- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 14, 2007

MIAMI — While he might have liked some extra rest, Dmitri Young enjoyed his all-star break experience.

Young was the Washington Nationals’ representative in San Francisco for the 78th All-Star game, a 5-4 victory for the American League. The first baseman, who was hitting .339 with eight home runs and 43 RBI entering last night, made his second all-star appearance after being chosen for the game in 2003 while with Detroit.

He started the National League’s ninth-inning rally with an infield single and scored on Alfonso Soriano’s home run.

“It was definitely different,” Young said of his second trip to the mid-summer classic. “It was organized a little better and when you go for the second time versus the first time it is a lot better. My kids are older and were able to experience this and have lasting memories.

“When you’ve been there the first time you know what to expect. It was cool to be there and check out the Willie Mays show. That was real cool.”

After the game he returned to his home in Weston, Fla., for two days before joining his teammates here.

When asked what he did during those two days, Young responded, “Sleep … lots of rest.”

Pitchers on the mend

A pair of injured Nationals pitchers used the break to continue their rehabilitation and may be close to returning. Right-handed starter Shawn Hill, who has been out since mid-May, threw off flat ground yesterday and will pitch off a mound in the bullpen tomorrow.

“Today it will be a feel thing,” Hill said. “Sunday it will be 30-35 fastballs and then it will gradually ramp up from there and add in the change-up and curveball. They have it all mapped out.”

Hill was 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA in eight starts before going on the disabled list. Manager Manny Acta said he expects Hill to be back next month if his throwing program progresses well. Hill doesn’t necessarily want to wait that long.

“Early next month, hopefully — I’m not going for the middle of the month. Hopefully late July if not then the first week of August is what I am shooting for,” Hill said. “I’ve been antsy for a while. They’re making me take it slow and they’re looking out for my best interests, but it is tedious.

“I want to make it go faster and they keep telling me to take my time. I am better off coming back to pitch for two full months than come back to try and pitch two-and-a-half months but end up having a setback.”

Acta said left-handed starter Micah Bowie, who is on the disabled list with a left hip injury, will not make his first scheduled start after the break, but his progress would be evaluated after his side throwing session in the coming days.

“It was a good opportunity for me. Any time you can have a four-day break without games, I didn’t feel like I was missing any time,” Bowie said. “I made a lot of progress, and it is going well. I’ll see what they’ve got for me today and I’ll just continue on.”

Close but not yet

Oft-injured outfielder Alex Escobar is almost ready to make his 2007 debut for the Nationals, but Acta said he will play a few more games with Class AAA Columbus before that happens.

Escobar, who missed the first half of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery, played his first game with the Clippers on Thursday and went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. He also has played in two games for Class A Potomac and five for Class AA Harrisburg during his rehab stint, going a combined 4-for-29 with two doubles.

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