- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Still suffering from a stiff neck and headaches three days after getting hit in the head by a batted ball, Washington Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young had an MRI yesterday.

The tests did not show any actual damage to Young’s head or neck, but he believes he may have suffered a concussion when he was stuck in the right temple on a bad-bounce grounder by Atlanta Braves first baseman Mark Teixeira.

“Some people say yes. Some people say no,” Young said when asked whether he thinks he has a concussion. “I’m leaning towards yes.”

Out of the Nationals’ lineup for the third straight game, Young still looked out of sorts yesterday afternoon. Sitting on a lounge chair in the Washington clubhouse watching television, he couldn’t move his neck and spoke in measured terms.

The Nationals aren’t taking any chances with the veteran cleanup hitter. Young won’t be back in the lineup until he says he feels well enough to play, and he’s taking a cautious approach to his status.

“When they talk about the head, it’s nothing to mess with,” he said.

When he does return, Young faces a difficult challenge trying to get back in the race for the National League batting title. Stuck in a 5-for-32 slide, his average is down to .323. That was 15 points behind NL leader Chipper Jones entering play yesterday.

Guzman not giving up

Cristian Guzman took batting practice yesterday and impressed team officials enough to make them reconsider letting him come back before season’s end.

Guzman, out since late June with a torn thumb ligament, likely will be given a chance to hit off a Nationals reliever during a simulated game in the next few days. If that goes well, he could be activated for perhaps the final week of the season.

Manager Manny Acta doesn’t believe Guzman needs to return to prove anything to the team. But if a few major league at-bats down the stretch help the shortstop regain some confidence heading into 2008, Acta is all for it.

“If he’s able to do it, at least he knows that he’s back for good from that surgery,” the manager said. “He doesn’t have to wait until he starts playing winter ball or spring training to try that thumb. So I think it will be good from a medical and mental standpoint.”

Expanding their reach

The Nationals have formed a new division dedicated to attracting and hosting non-baseball events at their new ballpark.

The team announced the new Nationals Ballpark Enterprises division will manage all event planning at the stadium, including trade shows, corporate meetings and concerts. The new division will control events throughout the entire stadium, including the President’s Club, PNC Diamond Club and Stars and Stripes Club.

Bari Lurie, a former aide to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, will head the new unit.

Under the terms of the new stadium’s lease, the team has the right to hold a variety of non-baseball events at the ballpark, though some may require approval by the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. The commission also has the right to be the host of as many as 18 events of its own on non-game days.

Staff writer Tim Lemke contributed to this article.

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