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05/11/07 8:02 PM ET

Notes: Johnson back on the field

First baseman takes grounders for first time in rehab

WASHINGTON -- Nick Johnson got back on the field Friday, fielding grounders for the first time during his rehabilitation, but the first baseman and the Nationals still can't give a timetable for his return.

Johnson spent several minutes on the field taking grounders before batting practice in the afternoon. The 28-year-old Johnson is still recovering from surgery to repair a fractured right femur suffered last September against the Mets.

But Johnson has been doing plenty of rehab work, hitting soft toss, running and doing sprints, and now starting to get back on the field is another step on the road to returning.

"It's all right -- just to see how it felt, moving around a little bit," Johnson said. "[I've] got to get that leg strong so I can go down and come back up off of it. I can't do that [yet]."

The Nationals won't put any dates out there for when they hope to get Johnson back. He's truthfully not sure either.

"When I can do it, I can do it," Johnson said. "It's pretty sore."

Manager Manny Acta said that the club is not rushing Johnson.

"He's [got] a ways to go," Acta said. "He's improving little by little."

Rehabilitation, part 2: Pitcher Jerome Williams said he feels good, and the Nationals are expecting him to be able to start on Tuesday against the Braves.

Williams suffered a left ankle sprain during his last start on April 28. It was his best outing of the season, as he held the Mets scoreless on just one hit in six innings.

Williams went on the disabled list after that and pitched well in a start Thursday at Triple-A Columbus.

"It was just a mild sprain," Williams said. "I'm just anxious to come back and pitch. I feel like I can get back on track."

And a little more: First baseman Dmitri Young was held out of the lineup again on Friday -- missing his third straight game -- thanks to a sore left Achilles.

The team announced early in Friday's game that Young had an MRI exam on the Achilles, and it showed no structural abnormalities. He's still listed as day-to-day. Acta said he will take all steps to not use Young, even as a pinch-hitter.

Acta also said that, unless the Achilles gets worse, Young won't be headed for the disabled list.

Relief pitcher Ryan Wagner has been on the disabled list for a few days and said he's just going with the flow right now.

"We'll see how the next 10 or so days go," Wagner said. "I'll do what they tell me."

Home sweet home: The opener vs. Florida starts a 10-day homestand. In addition, it's the beginning of a stretch where the Nationals will play 19 of their next 26 games at RFK Stadium.

That's a nice change for the Nationals, who played 20 of their past 27 games on the road.

Washington is 5-15 on the road this season.

That's one: The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the first inning against the Marlins on Ryan Church's RBI groundout. But the opening inning still hasn't been terribly kind to them this season.

Opponents still have a large 23-10 edge over Washington in first-inning runs this year.

For Church, however, that was his first RBI in a while. He had gone six games without driving in a run.

The unwanted streak: The eight-game losing streak that Washington's mired in is the longest since the team returned to town in 2005. The last time the franchise had a losing streak this long came from April 11-19, 2004, when still in Montreal -- and that was a nine-game skid.

The Expos also lost the final nine games of the 2000 season.

Military tribute: The Nationals hosted Armed Forces Appreciation Day on Friday, with members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard participating in pregame ceremonies.

Twenty-one recruits from the different branches took the Oath of Enlistment in the ceremonies. There also were several other events during the game involving members of the Armed Forces.

Coming up: Left-hander Matt Chico (2-4, 6.03 ERA) will start in Saturday's 7:05 p.m. ET matchup with the Marlins. Chico lost his last start, but threw seven strong innings in the Nationals' 3-0 loss to the Brewers on Monday. Ricky Nolasco (1-1, 7.30) starts for Florida.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.