Tracy, Owings battling bumps and bruises (plus two guys impressing Davey)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Two Nationals that were scheduled to make today's trip to Port St. Lucie ended up staying in Viera.

Chad Tracy is dealing with a bruise on his right triceps area after getting hit by a pitch yesterday against the Marlins, and manager Davey Johnson said the Nationals' plan is to keep him out of the lineup both today and tomorrow.

Tracy's injury isn't thought to be serious.

Same goes for Micah Owings, the former pitcher who is trying to reinvent himself as a position player. Owings got treatment on his left wrist today, according to Johnson, and didn't make today's trip as a result.

Owings needed to sit out a few days last week while waiting for a dye that was injected into his shoulder for an MRI to dissipate. Now some left wrist trouble will hold him back, at least for a day.

"There's plenty of time to get everybody ready, and that's what I care about," Johnson said.

Henry Rodriguez came through yesterday's bullpen session well, throwing predominantly fastballs, Johnson said. He'll throw one more bullpen and then throw a live batting practice before appearing in a game.

Wilson Ramos had "a great BP today and a good throwing session," Johnson said. The Nats continue to be really pleased with his progress from a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee, but because that right knee is the one that Ramos tucks when he slides, Johnson is hesitant to get him in games just yet, even as the DH.

The Nats are in no hurry with Ramos, and Johnson said that even if the catcher doesn't get into Grapefruit League games until the middle of March, he still feels confident that will give him enough time to get him ready for the start of the regular season.

Ramos had his knee measured by doctors in order to tell how much muscle has built up since the surgery. Johnson got the measurements from the Nationals' training staff, but commented that he wasn't given any numbers to compare them to.

"I know (his knee) was a lot bigger than mine," the Nats' skipper said with a laugh. "I'm thinking he's really in good shape."

Without being prompted, Johnson then singled out two guys who he's been really pleased with: Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa.

The two infielders are coming off shoulder injuries (for Zimmerman, it's offseason surgery on his right shoulder; for Espinosa it's the left shoulder, which he opted to rehab after discovering that he had a torn rotator cuff) and Johnson has liked what he's seen from both guys.

Zimmerman could start getting into games in about a week, Johnson said, with the third baseman likely starting out just as the Nats' DH before seeing time in the field.

"But that would be up to him," Johnson said, noting that Zimmerman could be held out longer because he feels he needs just 50 spring at-bats to get ready for opening day. "I'm not in a hurry on that one, either."

As for Espinosa, "I like everything he's doing," Johnson said, noting that he's been reading the positive quotes from Espinosa that reporters have been relaying.

"He seems to be in great shape. Doesn't seem to be a problem."

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