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04/26/08 7:31 PM ET

Lo Duca takes hacks, to begin rehab

Dukes sees action for Potomac; Young's back improving

WASHINGTON -- Catcher Paul Lo Duca took two rounds of batting practice on Saturday afternoon and didn't have any problems swinging the bat.

Lo Duca, who hasn't played a game since April 13, because of a right hand contusion, was then given a hand test by bench coach Pat Corrales.

"Let me shake your hand," Corrales said. The two shook hands without Lo Duca wincing in pain.

Lo Duca will now go to Class A Potomac and start his rehab assignment. He could play up to four games and return to the big club later in the week.

"The hand feels good. I'm on schedule to play on Monday and go from there," Lo Duca said. "I'm ready to get back on the field and start playing. It's a little boring on the bench. I feel good. I'm ready to go."

Meanwhile, outfielder Elijah Dukes played in his first rehab game for Potomac on Saturday and went 0-for-2 with a walk. He also was thrown out trying to steal second base, which shows that his right hamstring strain is a thing of the past.

Dukes hasn't played a game since Opening Night against the Braves.

First baseman Dmitri Young said that his lower back sprain is getting better, but there is still no timetable as to when he will return.

"I'm not rushing it. I'm not going to go out there until I'm 100 percent. Plain and simple," Young said. "It is getting better, but I'm not going to do some jumping jacks or sprints or anything like that."

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