Perez no longer left out

Nats purchase Perez's contract

VIERA, Fla. -- After Thursday's game against the Astros, the Nationals purchased the contract of left-hander Odalis Perez and placed right-handers Shawn Hill and Ryan Wagner and outfielder Wily Mo Pena on the 15-day disabled list.

Perez, who will make $850,000 this season, has looked sharp in Spring Training. The lefty pitched six innings on Thursday, and he gave up two runs on four hits against Houston. If things go according to plan, Perez could be the Opening Day pitcher against the Braves on March 30.

"I'm happy about the new opportunity that I'm getting," said Perez, who signed a Minor League deal on Feb. 19. "The job that I have done tonight, it opened the door for me to be here. I'm happy to make the team."

However, putting Hill, Wagner and Pena on the DL are not surprises. Hill is recovering from a right forearm injury, but, so far, he is showing that the pain is a thing of the past. He is expected to throw his second batting-practice session on Friday and then pitch in a Minor League game on Monday.

"I would like to get in a game sooner than that," Hill said. "I would like to throw today for argument sake. I feel like I'm ready to go. I don't have sharp pain."

According to Hill, the plan for him is to return to the team on April 13.

Wagner announced in mid-February that he would be on the DL because he's still recovering from rotator cuff surgery. There is no timetable on when he will return to action.

Pena is suffering from a strained left oblique, and the outfielder is expected to be out for at least a month. Pena strained his oblique while taking batting practice last week at Space Coast Stadium.

Pena was supposed to take five swings in the fourth round of the session, but he had difficulty completing the exercise. He's expected to rest and use the exercise bicycle for now.

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