Notes: Nats play first intrasquad game

Notes: Nationals play first intrasquad game

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals held their first intrasquad game on Tuesday and it ended in a 4-4 tie in nine innings at Space Coast Stadium.

Left-hander Matt Chico and right-hander Joel Hanrahan started the game and both pitched two innings. Chico, who gave up two runs -- one earned -- and struck out one batter, said that his right knee was sore and that caused him to make changes in his mechanics.

"Every once in a while, it gets a little sore," said Chico. "I'm trying to fix my mechanics a little bit. That's the main reason why. I felt like I made somewhat of an impression with some pitches, but with other ones, I need a little work on."

Hanrahan, who gave up one run, walked one and struck out another, said he was pleased with his performance and the nervousness went away after the first pitch.

"Saturday, when I get out and in a game with some fans, it may be a little different, but, today, I was all right," Hanrahan said.

Chico and Hanrahan are two of 12 pitchers who are competing to join John Patterson in the rotation this year, and they know have to be almost perfect to get to the big leagues.

"I try not to think about it too much," Hanrahan said. "But I guess when you are out there, you have to step up your game up and try to do something different that sticks out -- put that image in your head that you can get people out."

Said Chico, "In every setting -- whether it's a bullpen or game -- you want to make an impression."

On the offensive end, designated hitter Cristian Guzman played in his first game since last March and he went 1-for-2. He singled to right field in his first at-bat and struck out in his second. Guzman missed the entire regular season because of right shoulder problems.

"I felt good. I wasn't trying to do too much," Guzman said.

Around the horn: Right-hander Austin Kearns was the designated hitter during the intrasquad game. Manager Manny Acta said Kearns is fine and will play right field on Wednesday. .... Mike Restovich hit a home run against Chico in the second inning. ... Ryan Zimmerman looked like he was in midseason form. In the top of the second inning, Jorge Toca hit a line drive near the third-base line. Zimmerman dove to his right and made the backhanded catch. ... Ronnie Belliard hit a two-run home run off Beltran Perez in the top of the third inning. ... The Nationals play another intrasquad game on Wednesday.

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