh Bard 3B Jose Castillo 1B Kory Casto SS Alberto Gonzalez P John Lannan METS SS Jose Reyes 2B Luis Castillo 3B David Wright 1B Carlos Delgado CF Carlos Beltran RF Fernando Tatis LF David Murphy C Ramon Castro P Johan Santana