Atilano relieved after long road to Majors

Atilano relieved after long road to Majors

WASHINGTON -- A day after making his Major League debut and winning his first game, right-hander Luis Atilano reflected on his struggles after the Braves traded him to the Nationals on Aug. 31, 2006.

He was recovering from right elbow reconstruction at the time and acknowledged that he was angry at the time of the trade. It took Atilano a year and half to recover from surgery, and to Atilano, that was too long. At the same time, he felt that if he stayed healthy, he would get to the big leagues quicker as a member of the Nationals. It finally happened on Friday.

"I was kind of mad at the situation, but then -- after going through rehab and all that -- it was better for me," Atilano said. "I felt I could get a chance [with the Nationals]. I just felt I could make it to the big leagues quicker. Finally, I did it. I'm happy that I did it. I always knew I could make it. That's why I was working hard."

After Friday's game, Atilano went out to dinner with his wife, Ayeshaah, and some of their friends. He said he acted normal with his company, but Ayeshaah is still in disbelief that he is in the big leagues.

"She can't believe it," Atilano said. "She feels like she is in the middle of nowhere. She is fine now. She will get used to it."

Atilano is expected to pitch against the Cubs on Wednesday.