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05/27/07 3:57 PM ET

Notes: Colome in command

Reliever enjoying success thanks to mastery of more pitches

ST. LOUIS -- Right-hander Jesus Colome is the Nationals' best reliever, and one could argue that he should be considered for the All-Star Game. He leads the team in wins with four and has a 1.99 ERA in 25 appearances out of the bullpen.

Those numbers were unexpected from Colome, who was inconsistent in six seasons with the Devil Rays. The reason for his success in a Nationals uniform is that he can rely on his breaking pitches -- slider and changeup -- for the first time in his career. Gone are the days when Colome threw nothing but fastballs.

"I never threw the changeup and slider for strikes like I do now," Colome said. "My location is really good now. I'm making a lot of good pitches."

Colome also said that he feels comfortable being a member of the Nationals. It helps that he has his mentor, Jose Rijo, the special assistant to general manager Jim Bowden, on board, and that he's remained healthy for the first time in his Major League career. It was Rijo who helped straighten out Colome's mechanics in the offseason.

"I feel good here," Colome said. "In Tampa Bay, it was a good team, good people and I like the fans, but I didn't feel comfortable. There were too many problems with my arm. Every year, there was pain. I feel good right now. I don't have any pain. I have new life."

Decisions, decisions: Manager Manny Acta said the team will make a decision by the middle of the week as to who will pitch against the Padres on Friday. Acta didn't rule out using Levale Speigner again, but he has been ineffective in his last three starts.

Injury report: A day after throwing a bullpen session, right-hander Shawn Hill, on the disabled list with a sore left shoulder and right elbow, said that his mechanics didn't feel right during the session. He also said he was not going to pitch in a game until the elbow was 100 percent, though he feels he could pitch with the achy shoulder.

"The ball came out of my hand fine, but a little out of sync," Hill said. "Nothing to be overly concerned [about], from that aspect."

Acta gave outfielder Austin Kearns the day off on Sunday. "He was banged around after making all those diving catches that he has made," Acta explained. With an off-day on Monday, Acta expects Kearns to be back in the lineup against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Stats of the day: Entering Sunday's action, the Nationals had recorded 10 or more hits in a season-high five straight games. They were hitting .326 (61-for-187) during that span.

Did you know? Before Sunday's game, Ryan Zimmerman had played error-free baseball over his last 21 games. He committed seven errors in his first 29 games of the season.

Coming up: The Nationals have the day off on Memorial Day, but they return to Robert F. Kennedy Stadium to begin a three-game series against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. In Game 1, Washington right-hander Jason Simontacchi will face Los Angeles righty Brad Penny.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.