- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2007

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Seen and Heard in Viera

The last time anybody saw Luis Ayala throw a baseball was March 16, 2006, in Anaheim, Calif. when he walked Alex Rodriguez on six pitches in the ninth inning of Mexico’s 2-1 victory over the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic. Ayala exited the mound holding his right elbow and soon was lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Yesterday, in the chilly, wind-blown bullpen of the Washington Nationals minor league complex, the valuable reliever threw off the mound for about five minutes and looked impressive in tough conditions.

“He looked very good, he looked great today,” Nationals pitching coach Randy St. Claire said. “He didn’t throw any breaking balls, just fastballs and changes. He looked very good, free and easy, had great life to his pitches.”

The Nationals are going to take it real slow with one of baseball’s premier setup men. St. Claire said Ayala may not pitch in a game until late in the Grapefruit League season, if at all. “I feel great,” Ayala said.

Temperature Check

Hot: Here come the outfielders

Escobar, Logan, Restovich report early.

Cold: The weather

Nighttime lows dip into the 30s.

Hot: Ayala’s back

Valuable reliever throws off mound in the cold.

Cold: Fan turnout

Media still outnumbers autograph seekers on Day 2.

By the numbers


Ayala’s ERA from the 2005 season.


Percentage of baserunners Ayala stranded in the 2005 season.


“I’m telling you right now, if [Nationals bench coach] Pat Corrales can be Bobby Cox’s right hand, he can be my heart.”

— Nationals manager Manny Acta

Seven-day Schedule

TODAY: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m.

TOMORROW: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m.

MONDAY: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m., position players report to camp.

TUESDAY: Pitchers and catchers workout, 9 a.m., position players take physicals.

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

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

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

- Ken Wright

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