- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 25, 2006

VIERA, Fla.

The long-awaited first full-squad workout of spring training turned out to be a dud. The Nationals managed to get in some stretching, long-tossing and infield work, but then the rains came and sent everyone scurrying for cover. Pitchers practiced their bunting in one set of covered cages at the Carl Barger Complex, while the rest of the team walked back to Space Coast Stadium to take some hacks in another set of cages.

Even the abbreviated outdoor session managed to offer a few tidbits. For example, while both Jose Vidro and Alfonso Soriano took grounders at second base, Vidro did so on one field with fellow starting infielders Nick Johnson, Cristian Guzman and Ryan Zimmerman. Soriano was relegated to another field with minor-leaguers Larry Broadway, Ian Desmond and Brendan Harris. Read into that whatever you like. …

Meanwhile, that bald guy taking grounders at shortstop was indeed Royce Clayton. Known previously for his long, dark dreadlocks, the veteran infielder decided to go clean and easy this spring, forcing everyone to search their roster to figure out who the guy wearing No. 10 was.

THE BUZZ

FIRST FULL WORKOUT

Rain cuts it short, forces hitters to batting cage.

SORIANO’S SMILE

He may be disgruntled underneath, but he sure doesn’t show it.

VIDRO’S ENTHUSIASM

Second baseman had a hop in his step being back on field.

VIERA FINE DINING

Rumor has it the Soriano meeting went down Thursday at Cracker Barrel.

INJURY REPORT

Luis Ayala’s surgically repaired right elbow is feeling much better, and he said he will throw in the bullpen today. The right-hander complained of tightness and soreness in his elbow and was shut down for the past two days. In the offseason, Ayala underwent surgery to remove bone spurs, but he said the tightness is not related. … Left-hander Joey Eischen missed his bullpen session yesterday with a sore left shoulder. Eischen believes his soreness is lingering tendinitis from last season. He took anti-inflammatory medication and said he expects to throw in his next bullpen session tomorrow.

DID YOU KNOW?

Mike DiFelice is on Italy’s preliminary roster for the World Baseball Classic, even though the veteran catcher was born in Philadelphia and resides in Safety Harbor, Fla. DiFelice, one of 29 non-roster invitees in camp, is expected to inform club officials today if he plans to play in the tournament.

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

TODAY: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

TOMORROW: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

MONDAY: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

TUESDAY: Full-squad workout, 9 a.m.

WEDNESDAY: vs. KIA Tigers in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

THURSDAY: vs. Pirates in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

FRIDAY: vs. Pirates in Bradenton, 1:05 p.m.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Partly cloudy, 58 degrees.

Viera: Cloudy, 77 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman and Ken Wright


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