- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2005

VIERA, Fla. - Washington Nationals All-Star second baseman Jose Vidro hyperextended his right elbow Saturday and is listed as day-to-day.

Vidro injured himself in the batting cage, and an examination showed some minor inflammation in his elbow. Vidro was held out of yesterday’s exhibition against the Baltimore Orioles as a precaution.

“I swung and missed, and my elbow went straight out,” Vidro said yesterday. “It kind of hurt, but it happens often. I didn’t worry about it, but last night it started bothering me. This morning it hurt, so I went to the doctors, and they checked it and showed a little inflammation there, so they just gave me the day off. I’ll treat it today and see if it gets better tomorrow.”

Vidro, who is coming off surgery on his right knee, has played in just three of the Nationals’ 11 games. Although Vidro has been to the plate just six times, the three-time All-Star isn’t worried about not getting enough at-bats heading into Opening Day.

“I know that once next week is here, I’m going to play more,” Vidro said. “I can get 30 at-bats in a week, so that’s no problem.”

Nationals manager Frank Robinson has used Vidro sparingly so far and has said the infielder will not travel early in spring training to prevent him from aggravating his knee. Vidro missed the final six weeks of last season after he underwent surgery Sept.8 to remove the inflamed portion of his right patellar tendon and a nodule the size of a BB.

Look out for Loaiza

Esteban Loaiza turned in another solid performance in his second start. The Nationals right-hander pitched five innings and allowed two runs on five hits. Loaiza did not surrender a walk for the second straight game, and he struck out four.

“It makes me feel good [not to walk anyone],” he said. “I want to go out there and throw strikes, and [catcher Brian] Schneider is giving me a good target and moving to both sides of the plate. Everything is going well so far.”

Loaiza, the runner-up for the 2003 American League Cy Young Award, has established himself as one of the Nationals’ top three starters. In his first spring appearance Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Loaiza allowed one run on seven hits in four innings.

“I thought it was a good outing. He wasn’t as sharp as he’s going to be,” Robinson said.

In the third inning, Loaiza threw a high fastball to Orioles outfielder Larry Bigbie, who powered an opposite-field, wind-aided home run over the left-field fence.

“It looked pretty high. You know, it stayed up there,” Loaiza said of Bigbie’s homer. “I wanted to throw him a fastball away and then come with a cutter inside or a cutter outside and try to bear down.”

Osuna makes debut

Reliever Antonio Osuna made his Nationals debut, relieving Loaiza in the sixth inning and retiring the side on 11 pitches. The Nationals signed the right-hander in January for $800,000 as a free agent from the San Diego Padres.

“It’s good to see him out there ” that’s the main thing,” Robinson said. “He got out there and got an inning in, and we’ll go from there. He got an inning in with not too many pitches.”

Extra bases

The crowd of 7,852 at Space Coast Stadium was the Nationals’ second sellout in spring training. The Nationals also sold out their nationally televised opener March2 against the New York Mets. The former Montreal Expos never sold out a game the past two years at Space Coast Stadium. … Nationals outfielder Terrmel Sledge said he would like to return tomorrow after missing five days with a sprained right shoulder.

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