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03/20/09 1:05 PM ET

Young takes batting practice

Door slowly closing on vet's chances to make Nats' roster

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nationals first baseman Dmitri Young took batting practice on Friday morning at Space Coast Stadium, marking the first time since early March that he was able to do any baseball activities.

Young, who took 30 swings, has missed most of Spring Training because of a sore back. He has played in three games and is 0-for-4 during the exhibition season. There isn't a timetable on when Young will play in a game.

However, getting healthy may be too late for Young. The chances of him making the 25-man roster are slim. The team appears to be set with Nick Johnson as the starting first baseman and Adam Dunn and Ronnie Belliard as the backups.

Asked if it was too late for Young to make the Opening Day roster, manager Manny Acta said, "Almost, yeah. He has to have a lot of at-bats and be on the field. But you know what? Unless he is ready to go on the field and play in the game, we will not know."

"If he makes the club as a bench guy, he probably doesn't need as much action or at-bats as a guy who is going to be up there every day. He probably doesn't need the stamina to play nine innings. We have to wait until he is healthy."

In other news, Belliard is expected to miss at least two more days because of a sprained ankle. Belliard hurt the ankle running the bases against the Marlins on Wednesday night.

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