Notes: Logan may be ready for opener
Nationals outfielder recovering from strained right groin
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals center fielder Nook Logan could be ready for Opening Day. The news is an improvement from earlier in the week, when there was talk of placing him on the disabled list because of a strained right groin.
Logan suffered the injury running the bases against the Cardinals last Saturday. He struggled to move around initially, but on Tuesday, Logan was running in the hallway behind the Nationals clubhouse and took batting practice. During the past few days, Logan has done exercises involving a stretching band, as well as work on a stationary bike, treadmill and some jogging.
"He's feeling much better than we were anticipating," manager Manny Acta said. "It's a day-to-day thing right now, instead of us talking in weeks like we were before."
After Logan's injury, the Nationals brought in Roger Bernadina from Minor League camp to give him a tryout in center field. Acta said he wants Logan to be able to play in a Spring Training game before putting him in the Opening Day lineup.
A quick return would be bad news for infielder Kory Casto, who is fighting for one of the final roster sports. If Logan becomes healthy, Acta may choose a pitcher instead of another position player. On Tuesday, Acta said the decision on who the final player added to the roster will be may come as late as Saturday.
"We're going to have to make a very tough decision," Acta said. "I would imagine it will come down to the wire."
Two relief pitchers remain in the race now that pitcher Chris Booker has been optioned to Triple-A Columbus. Booker said he was disappointed in the demotion, especially coming after what he described as the best camp of his career. He allowed one hit and no runs in four appearances, but he gave up the game-winning hit against the Tigers on Monday.
"Manny told me that he liked everything I did," Booker said. "Numbers had nothing to do with it."
The pitchers who are still fighting for the final spot are Saul Rivera and Jesus Colome.
Johnson's recovery: First baseman Nick Johnson will travel north with the team on Thursday and rehab in Washington. He has been sidelined with a broken right leg.
He already is running steps, jogging and playing catch, but no timetable has been set for his return. Even though he will travel back to Washington, Johnson is unsure if he will join the team for road games.
Long layoff for Williams: It was Jerome Williams' last game before he starts in the regular season, which won't happen for 10 more days.
"I feel like I'm ready," Williams said. "I got off to a slow start in my first outing, but I turned it around in a hurry."
On Tuesday, he pitched five innings, allowing only two runs. Williams walked four batters, something he attributed to not throwing first-pitch strikes, but he was able to put batters away with an effective changeup. He said he wasn't sure why his control was off, but that he'd sit down with the coaches and discuss it in the coming days.
With 10 days between outings, Williams will stay in Florida to practice with the Minor Leaguers instead of going to Columbus and Norfolk for the exhibition games. Acta said that even with a lack of control on Tuesday, Williams still was able to keep the score low.
"He was able to make the pitches when it counted," Acta said.
Season-ticket sales: Team president Stan Kasten said on Tuesday that more than 15,000 season tickets have been sold for this year, about one thousand shy of last year's total.
"I anticipate catching up to and surpassing that number pretty soon," Kasten said.
The median number of season tickets sold among Major League teams last year was 14,800. The Nationals are expecting a spike next year when the new stadium is constructed.
"We're not taking that for granted," Kasten said. "We'll work to keep those people."
Attendance last year at RFK Stadium was 2.15 million, down from 2.73 million in the opening season.
Transactions: First baseman Dmitri Young and reliever Ray King both had their contracts purchased from Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. Young will make $500,000, while King will make $850,000. The move gives the Nationals 39 players on the 40-man roster.
"When I got in, Manny called me into his office and said, 'Let's get this over with, and get back to having fun and winning ball games,'" King said. "Hopefully it's not just for one year. I like this club and I like the direction it's heading."
After the game, Acta announced that Jason Simontacchi and Abraham Nunez had been reassigned to Minor League camp. Simontacchi was reassigned due to a strained right groin, and he will rejoin the team when healthy.
Coming up: Some of the Nationals will stay in Viera, Fla., on Wednesday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles. Another squad will hit the road to face the Marlins at the same time. Pitching at Space Coast Stadium will be right-hander John Patterson, who will get his final tuneup before pitching Opening Day in Washington. Right-hander Joel Hanrahan will start against Florida.
Michael Phillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.