Lo Duca, Estrada, Young on road back
Trio of injured Nats hopes to play in big league game soon
VIERA, Fla. -- Catchers Paul Lo Duca and Johnny Estrada and first baseman Dmitri Young are starting to get over their injuries and hope to play in Major League exhibition games soon.
Lo Duca (left knee) hit in the batting cage with his teammates, ran the bases and had a bullpen session without any problems on Monday morning. He hopes to be playing in Minor League games starting Wednesday. He will be a designated hitter in the first game. By Saturday, the plan is to have Lo Duca play in a Major League exhibition game.
"The knee is responding great to everything. I feel great," Lo Duca said. "If I had to, I could play right now, but we are taking it a little slow. We have had no setbacks."
Estrada was shut down for most of this month because of a sore right elbow. But the cortisone shot seemed to have taken most of the inflammation out of the elbow. On Sunday, he was seen flipping balls to his 3-year-old son, Johnny IV, who was hitting nothing but line drives. On Monday, Estrada threw the baseball from 60 feet without any pain.
"It's going good," Estrada said. "I got the cortisone shot a few days ago and it knocked out the inflammation in my joint. I don't have any more shooting pain. So, today is a big day."
Young (pulled muscle in his left side) played in another Minor League game and went 2-for-2 with a walk. He also played first base for the first time. Young received a handful of putouts, but didn't get any chances.
"It went all right. As far as hitting goes, it's a matter of seeing the ball, tracking it and getting good swings on it," he said. "Being on the field, you have to make explosive movements here and there. I'm a little cautious about that right now. In a couple of days, it will be a different story."
Young is hoping to play in a Major League exhibition game starting on Thursday.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.