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Notes: Redding pleased with outing

Notes: Redding pleased with intrasquad outing

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals played their second consecutive intrasquad game on Wednesday, with the home team defeating the away team, 6-2, in 10 innings at Space Coast Stadium.

The game was supposed to be a nine-inning affair, but manager Manny Acta added another inning because reliever Arnie Munoz needed to pitch or else he would have been inactive for five days.

Right-hander Tim Redding started for the away team and pitched two innings, giving up one run on three hits. He struck out one, walked one and picked off a batter. Redding said he was happy with his slider, which had a late break, but his fastball was up in the zone and the two curveballs he threw in the game went for hits.

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"All in all, it was a productive day," Redding said. "There was some stuff I was real happy with -- the slider and the pickoff move, get a strikeout looking. All the other stuff I need to work on, like the release point on the curveball and making sure that I get my fastball down in the zone."

Jerome Williams started for the home team and pitched two shutout innings. He gave up three hits and hit a batter.

"It was pretty good out there," Williams said. "I felt real confident. I felt like I could throw the ball over the plate whenever I wanted to. All my pitches were working, except for the curveball."

Big Nasty looking good: Right-hander John Patterson had a bullpen session on Wednesday and he said it went very well. He worked closely with pitching coach Randy St. Claire on his mechanics. Patterson said he was slow in his delivery and didn't use his legs as much as he did in the past, but by the end of the session, Patterson sped up his delivery and his location was much better.

Young lefty looking for shot: When Acta was the third-base coach of the Expos in 2004, Michael Hinckley was the organization's top prospect. Now, Hinckley has dropped to the middle of the pack because of shoulder injuries and lack of production.

Acta said Hinckley has thrown the ball very well in his bullpen sessions this spring. The skipper also had a talk with the left-hander and told him that he didn't forget that Hinckley had been a jewel in the Expos organization.

"He seems a bit more upbeat," Acta said of Hinckley. "We are going to do some work on his mechanics at the end of camp or when he goes down [to Minor Leagues]. We are pretty clear where he stands. It would be wonderful to get him where he was before. Obviously, we think highly of him to be on the 40-man roster."

Injury report: First baseman Travis Lee missed the two intrasqaud games because of a stained right oblique. There is no timetable as to when Lee will return to action.

Lee is competing with Larry Broadway and Dmitri Young for the starting first-base job now that Nick Johnson is not expected to be ready for Opening Day because of his ongoing rehab from a right broken leg.

Right-hander Jesus Colome was sent home on Wednesday because of flu-like symptoms. Last week, Colome missed a day of workouts because of an abscess on his right buttocks.

The Nationals have said all along that that they are going to go slow with reliever Luis Ayala, so he is not scheduled to pitch in the first five games of the exhibition season. Ayala missed all of 2006 because of right elbow reconstruction surgery.

Acta continues to insist that Ayala will be ready for Opening Day.

Around the horn: Cristian Guzman started as the designated hitter and had another two hits in Wednesday's intrasqaud game. ... Nick Logan hit a three-run home run from the left side of the plate.

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

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