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Sorry, busy morning

Running around a bit today. Update on yesterday: Nationals blow two-run lead in bottom of ninth to lose to Dodgers. Chris Schroder, who was throwing too many fastballs, according to Manager Manny Acta. (Read my notebook for a hair more.)

Today: Sunny is good. In Viera, even better.

Mets have two long road trips the next two days, so the lineup Shawn Hill will face is pretty formidable. Here it is:

Jose Reyes -- 6
Paul Lo Duca -- 2
Carlos Beltran -- 8
Carlos Delgado -- 3
David Wright -- 5
Moises Alou -- 7
Lastings Milledge -- 9
Hernandez -- 4
Chan Ho Park -- 1

(DH goes away today, though Acta said yesterday he wanted to use it a few more times. They'll do it against the Tigers later this week at least. And Park is technically competing for the fifth starter's spot with the Mets, though prospect Mike Pelphrey has pitched well thus far and could very well beat him out.)

If Hill can get the same results he has thus far this spring today, his (already secure) spot in the rotation will become even more secure.

Nationals counter with:

Lopez -- 4
Snelling -- 7
Zimmerman -- 5
Kearns -- 9
Fick -- 3
Brito -- 2
Wilson -- 6
Logan -- 8
Hill -- 1

As an aside, some of you who read the actual ink-and-paper newspaper (only $.35) might know that I wrote about the battle for the first base job, mentioning Travis Lee, Larry Broadway and Dmitri Young. So this morning, I was greeted in the clubhouse by a sarcastic, "Hey, Barry. Nice article."

Robert Fick.

So I hadn't mentioned Fick as a contender to start at first base. He appears to be playing first today. He has, in fact, played it sporadically throughout the spring. I fully expect Fick to make the team, in large part because of his versatility, and the club is likely to keep Rule 5 catcher Jesus Flores, which means Fick could serve as a more experienced third catcher.

So count Fick in that mix, please. At least for my sake.

Other news: A few cuts today. Right-handers Jermaine Van Buren and Brett Campbell optioned to Class AAA Columbus. Outfielder Darnell McDonald and lefty Chris Michalak reassigned to minor league camp. Michalak said he was disappointed, but was told that he hadn't "separated himself" from the other guys. He said he would have to discuss with the team whether they wanted him to start or relieve down in the minors. He has been a lefty specialist in the past, and he drops to a complete sidearm delivery in that role. We'll see.

Other news: Tim Redding shaved his billy goat beard. "Change," he said. He probably needs a new beginning to this camp.

Ray King running the Nationals' NCAA pool this year. More on that later. Time to get to work.

(Oh, but John "Junior" Feinstein just dropped into the press box, which means I have very little chance of getting any work done. Wish me luck.)

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2007; 11:24 AM ET
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