- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

CHICAGO — Ryan Langerhans has been on a long, strange journey for the last week, one that has taken him from Denver to Atlanta to Boston to Chicago while wearing three different uniforms.

So as the Washington Nationals’ new reserve outfielder walked around the Wrigley Field clubhouse yesterday introducing himself to his new teammates, he paused to ponder whether he’s finally done with all the moving around.

“Hopefully I’m here for a while now,” he said with a laugh.

Langerhans was relieved to be with his new club after a whirlwind few days. Traded from the Braves to the Athletics on Sunday, he lasted only two games with Oakland before being dealt to the Nationals late Wednesday night for fellow outfielder Chris Snelling.

The 27-year-old was greeted by a few familiar faces in the Washington clubhouse. Bullpen coach Pat Corrales previously worked with him in Atlanta, television analyst Don Sutton likewise used to cover the Braves and right fielder Austin Kearns has known Langerhans since high school when the two were on the same Junior Olympics qualifying team.

Those who didn’t know Langerhans personally still knew him by reputation from his time with the Braves.

“He brings a lot to the table,” manager Manny Acta said. “I’ve seen him a lot the last few years in this division. He can help.”

Where precisely Langerhans fits in with the Nationals remains uncertain. A defensively gifted but offensively challenged player, he doesn’t figure to unseat Kearns, Ryan Church or Nook Logan for regular playing time. Acta said he would feel comfortable using him at any of the three outfield positions and said he would be more comfortable now to make a double switch at one of those spots (in fact, he did just that in the eighth inning yesterday).

Of course, Langerhans must first prove he can get his hitting stroke back. He has just three hits in 47 at-bats this season (including a groundout yesterday) but he said he noticed some improvements during his final week with the Braves.

“I started hitting balls hard again,” he said. “Hopefully, I’m due for a couple bloopers over here. I’m looking forward to working with [hitting coach] Mitchell [Page] and finding the swing I had the early part of last year and my rookie year.”

Injury updates

Logan and shortstop Cristian Guzman will wrap up their rehabilitation assignments at extended spring training today and fly to Milwaukee tomorrow. They’ll then be activated off the disabled list in time for the start of Washington’s three-game series against the Brewers.

“They’ll be ready to go Monday,” Acta said.

Right-hander Jason Simontacchi also remains on schedule to start Tuesday against the Brewers, though the club won’t make that move official until later.

Meanwhile, Jerome Williams (on the DL with a sprained left ankle) will throw a bullpen session today and likely be sent to Class AAA Columbus for his own rehab assignment.

Extra bases

John Patterson had a brief scare during batting practice when an errant hit struck him in the left cheek. The right-hander was taken to a local hospital and was given a precautionary CAT scan, which came back negative. He will be fine to start today’s game. …

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, the National League’s leading hitter, has reached base in all 27 games he has played this season. Teammate Alfonso Soriano has reached base in all 21 games he has played.

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