Young better thanks to massage therapy

Young better thanks to massage therapy

WASHINGTON -- A miracle has happened to first baseman Dmitri Young. The pain in his lower back and hip flexor is gone, thanks to the team's masseuse, Tiana Tchamouroff.

On Wednesday afternoon, general manager Jim Bowden announced that Young couldn't swing a bat and had an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. But during Wednesday night's game between the Nationals and Braves, Tchamouroff relieved Young of his problems by working on the hip flexor.

"It released a major problem. I wasn't expecting it," Bowden said. "I certainly didn't think it would come from a massage therapist. Whatever works is great -- it was a significant difference."

Bowden didn't believe that Young's problems were gone, so he had Young swing in the indoor batting cage after the game. With hitting coach Lenny Harris as a witness, Young swung without any pain from both sides of the plate.

"I was stunned," Bowden said. "All of a sudden, he has instant relief. She found the spot. ... He swung from both sides of the plate with violence of contact, and his hips went through it."

Young's plane ticket to the Minnesota was canceled, and he will now go to Viera, Fla., on Sunday to start playing extended spring games. There is no timetable on when he will return to the Major League club.

Meanwhile, outfielder Elijah Dukes, who is on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, will play for Triple-A Columbus on Saturday to face more difficult starting pitching. He is currently playing for Class A Potomac, and has gone 3-for-14 (.215) with an RBI.

"Dukes has made progress," said Bowden. "He ripped a double, [and] it was an extremely hard-hit ball. He also struck out three times and struggled with the breaking ball [on Wednesday.] His timing was a little off, he looked good defensively and he ran well. ... So after tonight at Potomac, he's going to go to Columbus and face a little more difficult pitching. I'm not going to put a timetable on when he's back. It could be two days, three days, four days, a week. I'm not going to do that. I told him today in a meeting that his bat will determine when he comes here. That's [what's] going to decide. It's not going to be me. It's not going to be him. It's going to be the bat that decides."

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