Dukes day-to-day after straining groin

Dukes day-to-day after straining groin

ATLANTA -- Nationals right fielder Elijah Dukes hurt his right groin in the 10th inning against the Braves on Friday night. He is listed as day-to-day.

With one out and left-hander Joe Beimel on the mound, Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson singled to right field on a 1-2 pitch. Dukes tried unsuccessfully to gun down Jordan Schafer, who was safe at the plate. After making the throw, Dukes was in pain. Center fielder Lastings Milledge came to his aid, but Dukes managed to walk off the field on his own power.

"It was a little wet out there," manager Manny Acta said. "When Elijah threw the ball, he kind of felt the pain a little bit."

In other news, Nationals second baseman Ronnie Belliard said on Friday that his back is feeling better, but he is still listed as day-to-day.

Belliard left Wednesday's game against the Marlins because of tightness in his lower back. He was scheduled to hit in the top of the eighth inning, but his back was too stiff, and Acta put in Alberto Gonzalez as a pinch-hitter.

Belliard believes he hurt the back on Tuesday during his last at-bat against Florida.

Willie Harris received the start at second base against the Braves on Friday night.

Meanwhile, it appears that Anderson Hernandez's problems with his left hamstring are a thing of the past. He played five innings of an extended spring training game on Friday and hit a triple.

"He's feeling better, and he is going to continue to play [in Viera, Fla.] until [acting general manager] Mike [Rizzo] makes a decision to stretch him out in Triple-A or somewhere," Acta said.

Hernandez, who hit .276 with four RBIs this spring, strained his left hamstring running to first base in the sixth inning against the Braves on March 25. About two minutes later, he had to be helped off the field. Acta said the injury could have been more serious if Hernandez continued to use his left leg after feeling the initial pain, but the second baseman was seen hopping on his right leg.

Once he is healthy and back with the Nationals, Hernandez will be the everyday second baseman.

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