Notes: Redding solid in spring debut

Notes: Redding solid in spring debut

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Tim Redding pitched his first game of the spring on Monday afternoon, and he threw three shutout innings in a 3-2 win over the Cardinals.

As usual, Redding was his humble self and noticed some mistakes he made while on the mound. He said he didn't throw enough first-pitch strikes.

"I threw some quality pitches that might have just missed, but, unfortunately, you are still 1-0 in the count," Redding said.

Redding acknowledged he was able to relax a little more this offseason because he was able to show he still is a quality pitcher. Last season, Redding was one of the feel-good stories on the Nationals.

After a rough Spring Training and an up-and-down season with Triple-A Columbus, Redding was promoted to the big league club on July 3 and became a mainstay in the rotation. He went 3-6 with a respectable 3.64 ERA and arguably was the team's best starter down the stretch.

It was Redding's first good season in the Major Leagues since 2003, when he was with the Astros. From 2003-07, injuries curtailed his progress. He had right shoulder surgery in 2005, and it worked wonders. Redding pitched a full season in the White Sox organization the next year, and now he has a fan in Nationals manager Manny Acta.

"He gave us a chance to win [just about] every game he pitched," Acta said. "He was a guy that gave me a guaranteed five good innings last year. The numbers are there."

At 30, Redding feels 2008 could be a special year for him and the Nationals.

"Maybe 30 is the new 20. I feel really good," Redding said. "My arm feels good. There are no aches, no pains. I want to keep building. I think this year could be a special year, not just for me, but for this whole team."

More pitching: The Nationals have yet to announce who will start on Wednesday against the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. Right-hander Shawn Hill was scheduled to make the start, but he has a sore right forearm.

Acta said: "We are not releasing the name yet. Some things are in the works. We just can't post it."

Does that mean the Nationals are about to add another starter to the Spring Training roster? According to one source, it appears to be the case.

On Sunday, general manager Jim Bowden gave two scenarios that could happen in the upcoming days in terms of acquiring a pitcher.

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"We don't want to block a young pitcher, yet we may have to sign a couple [of free agents] because we don't want to rush a young pitcher," Bowden said.

On the mound: Left-hander Odalis Perez is expected to pitch in the accelerated camp on Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. ET. It will mark his first appearance in a Nationals uniform.

Perez hasn't been able to play in an exhibition game because he has not received his working visa from the Dominican Republic.

Perez, who is one of several Nationals players having a tough time getting visas, said he is not upset with his country for the delay.

"I don't know why there are delays. It's best that they know who is clean and working in this country," Perez said. "I believe they know what they are doing. Personally, I have nothing against it. If you do the right things, you are not going to have any problems."

Behind the plate: Catcher Paul Lo Duca (left knee) continues to get better. He already is doing catching drills. He is able to squat and work on bunt plays without any problems. Lo Duca is expected to play in a game by March 15.

Roster moves: Acta announced that roster cuts will be made on Tuesday. Bowden indicated last week that he would like to cut the roster from 75 to 55.

Coming up: The Nationals have day/night split-squad games against the Dodgers on Tuesday. The first game starts at 1:05 p.m. at Space Coast Stadium, while the second game begins at 7:05 p.m. at Vero Beach.

Washington southpaw Matt Chico will face Los Angeles right-hander Esteban Loaiza in the first game. In the nightcap, Nationals righty Jason Bergmann will be on the mound against Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.

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