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Bits and pieces from the morning

So the pitchers for Wednesday are not listed, which is a bit odd because the schedules are normally posted days in advance. This could be because the first round of cuts are scheduled for after tomorrow's split-squad games against the Dodgers. But it could also be because -- drumroll -- they're thinking about bringing in another starting pitcher.

Jim Bowden said yesterday: "We've been pursuing free agent pitchers the entire offseason." He pointed out that they didn't expect to have Odalis Perez in camp, and here he is (and I would say he's a favorite to make the rotation).

I'm pursuing this story today, and we'll see how it washes out. I can tell you that, based on conversations with several people in the organization, I'd be shocked to see either of the two remaining Scott Boras clients -- Kyle Lohse or Jeff Weaver. The Nationals simply will not pay that much. If someone is signed, it would most likely be on a non-guaranteed, minor-league deal like Perez's.

Which brings me to Eric Milton. The veteran University of Maryland product had season-ending elbow surgery in May of last year while with Cincinnati. He also hasn't posted an ERA under 5.00 since 2004, when he was with Philadelphia. But he is just 32, is left-handed, and has a career record of 87-84 with a 5.01 ERA.

Let me stress: I do not know -- yet -- whether they're looking at Milton. The point: As some of you clamor for more pitching in camp, this is likely the caliber of guy -- as Bowden said when they signed Perez, "There is no risk," -- they'll be after.

Other talk from yesterday: Bowden was extremely impressed with the way John Lannan threw the ball on Saturday. Said he looked "game-ready."

Dmitri Young still on the shelf, so Nick Johnson gets a start at first today after getting four at-bats yesterday as the designated hitter. He stung a ball in his last at-bat -- a classic Johnson drive to left field -- and said it was his best swing of the spring. He's still "sliding" at the plate, meaning he transfers his weight to his front foot too soon.

Austin Kearns isn't in the lineup against St. Louis today. He is yet to hit a ball out of the infield, I believe.

Lineup today against St. Louis:
Lopez -- 6
Harris -- 4
Zimmerman -- 5
Johnson -- 3
Pena -- 7
Dukes -- 9
Whitney -- DH
Maxwell -- 8
Nieves -- 2

Redding -- 1

One more thing: The day of Shawn Hill's MRI news (Saturday), Acta issued a passionate plea for understanding of Tim Redding's situation. The message: Redding will have to lose his spot in the rotation considering what he did last year: In 15 major league starts, he posted a 3.64 ERA and gave up three earned runs or fewer 12 times. He also moved his velocity back up to 90-92 consistently, which helped. So we'll watch him closely today.

Please look at the Bergmann Q&A if you haven't already done so, and Jon Forsythe will post a little video preview of the season that he and I did last week. It should be up in the Journal mid-day or so (and can already be accessed here).

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 3, 2008; 10:11 AM ET
 
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Next: 2008 Nationals Season Preview

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