- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 24, 2007

SEEN AND HEARD IN VIERA

Reliever Emiliano Fruto has been impressive in this camp. The hard-throwing right-hander was acquired in the offseason as part of the Jose Vidro deal with the Seattle Mariners. The 22-year-old Colombian played in the Venezuelan Winter League and went 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in six relief appearances.

“I’m impressed, he’s got a good arm and a nasty breaking ball,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said.

Fruto appeared in 23 games last season with the Mariners and went 2-2 with a 5.50 ERA in 36 innings. Unfortunately for Fruto, he’s caught in a numbers game.

The Nationals’ bullpen is pretty much set with the exception of an established long man. Acta has ruled out converting Fruto into a starting pitcher in the future, so for now he’s a bullpen guy.

“He goes along with our plan of stockpiling power arms,” Acta said. “He’s got three quality pitches.”

TEMPERATURE CHECK

GUZMAN’S SHOULDER (up)

Shortstop throws and feels good.

ESCOBAR’S SHOULDER (down)

Just a DH until March 15.

REFRESHMENTS ARRIVE (up)

Stadium refrigerator now an oasis.

GATOR SIGHTING (down)

No confirmation near players lot.

BY THE NUMBERS

24 Runs Emiliano Fruto allowed last season in 36 innings.

34 Strikeouts Fruto recorded last season in 36 innings.

OVERHEARD

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m not going to have this team dead last in defense and lead the league in errors.”

— Nationals manager Manny Acta

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: Intrasquad game, 11 a.m.

Wednesday: Intrasquad game, 11 a.m.

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

Friday: vs. Dodgers in Vero Beach, 1:05 p.m.

HOW TO GET TO SPACE COAST STADIUM

From Orlando/North: Take Route 528 East (Bee Line Expressway) 25 miles to I-95 South. Exit I-95 South at Fiske Boulevard (Exit 195). Proceed south on Fiske Boulevard/Stadium Parkway to the stadium. Approximate time: 45 minutes.

From Melbourne/South: Take I-95 North to Wickham Road (Exit 191) and turn left. Turn right on Lake Andrew Drive and follow to the stadium. Approximate time: 20 minutes.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Sunny, 43 degrees.

Viera: Mostly sunny, 74 degrees.

Ken Wright

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