Notes: Logan impressing Acta

Notes: Logan impressing Acta

WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Manny Acta decided to squelch the platoon between center fielders Nook Logan and Ryan Langerhans for at least a day, starting the right-handed Logan against Astros right-hander Chris Sampson on Tuesday night.

Acta likes that Logan is a different player in the second half. Logan is 3-for-11 after the All-Star break, with five runs scored and three walks. Those were numbers Acta was looking for from Logan before the break.

"I kind of like what he has been doing lately at the plate -- getting on base and taking some pitches. We are going to give him a break and go out there," Acta said. "He is taking more pitches, trying to bunt more and making things happen on the bases. He has finally gotten a little more aggressive on the bases. That's his tool, and he needs to use it."

Acta didn't rule out the lefty-swinging Langerhans starting against Houston right-hander Jason Jennings on Wednesday, but the skipper reiterated the platoon between Logan and Langerhans will be scrapped once Alex Escobar returns to the team. That could be this weekend or early next week.

"We all know that the platoon will be history when Escobar comes over," Acta said.

The reason Escobar has not been in the big leagues is because he is still trying to find his swing. He is 2-for-19 with a double for Triple-A Columbus. Escobar's right shoulder is healed enough for him to hit the cutoff man, and he doesn't have problems with his right ankle, his most recent injury.

"He is making progress. He is not quite ready yet, but I'm not going to rule out this weekend or [next week in] Philadelphia," general manager Jim Bowden said. "We think he is healthy enough to play, but want to him to be able to come up here and have a chance to succeed, instead of coming here and going 0-for-16. Let him get the 0-for-16 out of the way down there."

Injury report: Right-hander Shawn Hill had his second bullpen session on Tuesday, and he threw 40 pitches -- fastballs and changeups -- and didn't feel any pain. The next step is to have a bullpen session on Friday and throw all of his pitches.

If everything goes according to plan, Hill may have a simulated game in Philadelphia next week. Hill didn't rule out having rehab starts the following week if he continues to progress.

"I have to be cautious, but I'm optimistic at this point," Hill said.

Bowden hopes that Hill can get eight to 10 starts once he is activated from the disabled list.

Jesus Colome was spotted in the locker room on Tuesday, and he was walking gingerly because of a soft tissue infection in his right buttocks. Colome said the injury is getting better, and he hopes to start playing catch on Monday.

Minor League report: reported that the Nationals were prepared to pay first-round money to pitcher Jack McGeary, their sixth-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Bowden said the report was false.

"That is an inaccurate report," Bowden said. "We saw the report and we asked them to correct it because there is no truth to it. Someone lied or someone was trying to position themselves."

Before the deadline: Bowden said there has been a lot of trade discussion, but he wouldn't guess how it would play out before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. It's no secret that Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard are on the trade block, but Bowden would not name the teams which were interested in those players.

Asked if Nick Johnson's leg injury makes the Nationals think twice about trading Young, Bowden said, "If we have an opportunity to make a trade to make our team better and win a world championship faster, we are going to make that trade. I think Dmitri is also a good player to keep. He is on a mission, and he keeps getting better and he keeps working hard. He has been a great story."

Stat of the day: Belliard leads the Nationals with four pinch-hit RBIs.

Did you know? Entering Tuesday's action, Young was tied with Matt Holliday for the Nationals League lead with a .339 batting average.

Coming up: The Nationals play the finale of a three-game series against the Astros at RFK Stadium on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Washington right-hander Jason Bergmann will face Jennings.

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